T W Chui
I think we are in the first hundred years of a second Renaissance. The public are increasingly interested in the arts. There is no shortage of great works outside of the mainstream. This is because most critics and curators seem unequipped to deal with pictorial styles beyond the repudiation of the past. As a result, artists who make a splash in the contemporary art scene generally fall into two groups: Sensationalists who paint famous people, mutilated nudes, or illustrative social commentaries; and Color-field Abstractionists whose paintings are devoid of intellectual and emotional content but focus entirely on ingenious formal technicalities. Since these types of works were designed to be visual charades that echo the general feelings of the public, their built-in recognition is uncontested because they tend to confirm the norm and prejudice in the collective experience, and rarely provoke or complicate our perceptions with any crux. Under the guidance of art dealers, academics, and museum curators, contemporary arts have managed to preserve their aesthetic and institutional values by eluding any disturbing practical consequences. I believe that the contemporary arts are caught in a temporary regressive state. Hence we have ample of glaring examples in the Art Slant competition. Thus Confucius said: There is art. There is illustration. Plenty more are images readily made for mass consumptions; and everyone has a personal masterpiece reserved for public restrooms.