Monday, February 28, 2011

Formal analysis of John Brack's "Collins Street, 5pm"

Click on the link to read an ANALYSIS OF JOHN BRACK'S "COLLINS ST, 5PM

The analysis focuses on the formal elements of:
Composition (Structure)


 The Contemporary Framework is used to examine an artwork, irrespective of when it was created, in the context of contemporary art ideas and issues. Contemporary art ideas and issues are those originating in the late twentieth century (1970’s) onwards.

With a focus on current ideas and issues, students should consider the following questions:

• How have contemporary art ideas and issues challenged traditional understandings of artworks and their significance?

Traditional views on art are always being challenged by contemporary artists.

Traditional views of art include the following perspectives:

Contemporary views about art include the following: (They challange the traditional)

An artwork is judged either as “aesthetically pleasing” or “good or bad”.

This view is challenged by artists who make art that is visually challenging, even shocking. Often artworks that confront us are more interesting and play a role in transforming our understanding of art and the world around us.

The artist is a genius who makes a work of art that the viewer is a spectator to. Art is only something that a gifted individual can create.

This view is challenged by the idea that the viewer or audience can play an important role in helping to create a work of art. Many artworks are now interactive which involves audience participation.

Artworks have multiple meanings.

Traditional views of art places a separation between ordinary life and art e.g. illustrated by the distance placed between high art and popular culture
High art is the honoured forms of painting and sculpture in galleries.
Low art is considered to be lesser then these forms. Craft, pop culture, graffiti, photography and the media are all low art-forms. 

Contemporary art fuses together high and low art-forms in order to erase the distance between ordinary life and art.

Contemporary artists embrace technology, the internet, pop culture and everyday objects in the making of art.

Contemporary art also uses irony and humour to challenge the seriousness of art. Parody is a practice that involves imitating the style of a work for comic effect or in ridicule.

An artwork must be original in order to be regarded as “art”.


Contemporary art ideas recognise the influence of and borrowing of past artworks and existing images from the media.

Artists recycle ideas and artworks from the past and present in order to challenge their views they contain within a new context.

The Postmodern practice of Appropriation and Pastiche (borrowing from artworks)  challanges traditional ideas of originality in art.

• How does the choice or presentation of subject matter or medium, materials and techniques reflect or challenge artistic or social traditions?

The materials and techniques and the presentation of a contemporary artwork are often strongly connected to its meaning. Artists will often use materials that are the fabric of their society and present their work in such a way that it challenges the culture that this material represents.
An EXAMPLE of this is:
Jenny Holzer

Subodh Gupta

• What is the impact of dynamic media applications and other emerging art forms on the viewer such as video, digital, projection, installation, interactive, street art, sound and performance art?
How do these art forms differ from traditional ideas of viewing and experiencing object-based art in museums and galleries?

Dynamic media applications and other emerging art forms are embraced by contemporary artists as a way of challenging traditional views of viewing and experiencing object-based art in museums and galleries. Technology is redefining the way artists can engage their audience where sound, projections and digital programming allow a more immersive experience for the viewer then a singular painting or sculpture.

Art can be a fleeting event such as a happening, performance or a site-specific artwork that is impermanent such as environmental art or street art. These forms embrace the process of making art and sharing ideas rather than the actual end-product that becomes a commoditised object that is only seen in a gallery.

See Christo and Jean-Claude

See ACMI Video art

See GOMA Contemporary art

Carsten Holler


• How might artworks of the past take on new or different meanings, in the context of contemporary ideas and issues?

Past artworks can be viewed critically in light of contemporary ideas and issues that offer new understandings of class, racial, sexual and cultural discrimination that has occurred through-out history.
You may also ask how have artworks of the past challenged artistic traditions of their time?

These are part of the Making sense of Modern Art interactive