Kyung An, Assistant Curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and Jessica Cerasi, Exhibitions Manager at Carroll/Fletcher gallery, have combined their talents and come up with this playful, colorful, and snappy guide to contemporary art. Using a format that takes us on a rollercoaster ride, the authors deliver a map to help navigate this terrain.
In "Art, What For? What's it all about?" An and Cerasi list reasons why millions of people around the world visit art museums. They seek an escape from the pressures of everyday life, a chance to experience something out of the ordinary, a spur to think about life's bigger questions, and the thrill of probing the multiple meanings of artistic creations.
The authors believe that art is contemporary when it "speaks to our globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world." They point to the dancing museum guards of Tino Sehgal and out-the-box art which is pushing boundaries.
Technology has given artists new tools for expression, such as Internet Art. The authors also sing the praises of conceptual art. Other topics that covered in this accessible book include the role of curators, the exhibition schedule, the role of taste-makers, the Turner Prize, the function of galleries to showcase new artists, the socially conscious works of Ai Weiwei and Tania Bruguerra, and the efforts of performance artists to engage with their creations. An and Cerasi conclude that this is very exciting time for artists since they are involved in the "restructuring of the Hows, Wheres and Whos that shaped the art world until now."