Art Research Paper

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I would like an essay on Globalization and Culture with a focus on the art industry, artists and how it has impacted their artwork. Include any examples of contemporary artists, their artwork.




Globalization has impacted culture in a very significant way. Many of these impacts manifest themselves in the current portrayal of contemporary artists and their artwork. Virtually all cultural industries have been affected in one way or the other by globalization. However, one may argue that since the art industry is globalized by virtue of the presence of buyers, auction houses, artists, and galleries in different countries, globalization will not bring about much harm. This argument is faulty because globalization has already started influencing the kind of artwork that contemporary artists produce. For example, painted photography has gained a covert hegemonic status since the onset of the current wave of globalization, which started in the early 1980s (Stallabrass, 2007). The aim of this paper is to investigate, from a cultural perspective, the different ways in which globalization has affected the art industry, particularly artists and their artwork.

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Impact of Globalization on Contemporary Art Industry

The current wave of globalization was characterized by the emergence of a new set of technical media from which many artists drew inspiration. The emergence of the new media greatly contributed to the rise of photography as a hegemonic area of focus. Many contemporary painters such as Gerhard Richter and Francis Bacon have come up with painted photographs as well as paintings derived from photographs. Similarly, many sculptors, including Man Ray and Constantin Brancusi, have been inspired by photographs to come up with sculptures (Smiers, 2003).

The set of technical media that have continued to shape trends in the art industry include computers, film, television, and video. The emergence of the World Wide Web has triggered a revolution characterized by universal access at all times by all media. Art enthusiasts no longer have to visit auction houses and galleries to view their favorite artwork. Similarly, artists no longer have to travel from one country to the other to interact with fellow artists. They only need to establish appropriate online platforms for sharing views as well as displaying and auctioning their artwork.

In the present digital age, anybody can get any artwork as long as he has access to a computer and an internet connection. This universality of media experience has far-reaching repercussions on the way artwork is appreciated and critiqued (Carroll, 2007). Such a phenomenon points to the emergence of global culture, whereby people of different cultural backgrounds embrace a new cultural identity that is based on contemporary online experience. Such a development does not augur well for contemporary artists who intend to contribute to the existing knowledge about cultural diversity by coming up with paintings that portray certain cultural values.

            Globalization has created a situation where many people would rather experience the current world through the eyes of the mass media. This obviously reduces the level of attention that would have gone to artists and artwork. In the context of the globalized mass media, artworks risk being viewed using the lens of cultural stereotyping. For example, the growing accessibility of cameras in smartphones and laptop computers has created a situation whereby anyone who owns these gadgets is a potential photographer or TV-program maker. Such a development severely degrades the idea of culturally relevant artwork constructed through processes that carry the undertones of the cultural diversity that used to prevail prior to the emergence of the current wave of globalization.

Examples of How Contemporary Artists and their Artwork Have Been Influenced By Globalization

There are many examples of how contemporary artists have been influenced by globalization in the way they portray their artwork. A case in point is Dulce Pinzon, a Mexican photography artist based in New York (Harris, 2011). The emerging interplay of the existing of new media and the convergence of diverse cultures to form a new global culture has influenced Pinzon to shift his attention primarily to photographs that portray the popular culture that exemplifies the current information age (Harris, 2011). Pinzon’s photographs rework identity by portraying contemporary labor conditions of immigrants. The photographs also provide insights into the ways in which American popular culture has been exported through globalization. For example, the costumes portrayed in the photographs exemplify America’s domination of the current process of globalization.

In a different example, Francis Alÿs examined contemporary trends in labor practices and came up with a video symbolizing the act of workers moving a massive sand dune by only a few centimeters in a desolate region of South America (Harris, 2011). In a preface to this art project, Alÿs indicated that he hoped that his artwork would achieve the goal of de-romanticizing land art as well as enabling him to acknowledge the specificity of the context of globalization in which these labor practices were located (Harris, 2011).


            In conclusion, the rise of new media and the subsequent emergence of the current wave of globalization have affected contemporary artists and their artwork in numerous ways. This paper’s main finding is that globalization has greatly contributed to the rise of the so-called “covert hegemonic status” of painted photography. In this photography, artists are being compelled to look at different phenomena through the lens of popular culture as necessitated by globalization. Consequently, many painted photographs depicting contemporary local labor issues in the context of the emerging global culture have emerged.


Carroll, N 2007, ‘Art and Globalization: Then and Now’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 131–143.

Harris, J 2011, Globalization and Contemporary Art, Wiley-Blackwell, New York.

Smiers, J 2003, Arts Under Pressure: Protecting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalization, Zed Books, London.

Stallabrass, J 2007, ‘What’s in a Face? Blankness and Significance in Contemporary Art Photography’, October, vol. 4, no. 122, pp. 71-90.

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