Modern art forms are affected by increasing multiculturalism


By Mallory St. Claire
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Junior Méghane Masquelin moved from France to America four years ago.  Here, she takes art classes and is enrolled in the IB course program.  Her art projects combine African and Indian elements, and she is currently working on a drawing with Asian influences, based off a Korean film called “Virgin Snow.”

“I’m really inspired by East Asian culture,” Masquelin said. “Right now I’m studying different Asian visual artists as well as musicians and would like to visit someday.  I’m also inspired by my French culture, as I draw inspiration from my family and country.”  

With the world opening and new cultural influences arriving in America, art finds itself subject to the globalization and outside influences, much like Masquelin’s multifaceted work.  According to Amanda Holman, AP Human Geography teacher, the availability of the Internet has drawn people together and made information about other cultures more accessible.  

“It is very easy to go onto a chat room and talk with a person from another country,” Holman said.  “The general availability of information via the Internet is also a major factor.”  

According to art teacher Jen Bubp, the art world has slowly changed to accommodate representation by different cultures.  Galleries are showing an increase international art due to demand by buyers for more global representation, and art museums are responding to the cultural shift.  The recent Ming art exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Bubp said, is a good example.  

“Art history has especially changed,” Bubp said. “Traditionally, we only taught the western artists, like Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Monet.  We’re seeing more multiculturalism and feminism in art history because of the post-modern movement.”

Bubp said she sees her students influenced particularly by Japanese animation, as well as Native American and Australian art, but said all cultures influence her students.  

Junior Annie Tang, is in an independent study art class.  She mostly draws people and face constructions, specifically between different races to observe the contrasts. 

“I think it’s great modern art can produce art with various influences,” Tang said.  “Unfortunately, traditional characterizations are almost lost.  In China, before it was traditional Chinese art and architecture, but  now everything feels more international.”

Masquelin said from living in France, America affected French culture in turn.  

“In France, America is viewed as the dream,” she said.  “People want to visit Hollywood, Vegas, and New York.  We have this vision of America.”  

With the cultural flow going both ways, the art world is clearly being changed by access to other cultures.  

Bubp said while the pull is creating hybrids of styles and cultures, the basic principles of masters such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo are taught worldwide.  

Masquelin said she tends to view multiculturalism in art as inspiration.

She said that, as a child, one of her dreams was becoming a fashion designer.  Today, she watches shows such as “Project Runway,” where contestants are challenged to create creative pieces of fashion.  

“You see designers pulling inspiration from paintings and different cultures,” she said.  “They draw inspiration from within and all around the world.”