To some, it plays very important role. People are naturally attracted to beautiful things, and if the art work is widely considered beautiful, the beauty plays a role of first “catch” to many viewers. Beauty is subjective to each person, and artists can only create what they consider beautiful. To Robert Adams, beauty is very important as he says “Beauty, which I admit to being in pursuit of, is an extremely suspect word among many in the art world. But I don’t think you can get along without it. Beauty is the confirmation of meaning in life. It is the thing that seems invulnerable, in some cases, to our touch. And who would want to do without beauty?”
To others, however, creating beautiful things does not seem to be important in contemporary art. Some artists choose to create something unpleasant to look at. Bruce Nauman filmed running mice in his studio as he states “if I was an artist, and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art.” I am not sure if everything he does can be beautiful, and I do not think beauty is his focus in art.
I feel many people are conscious of gender, race, war, religion, and personal issues in today’s society, and as an artist, it is important to be aware of what is happening in our society, and the current events might inspire some work of art. At the same time, I do not think that contemporary artists always have to follow social issues or any types of norm of subjects. Richard Serra was inspired from his childhood memory of a ship, and Sally Mann was inspired by the nature that surrounds her. These subjects are original to each artist, and I feel they are equally interesting to someone who follows general issues or themes. Ultimately, artists seem to make art according to what is important to themselves.
As a contemporary artist, I like to work with something personal rather than social issues. Appreciation to nature and experiences in life often show up in my work as main subjects.
In addition to galleries and museums, there are no limitation to locations for art. I feel artists now have the freedom to choose the venue accordingly to each art work whether the venue was chosen due to maximizing visual aesthetic of work or having conceptual connections. Art work has its own presence in the environment, and controlling the surrounding seems to be a part of artists’ job.
When I create company logos and packaging designs, my venue is somewhere very close to everyday life, such as supermarket, office, home, on the street, etc. Barry McGee once said “things on the street are close to the truth,” and he may not have meant it as advertisement. But to me, the same logic applies to advertisement and commercial designs because it is deeply embedded into people’s lives, and it affects people constantly without them visiting any particular locations. There is no rope or security guards to stop viewers from interacting with each art work. I like the fact it is everywhere without any boundaries.