Hipster art: not what you think
When it comes to contemporary art, there are mainly two camps: Either you are a hipster, or you are not. Period.
Unfortunately if you regard yourself as a hipster, chances are you are an imposter hipster, because, well, it’s against the hipster social code to refer yourself as so.
So “gerry out of here.” I am not talking about you! But anyway, feel free to ride on your yellow bike, wearing a flowery blouse and ill-fitting skirt and cheap lipstick to finish off while keeping your yoga mat, fresh farm kales and your ‘pet’ iPhone all in your basket.
I am talking about this clueless artist who doesn’t have a clear concept of what the hell art is, much less care to have an opinion on them.
Understanding the contemporary (hipster) art
But the question is: Has contemporary art become hipster? What is so surprising (if not entirely mesmerizing) is how the trendy, ironic references and eclectic styles have become the driving subject of art.
But the contemporary art that hipsters so boldly and badly confess has its shortcomings. It is no longer interested in confronting us with deep, personal, non-ironic, and sincere manifestations of the creative process.
Instead, we are treated to inside jokes amongst artists. And in the worst case scenario, this art gravitates to plain bastardization of powerful ability of human creativity. So don’t be surprised if you bump into ‘highly celebrated’ graffiti sprayed on the streets or elsewhere that makes you want to throw up. That’s what contemporary art is all about.
A poor mediator between the “art world” and the “real world”
So, let’s face it. Hipster art has its own ambiguities.
It’s often perceived by the general public as incomprehensible and shockingly unexciting.
Who thought graffiti (looking eerily as strands of spaghetti draped on the table) would once be perceived as ‘just cool contemporary art’?
Unfortunately (or fortunately), a big chunk of contemporary art seems to carry these hipster qualities. And big cities around the world have become playgrounds for testing the latest hipster art style.
But why do hipsters tend to appropriate the styles of cultures that they don’t even belong to?
Here is the reason: The need to obtain social capital. So it’s not the kind of art that makes your hair strands stand out like you have poked your poor fingers in a socket.
We are talking about the kind of selfish art – manner of speech, object, or fashion style specific to a certain subculture – that unfortunately end ups (mis)appropriating the social capital of others' cultures.
So what happens at the end of the day?
Instead of coming out as a true artist, the hipsters end up becoming mere eclectic collage of bastardized histories. Nothing much.
At the end of the day, they devalue these fashions by gaining their social capital without a fair exchange. But the bottom line is, hipsterism doesn’t refer to a particular style. It’s a mentality that facilitates these cool tastes and actions. And s is there art: it’s a mindset that drives people to adopt the cultural and social capital of another group.