"Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record
the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in."
In the past only the most wealthy and elite of a society could afford to create art. Art was costly to make because it required crucial resources that only advanced civilizations could sacrifice. Instead of hunting for food or gathering fruits, a civilization of agriculture enabled many to finally stay at home, creating art pieces that were functional, but also beautiful, reflecting the needs and stories of that society. Throughout time, art continued to reflect only the lifestyles of the affluent members of society. But in today's society art can be made and appreciated by all walks of life and by people of all ages. Whether it is through the fingerpaintings of a kindergartner or the sculptures of an artisan, the everyday world is being seen, interpreted and made into art that tells a unique story of each individual and the world from their perspective. When all these pieces of art are combined, they will tell the story of today's society. From the diversity of arts created today, future generations will know that this society was one of prosperity, individualism and vivid self-expression.
Art today is seen in many forms. On the streets one can see art in the graffiti that is left on public structures. Inside tunnels, on brick walls, and just about anywhere that there is a surface, graffiti appears in urban areas as an expression of the youth who rebel against the injustices they feel. In posters graphic art is used to relay news about events or ideas and at the same time can be full of self-expression and beauty. Film as an art form shows a world of exaggerated violence and sex, reflecting a society of people who yearn to be entertained and crave stimulation. Then there is the fine art that is produced, many times as reinvented impressions of art from the past--a painting done in impressionist form but with modern day subject matter or a bronze sculpture depicting urban settings. People of all ages are able to create art today, expressing themselves in unique ways. Each person views the world differently because they come from a variety of backgrounds, social classes and places but each person has the capacity to make art that speaks of only their story. When all these pieces of art are viewed as a collective, the result is a view of today's global society unlike anything in the past.
The art of today shows a society that is, above all, prosperous. It shows the ability of people to attain resources to express themselves and have the spare time to create lasting forms of expression. Only a society that is prosperous can breed so much art at all levels. It is only when food resources are secures, jobs are available and people are freed from the basic tasks of foraging for food and keeping shelter that they are able to create art. The plethora of art and the variety of people it represents shows that we live in a society that is wealthy and can support its citizens, a world in which people have food available, live in safe homes, and have means to express themselves. It is a society where the government is not so oppressive that individual freedoms still remain and people are free to chose what they engage in during their spare moments. It is a society where art is allowed to be made.
Today's art also shows that people have freedom of self-expression. Art can depict any subject no matter how taboo and through any medium, regardless of how strange it may be. This liberty in creating art tells the story of a society that is free, a democracy where people are able to keep their personal freedoms and most importantly, are able to speak out against any injustices they may feel. It is a world which allows for people to speak their minds openly without oppression and a society that encourages self-expression as a way of understanding one another and the world around. As a collective, the art of today shows the range of emotions and life experiences available and shows that it is a world where the individual is important.
The diversity of art made today shows a culture that is prosperous and holds individual liberties and self-expression close to heart. When future generations see the art of today, they will be able to understand that this was a world where you could be anyone, from any type of background and you still had the freedom to express yourself however you wished and others would listen. They will see a society where people wanted to understand one another, even though they might fall short and individuals wanted to be connected, despite the distances. Future generations will look at our art and see a society of freedom, individuality and prosperity.
Benton, Janetta Rebold, and Robert Diyanni. Arts and Culture, Combined Volume (3rd Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2007.
Bjelajac, David, and King Pu Laurence. American Art: A Cultural History (Trade Edition) (2nd Edition). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Funk, Clayton. Contemporary Art Culture. Dubuque Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 2007.
Rampley, Matthew. "ART HISTORY AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCE: ALFRED GELL'S ANTHROPOLOGY OF ART." Art History 28.4 (2005): 524-551.
Arts and Cultural Programming: A Leisure Perspective. Champaign, ILHuman Kinetics Pub-lishers: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2008.