What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today?

Use the following questions and related media as a way to initiate dialogue about contemporary art and specific ideas related to where art is seen, how it is made, and who makes it. Related images and video segments should inspire a variety of responses and provoke new ways of thinking about possible answers.

What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today? What subjects, issues, and themes are important to you, and what connections can you make between the two?


Michael Ray Charles. "(Liberty Brothers Permanent Daily Circus) Blue Period," 1995. Acrylic latex, oil wash, stain, and copper penny on paper, 60 1/2 x 36 1/2 inches. Private collection. Photo by Beth Phillips. Courtesy Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York.

"The notions of blackness linked to humor, blackness linked to the entertainer, blackness linked to the body—all of those things are embodied in or have been packaged with the caricature of the Sambo, the darkie, the pickaninies, and products throughout early advertising, in the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth century."
—Michael Ray Charles


Excerpt: Allora & Calzadilla in "Paradox"