SCAD Savannah – Summer 2015 – Savannah College of Art and Design President Paula Wallace – Photography by Chia Chong

The Different Fields of the Art World

Helen Lee Schifter, the former Wall Street arbitrage trader. former Hearst and Conde Nast editor, and frequent contributor to articles about how to maintain one’s balance in the home, at work, and in the greater society Schifter naturally really believes in the arts.

Art has always been a significant part of society, and each country, throughout the ages, has often found that art is a reflection of the society as a whole, or alternatively is on the vanguard of leading attitudes and changes.

For example, Asian art, in particular, Japanese and Chinese zen-inspired art, has often represented nature and the simplicity of balance in life, which Helen, who has written so much about Japanese tea ceremonies, is extremely partial to/

Much of European painting on the other hand for centuries was reflected in so many artists being patrons of the rich and using the family members of the rich as models for their painting.

The tradition of using live, and often rich family members as their subject carried on for several hundred years.

Meanwhile, when the Communists took over Russia, by the 1930s they frequently used film, posters, paintings, and statues to Glorify the great Communist State.

China, which also went communist, in the early 1950s forced all artists to tow the party line and gone or suppressed was the zen-like lithographs of old and they too followed the hard realism of the party.

In the early part of the 19th century, a new art form began to develop, photography. Photography had been invented before, but in the USA first Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer out of New Jersey who longed to produce photos imitating the works of great painters, and then Ansel Adams, the great nature photographer clearly boosted photography into a recognized art form.

Sculptures, Helen Lee Schifter’s personal favorite, of course is one of the oldest art forms and there are sculptures in existence from 35,0000 years ago,

Sculpture, like all forms of art, went through many periodic changes. In the Greek civilization, the gods and humans were considered on par with one another, so that many of the statues recovered from that time period look like sculptured, god-like humans.

Then, a couple of hundred years after the rise of Christianity, for a long time many

statues were religiously inclined.

One only has to even think of the Pieta by Michaelangelo to imagine the height of Christian statues.

Naturally, Christian statues declined when modernism took over, and one could point to Agust Rodin and his thinker statue to recognize the change.

Today of course, hundreds of years after all these changes in art forms have taken over, perhaps anything goes in art. From Peter Max, the popular psychedelic painter to

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, the saying goes, “art is what sells.”

But many of the artists are repeating artistic trends of the past. What’s the difference for example, between artists using models of the family of rich patrons and Annie Leibovitz who makes a living off of photographing famous celebrities.

And some artists do not take the whole art scene seriously like the notorious, anonymous Banksy, who in 2018, shredded his most famous painting with a built-in shredder installed in the frame.