You may be thinking (and I don't blame you) that I'm about to go into a long rant about how our situation is dire, about how we need to take down the Post-modern establishment, about how now is the time to rally the troops. But you will have thought wrong. What I bring today is a message of hope.
I was talking with my good friend Adam Miller yesterday about the state of the young art world in NYC. He confirmed something that I felt was true: that American Art professionals under 40 are not really indoctrinated with this anti-realist sentiment. He had been speaking to the owner of a very hip, young gallery in Williamsberg and showed him his work - expecting a grimace and a "Sorry, we're not interested in that kind of work". Instead, he got an enthusiastic "Wow man, that's cool shit!". Certainly, the ones in power: the major institutional curators, the big art critics, the influential art historians... are all over 40 and all anti-humanist. But this division is clearly there, and it won't be long before the 30 and 40 somethings replace the retiring old guard.
I'm recognizing a trend here. Recently, Rembrandt and Raphael had record breaking prices at Christie's.. in the middle of a global economic crisis. Damien Hirst's exhibition of his own paintings in the Wallace Collection elicited everything from groans to outright debasement (sacrilege!) from the critics - pretty much all of them. Many of them even pointed out his lack of skill. In the past 10 years, Andrew Wyeth's ranking (via Art Net) has risen from around #4,000 to #1,925. His prices, also have increased (and it is well deserved). The auction prices for "contemporary Art" reflect it's volatility and have been heavily hit by the recession, while Odd Nerdrum's sales have increased.
This is an ever growing list. And though the trend is in our favor, we shouldn't sit back and enjoy a martini thinking we're out of the woods. This transition will take years, as our generation slowly replaces the last in positions of power. On the cusp of victory, now is not the time to be side tracked. We still need to rally the troops. But at the risk of being less entertaining, maybe I should now be a bit kinder, a bit more sympathetic, a little more understanding.......
Nah, melodrama is more my style.
"They may take our lives, but they will never take our Freeeedooom!!!"