About the New Aesthetic and Conceptual Art

The art world has embraced digital art and technology as a resource for creativity.  For example, film photography is almost obsolete. Why work in a dark room painstakingly dodging and burning to get the right shade of white, when you can use the doge/burn tool in CS5?  And that’s okay, because it’s not about the process sometimes, and just because someone has a high tech digital camera, doesn’t mean they know how to use it, or that they are a good photographer.

That being said, I had to look into what is being called the New Aesthetic because I wasn’t sure why it needed a name like that. After reading these articles (X)(X) from what I understand, this collection promotes a new perception of the world through computational imagery, by blurring the lines between digital and physical and making digital things in reality (like 8-bit pixels out of Styrofoam).

Basically, saying the way people are perceive and valuing the world is digitally, pixelated and retro RGB in some cases, which is all cute but I’m still stuck on why this is “new.” Every art movement is a renewed aesthetic. This seems like a testament to how young the endless scroll is, which is what makes it appealing in some ways. It’s for today’s generation, something for people to show that things are happening in their lives, to compete with history’s line up of iconic reactionary artist movements.

It’s too soon though, to say where the New Aesthetic will go, but it already has a name so it’s been acknowledged…being.  From what I can tell, the New Aesthetic is changing the real world, kind of like Surrealism, but with images that already exists- creativity in a nutshell but without the imagination. However, does art need imagination for creativity? We talked about the Fountain by Marcel Duchamp on Monday, and the question was raised, is that art? Well Duchamp said it wasn’t. That’s the idea, its anti-art, it’s a ready-made object.  It was an entirely deconstructive approach that worked, to break artistic conventions and gave life to “conceptual art” because Duchamp asserted that the artist’s mental activity was more important than the object (New Aesthetics wouldn’t even be possible without this having happened). Dada had huge anti-traditionalist effects on the 20th century which influenced Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and became the basis for the Pop-Art movement.

Pop -Art happened as a result however of mass commercialism and production and need for entertainment and comfort after World War II, it was a different time and it was impossible not to perceive that world through material. Minimalism was also a result, after the height of abstract expressionism and the war, things changed, cooled down, and instead of emotional art it became non personal and reduced to the simplified elements of art.  This makes sense in retrospect, however with the ongoing digital age, so does the New Aesthetic, we could have seen the New Aesthetic coming, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere because the only way it can be judged fairly is in the future.

2 Responses to “About the New Aesthetic and Conceptual Art”

  1. It is a fascinating subject. This digital age, plays a part in so much of humanity today.. to this discussion of art. I like how you used the subject of the New Aesthetic and drew parallels from that to revolutions in art history. What are your opinions to the New Aesthetic’s relationship to today’s culture? How does it compare to those artistic breakthroughs of that past which you discussed?

    I liked the question you asked, “Do we need imagination of creativity?” It has a nice ring to it; very poetic! But, I took that to mean, we need to imagine new forms and channels of creativity. It reminds me of own of my own blog posts I did on Imaginary Media. Check it out. Its discussion is of art in this digital age.

    I also liked your discussion of anti-art. I would take that to be anything that didn’t have a creative process. You also mentioned in your blog the emphasis art has on the process, perhaps more emphasis on the process of art than the actual art itself. You also discussed a ready made object is anti-art. That would make sense, as it was not made creatively.

  2. admin says:

    I want to answer your question, about the New Aesthetics’ relationship today, without being too literal; however that seems unavoidable. I think it says a lot about culture in Britain (where the New Aesthetic originated) and other affluent countries where people are connected to their digital devices. It says a lot about how today, how people see (learn about) the world through computers and education systems are pushing digital competence at an early age, and so this imagery is becoming common.

    As for your second question, I don’t think it’s a breakthrough, yet- but it reminds me of the Post-Impressionist movement. During that time, there were many artists painting outside the status quo, in different parts of Europe, but they didn’t get together and name their movement. It wasn’t until some 20 years later it was coined, post-impressionism, because historians recognized that these artists saw the world similarly.

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