Friday, January 05, 2007

The art world, the market for discreet objects of pleasure and value, represents the most conservative aspects of society. Before democratic revolutions it was part and parcel of the culture of the old regime, and under republican governments it must play to or off the tastes of the economic elite. The reasons are obvious, but largely ignored, especially by critics who want to think of themselves as independent. Journalists who write about fashion or interior design are much less conflicted, though there’s considerable overlap in the marketplace.

The fine arts are aristocratic. That’s their strength and weakness. But the arts as a whole, high, low and in between, are descriptive. Two things to be aware of when following the various partisans of modernism past and present.

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