Comments on Lewitt and New Media Art

Before I comment, I want to give a little background on myself. I have a B.A. in History and I have taken several graduate-level history courses. After reading and thinking about the assigned texts, I can tell my responses are informed by my studies in history.

Sol Lewitt: Sentences on Conceptual Art

Reference: Sol Lewitt

I think overall, these sentences still have relevance today. Some spoke to me in particular:

One usually understands the art of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.

The conventions of art are altered by works of art

Perception is subjective

These three sentences in particular jumped out at me. They imply that art and the understanding of art are continually evolving, building upon themselves, and changing to meet new ideas, new beliefs, and new standards. In addition, ‘perception is subjective’ has an obvious meaning. Art, like history, is perceived differently by different people.

Those perceptions inform how art of the past is understood and, consequently, misunderstood. This sets new conventions, which then alters art irrevocably. The cycle is never-ending and always will be as long as art exists. We can only understand art insofar as our own perceptions allow us to, and so the cycle continues.

New Media Art

Reference: New Media Art Introduction

The introduction to New Media Art was a fascinating and thorough read. I’ve never considered the Internet as a medium for art, but it’s an incredible leap from traditional media such as painting to using new technology in the art world. New Media blurs the line between art and science in a way that the world has never seen before.

I think that New Media will make art even more interactive as technology improves. In future years we may see virtual reality forms of New Media. Indeed, some of this may already exist via “sandbox” games such as Minecraft and Second Life.

As of this writing, it remains unclear whether New Media art has run its course as a movement.

I don’t agree with this quote from the final paragraph of the introduction. I don’t think the New Media movement will ever end. In time it may be called something else, but I think the ideas established in the past twenty years will only expand as more technology becomes easily available. Right now many scientific resources are only available with substantial money and/or expertise, but what’s unreachable today will likely become more accessible within the next decade. At that point, I believe we’ll see a new “New Media” that follows similar principles of adapting modern technology for art.

In other words, as long as we have the Internet, we will continue to have New Media.

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