There is a lot of bad art out there and the internet just proliferates those images creating the impression that we’re in a time when no one is making good art. It would be easy to assume that our “standards” for good art have declined since the golden days of classical art. There are many who blame modern art, and particularly movements like abstract expressionism, for this decline in contemporary arts’ quality. The real culprit for the perceived lack of standards is the internet. Art has not gotten worse, it has changed and the areas of quality are often found in subtle less obvious ways than virtuosic representation. The real reason we see so much bad art is simply because we’re exposed to more art. There has been bad art in every generation. The art that has stood the test of time represents the pinnacle of artistic achievement in each epoch. Every age has had it’s own hacks and hobbyists looking for a quick buck, we can just see more of ours because everyone has a self publishing platform through the internet.
Also, because of our obsession with entertainment, our media consumption is geared towards the exciting, the shocking, and the flashy. All the blame for shock-value art does not rest solely with the artists creating such work. It also rests with us. We are part of a world with so many clamoring voices that if one wants to be heard, if even for second, they must shout. Not only that, volume isn’t enough any more. Our shouts must be shocking, offensive, or confrontational to get even the most passive of responses from the numb consumer. Artists have something they want to say and today’s world only seems to respond to the controversial. They didn’t create that system, they’re adapting to it.
What are your thoughts?