“When Wallace Stevens said “Money is a kind of poetry,” he could have applied it to certain precincts of the art world, where it is a kind of criticism. Those who believe that the cream always rises to the top, and that success in the marketplace is a reliable measure of an artist’s ambition, tend to be white male critics.”
All art history is a narrow, partisan, curated reading of a particular fraction of a particular cultural moment.
The biggest complaint of successful artists presently seems to be that there is too much ‘product’. It’s not just that there are more artists than ever before, but that they are, because of the internet, more visible than ever before.
It’s now impossible to talk about a zeitgeist, or to suggest that artists are predominantly interested in some particular formal issue such as abstraction, figuration, etc. This isn’t because we live in a post-modernist, post-historical time when lots of contradictory ideas, styles co-exist. It’s because it’s plain to see that there is a massive variety of different stuff happening at the same time. But, this has always been the case. It’s just harder to ignore with the internet. You can’t really make a case for a narrow art movement now. We can’t really say that there is a post-post-modernism because there was never really post-modernism or modernism. Not in the great, over-arching way that these movements are talked about. They were never the only game in town. They were never actually the Law. Or, we could say that there were lots of competing modernisms.