Contemporary Art in the News

Author: Dr Mark Wilsher

  • Contemporary Art in the News


    Contemporary Art in the News



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. 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.

How to Cite:

Wilsher, D., (2015) “Contemporary Art in the News”, Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network 6(1). doi:

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Published on
10 Dec 2015
Peer Reviewed