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Wilsher, Mark (2015)
Publisher: Birkbeck, University of London
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: N1, NC, NX
This paper is based on a study of UK daily newspaper representations of contemporary art and artists. The most common types of story could be said to both reflect and inform public attitudes. A one-month sample of five national newspapers was analysed and a total of 115 relevant news stories were identified and categorised. Sixteen themes occurred three or more times, and the most frequent of these indicate the current paradigmatic attitudes and beliefs about contemporary art.\ud The five dominant narratives are discussed and analysed: celebrity, unusual images, the use of unusual materials, freedom of expression, and financial value. In each case the underlying assumptions are related back to traditional stereotypes of the artist as a uniquely free and self-expressive individual, somehow different from normal society. It is suggested that the idea of art as a generator of wealth is a relatively new development, and that these stories also reflect existing themes within the art world’s own discourse. The great rise in popularity of contemporary art in the UK since the millennium might suggest that public attitudes have undergone a shift, and that further research into newspapers from the early 1990s and earlier is necessary.
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    • British Council, Visual Arts (2010) [accessed 20 December 2010].
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    • Mark Wilsher, 'Lost & Found', Art Monthly , 378 (2014), p. 5-7.
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    • Victor Burgin, The End of Art Theory: Criticism & Postmodernity (London: Macmillan, 1986), p. 148.
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    • Mark Palmer, 'Marvel at Margate', Daily Mail , 13 May 2011, p. 66.
    • Kuspit, The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist , p. 7.
    • Palmer, Mark, 'Marvel at Margate', Daily Mail , 13 May 2011, p. 66 Routledge, Paul, 'Twitching to see Museum's Heron', Daily Mirror , 27 May 2011, p. 37 Tate Report 2013/14 (London: Tate, 2014) Wilsher, Mark, 'Lost & Found', Art Monthly , 378 (2014), 5-7 Wolff, Janet, 'The Social Production of Art' (London: Macmillan, 1981)
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