Required Reading
A Questionnaire on “The Contemporary”


Thirty-two academics, critics and curators weigh in on the category of "contemporary art" in the new issue of October. Each respondent was asked to reply to a prompt, penned by Hal Foster, which suggests that contemporary art's distinction lies in its "very heterogeneity" where practice "seems to float free of historical determination, conceptual definition, and critical judgment." Foster argues that the institutionalization of contemporary art, through the creation of university programs, professorships, etc. devoted to the subject, as well as the dwindling relevancy of terms like "the neo-avant-garde" and "postmodernism" play a role in creating this entity known as "contemporary art." Quite a few of the replies really take Foster to task and it's an excellent read. The only voice missing is that of artists themselves, which I feel could have rounded out the discussion in an interesting way. Free pdf available through the link below.