I have been reading over alot of the blog lately and enjoying the lively exchange of ideas, so I thought I would throw my two cents into the discussion.
I want to discuss the idea that artists should reflect their time. Things do change and Time obviously moves on, new fashions come in vogue and fads appear and disappear . Great work can be done within a popular "of the moment" style, but it is important to remember how much great art (much more I think) has been done by artists with a strong identity outside of the taste of the moment.
This is apparent in the works many Great Artists who could not make a living when alive, but today their paintings sell for millions at auction. This is not because the Artists work changed with the times or even that tastes improved, but rather that the taste of the times moved to the artist.
The way that collectors perceive art also changes with time. Much art is sold today because the buyer hopes it will conform to a color scheme and offend no one. In the past art was bought because the collector admired the artists skill in depicting nature and in telling an interesting story. Today more people are returning to traditional looks in their homes, they are reverse renovating to reclaim original fire-places and tin ceilings that were removed to accommodate Modernism and buying realistic rather than abstract paintings. Is this a sign that this time has reached its cycle? Are people beginning to tire of horizontal and vertical lines, simple colors and flat-pack.... Time will only tell.