Trends in the Art World

We asked our Zintro experts about some of the major trends in the art world. Who are some of the best up and coming artists? What’s new in the field? Here is what they had to say.

Harshwardhan Gupta, an expert in mechanical design and a chief designer, says that  a growing trend in contemporary art is creating kinetic, moving, responsive art. “The artists work with engineers to create art objects that move or behave in unexpected ways, often in response to the viewer’s proximity, voice or movement,” says Gupta. “A Dutch sculptor, Theo Jansen, has created walking kinetic art. Andrew Shoben has created the fantastic The Source at the London Stock Exchange. Both use technologies of different kinds; and today, these trends of fusing art with technology are becoming stronger every day.”

Gupta points to a new kind of kinetic art that has been created by Søren Pors and Aparna Rao in India. ”I have done the engineering for many of these projects. Today’s artists or sculptors need not create the entire are object or with apprentices. As with the architects (like Frank Gehry who created the spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao), artists now works along side with many skilled engineers and technologists in order to create newer reaches and dimensions in contemporary art,” says Gupta.

Laura Macaluso, a consultant on cultural heritage, museums, and public art, says that the art world is seeing more projects that are about community engagement and economic development. “This concept has been around for decades, first showing up in the 1970s with municipal programs intended to address and alleviate social issues through art. Social activists and artists continued to work with urban populations throughout the 1980s and 1990s, in tandem with an agenda to infuse value into a sense of place as a celebration of local history and the contribution of everyone to community life,” explains Macaluso. “Since the turn of the 21st century, these related projects have become intertwined into a theory about the creative economy, where art, people and sense of place are integrated into a cohesive movement that addresses the social and economic problems of American cities. The ways in which this idea is applied is different in every community, depending on the vision of individuals, groups and organizations, and the strength of local art councils and local and state government support for the arts.”

Macaluso says that many cities, once unloved and derided for their crumbling infrastructure and out-dated approach to stabilization and growth, have utilized the arts in multiple ways to leverage economic development. “While the integration and use of the arts in urban spaces for stabilization and growth is not without its critics, this approach has, nevertheless, placed the arts front and center of continuing discussions in municipalities across the United States. Cities need to encourage participation of the arts in their development work these days.”

Elizabeth Jablonski, an art conservator and manager of art collections, says that the art world is increasingly involving art conservators in the preservation of cultural and financial investments. “Art conservators are uniquely trained in a combination of four key areas to restore art materials: art history, studio arts, chemistry and the history of material culture. Not just for the hallowed halls of museums and major private collections, conservation advice is available to everyone for all types of art and cultural materials—from paintings to ceramics to art born digital,” she says.

Jablonski recommends that a collector get in touch with a conservator upon acquiring new art for a detailed report on any hidden condition issues, identification of materials that make up the art, and an estimate on the cost of any needed repairs and stabilization. “Including well-trained conservators in the care and preservation of art in the early stages – while the art is still stable or has relatively little deterioration – can be a sound investment,” she says. “Preventive care can easily cost less than repairing extensive damage from neglect. That being said, even heavy deterioration can be slowed or stabilized with a stepped conservation treatment plan.”

Jablonski says that she often notices damage on new and contemporary art more than on historical art. “This is because we have seen and lived with new art in a pristine, fresh-from-the-artist’s-studio state. With older art, we tend to accept the signs of aging, such as a yellowing varnish, craquelure in the paint, and mild undulations in the canvas. An art conservator can help distinguish which types of aging are actually damage that can compound over time to harm the art work further. Art conservators are trained to help prevent such damage from occurring in new art and mitigate the effects of age in older art,” she says.

By Maureen Aylward

Zintro, Inc

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