"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
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.
Why is art important? What role does art play in our society? What value is placed upon artists and their art, and why?
"The Istanbul Biennial piece relates to an historical event. But that event had been forgotten, entirely forgotten. The people of the city did not make the direct connection. But it gave me the opportunity to bring many aspects alive, especially in a society where memories are repressed. I don't think it's important to know the event because humankind behaves pretty much the same way all over the world. I don't see differences between religions or culture. And so, what I'm trying to get out of these pieces is that element that is common in all of us. And in a situation of war, we all experience it much the same way, either as victim or perpetrator. So, I'm not narrating a particular story. I'm just addressing experiences."
Watch: Jeff Koons in "Fantasy"
- On Contemporary Art
- Contemporary Art in Context
- Starting the Conversation
- Why is art important?
- What makes something a work of art?
- What is the role of the artist?
- Who decides what a work of art means?
- What are the most important skills an artist can have?
- What materials and tools do artists use to create art today?
- What distinguishes visual art from other forms of visual communication?
- Where do artists find inspiration?
- What is the difference between working alone and collaborating?
- What are other venues for exhibiting art?
- What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today?
- What role does beauty play in contemporary art?
- Does contemporary art have a purpose, a role, or a responsibility?
- Contemporary Approaches to Teaching
- Using Art21 Media in the Classroom
- Connecting to the National Standards
- Selections from the Art21 Blog
- Materials for Teaching