To my mind there’s precious little point in complaining about the paucity of meaningful art any generation produces. You can’t browbeat artists into producing work that overcomes their audience’s natural resistance to a message. You either wait for that rare genius who can do that to come along, or, again, you accept the best work your generation can produce until values change.
Edward Winkleman’s blog is in my list of must read feeds. his insights into the state of the art market and the art culture of today are fascinating. This article in particular resonated with me. at this time there are more artists working than ever before, all trying to get the recognition they feel they deserve. some succeed and some don’t, it is a harsh business. it does seem, however, that while the creation of art is at an all time high, meaningful art creation seems to be lost in a self perpetuating cycle of assimilation, attribution and attrition.
we are becoming more inured to meanings and messages, they are preached at us in the media until it becomes a dull hum in our ears. it appears that we have started a search for meaninglessness over everything else, worshipping vapid gods and godesses on magazines and our personal televisual altars. it is only fitting that art should follow suit. our ideas of success are rooted in the business world and our values are monetary as opposed to creative, spawning works that are centralized around the pursuit of money and matching ubiquitous couches; pacifying and pandering to buyers rather than creating to change perceptions and values. it is worth saying at this point, that I am also guilty of capitalization. I aspire to a comfortable living and perhaps, one day, to a painting that might live forever. I don’t think that they are entirely opposed, but I worry that when the focus is on the material we lose sight of our own individual pursuit of art.
To shock meaning back into art we need to go to extremes – in a world where violence is commonplace and nudity is mistaken for sexuality, a world where the extreme is now the everyday – how far must we go? and how far is too far? the line appears to be arbitrary.