Whenever we move into a new home, the question of the empty walls emerges. Blank walls can stay blank if minimalism is your thing, or you can decorate them with various things like bookshelves and family photos. But they can also be a space for style, contemplation, fun, comfort, or escape if you decide to let some art into your life. In exchange, quality art adds atmosphere and sophistication to any home, expressing the styles and personalities of the people inhabiting it. Although many good things come from coexisting with art, the choice can be tricky, considering all the possibilities. However, the pieces you choose might become your lifetime friends. Here’s a brief selection concentrating on contemporary subjects and trends that might resonate with you too!
As a result of collectively experiencing the difficulties of the pandemic and our reality starting to merge with digitality, art about the body has definitely been speaking to us louder lately. One of the world’s most famous contemporary art shows, the Venice Biennale in 2022, has the title: “The milk of dreams”. The title is taken from a book by Leonora Carrington. It’s a call to reevaluate what living and being connected to our body means in our time, when Technological advances seem to have opened up a portal leading to dreamlike digital experiences. The exhibitions curated by Cecilia Alemani reflect a focus on the issue. The Milk of Dreams refers to something pure and physical, connecting us to our Mother. And yet, dreams are light, wild and mental, taking us into a dimension of boundless possibilities of transformation and change. The definition of human is definitely changing, but how? The exhibited pieces work with those questions:
“the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technologies; the connection between bodies and the Earth”, according to Alemani’s statement.
Contemporary art explores the many questions on the future of our bodies and the body of our collective Mother, nature too. The female body has an important place in the equation, with many artists reacting to the political forces clashing with women’s personal rights over their bodies. There’s a robust rise in figurative art and art related to sustainability and our relationship with nature. There’s an increasing interest in biomorphism or biomorphic abstraction. The style focuses on the abstract beauty of biology, carrying a particular elegance on large-scale artworks.
It might be a surprise, but landscape painting has a different actuality now. Well-known contemporary artists are voicing their concerns regarding climate change through this traditional genre. And it doesn’t stop there. Artists are creating in all kinds of mediums on the theme of nature and climate change. Extinction, degradation of the flora, and fauna, and the resulting difficulties the changes bring to communities worldwide are subjects that need more awareness.
Also, we can’t overlook the fact that landscapes or images of plants are undoubtedly part of our souls. At least on the level of psychological attachment. Living in crowded big cities, where clear skies are scarce, the importance of a piece of nature in our home can provide great comfort, landscape or vegetation featured on a canvas being one of the few things with never-ending relevance.
Art has always been about experimenting and pushing boundaries With our tools taking more and more sophisticated forms and providing us experiences we always thought of as something very distant, art is evolving too, keeping pace with technology and exploring the mind-blowing new possibilities we have for expression. Digital art has so many subtypes this article will hardly be enough to enumerate them all. Here are a few essential new examples of the less material-bound medium.
As everything else in the world, we ourselves are information too. The dimension of the digital space has opened up as a kind of new existence and co-existence in our physical living spaces too. I mean, there are Augmented Reality art pieces available! AR allows you to project 3D models into the real world through your phone camera. With apps built for the AR experience, you can view real-life pieces in an “active” state too, where the elements making up the piece crawl off the canvas onto the wall, offering a 3dimentional experience of the initial 2D images. It’s so awesome you might need to pinch yourself from time to time to check things are still in their place.
Since the big boom in 2020 and 2021, everyone has been talking about NFTs. Although you definitely can’t hang those on a wall in a literal sense unless the wall is in a virtual space, they’re worth at least a short mention. NFT stands for Non-Fungible-Token, meaning it can’t be replaced or interchanged. Every NFT has unique properties, being digital assets that represent collectibles. It can be art, music, games, videos, etc., with authentic certificates that grant their owner proof of authority over the bought artwork. NFTs have at their base blockchain technology that underlies cryptocurrency. When looking for what to hang on your walls, you may not encounter a beautiful image in the traditional sense or a musical instrument. Still, instead, you might encounter an idea of timeless truth
Although artificial intelligence-generated art has been around in some form already in the 60s, it’s gaining a new meaning with new software technology. There is software available for producing images based on text input, like Midjourney or OpenAI’s DALL-E (try this for some fun!) Many heated conversations are going on about how AI will take work opportunities from creatives. The subject makes good material for a debate, that’s for sure, but the fun of the unexpected results generated is also undeniable. It’s an entertaining art toy accessible to anyone interested.
Last but not least, bad art has a spot in this tight selection since it has a quality that is timeless: it’s…bad. And it isn’t bad only because we don’t like it. On the contrary, we do like it! It’s so bad, it’s already good. Bad art has never been so appreciated and respected as in our days. Anyone can make bad art, you would think. I hate to break it down to you, but you can immediately tell if a piece is fake bad art, according to the employees of the Museum of Bad Art in Boston. The museum has very strict rules when choosing what to include in its collection: the artwork must be original, with serious intent and significant flaws. Deliberate kitsch doesn’t play.
The museum is bathing in attention because the interest in bad art, in general, is a growing trend. Think about all those bad tattoos everybody loves, or the ultimate star, the Monkey Jesus. (that’s actually a restoration fail, but it counts). This element of original visual badness is impossible or very hard to fake. It’s as hard as singing intentionally off-key.
When looking for what to hang on your walls, you may encounter something other than a beautiful image or a musical instrument in the traditional sense. You might instead come across an idea of timeless truth communicating a different kind of beauty, overlooked yet very important. MOBA co-founder Marie Jackson’s words are to be taken seriously: “We are here to celebrate an artist’s right to fail, gloriously.”
Cheers to that!