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just one big…

June 3, 2009

[Adbusters] All aesthetic movements are born, in some sense, of rupture. Abstractionism grew out of the carnage of WWI and abstract expressionism out of the carnage of WWII. Mid-century consumer culture marked a distinct break from the anxiety of previous decades and brought with it the idea that art had become too exclusionary and esoteric. Pop art promptly sprang from the void, speaking to the alienated masses in a language they could understand. With pop art and its most recognizable figure, Andy Warhol, a tradition of fetishizing not only art as object, but artist as celebrity, began. Speculators began to enter the market en masse, throwing money behind their bet for the art world’s Next Big Thing. Investors like Mugrabi used wealth and influence to control markets, exerting tight control over supply and demand. As a result, prices skyrocketed – and artists became rock stars. Galleries began to mine graduate schools hoping to discover a nascent Hirst or Jeff Koons. Chelsea felt more and more like Wall Street.

But then the bottom fell out. And as it continues to fall out of markets everywhere, we are confronted with the rupture that will define our age. Suddenly we’re left to peer out across the chasm that separates real wealth from perceived wealth, inherent value from inflated hype.

And we’re left to wonder – what new aesthetic will spring from the void?

“It’s impossible to define a new aesthetic movement because movements really no longer exist,” says Erik Plambeck, a recent art school grad living in Southern California. “Art today is just one big clusterfuck of artists doing what will get them paid, what will get them laid or what will get them famous.” (read)

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