Soon after the war industry became more dominant as countries were rebuilding themselves. So now an artist was no longer an oracle but a professional, like a lawyer of doctor, who went to school to learn a skill. A profession is not a vocation but also not just a job. Professionals could be made, you did not have to have an inborn talent but could acquire enough skills to become n artist. As a professional an artist had to maintain a set of standards like beauty, discipline, etc. Artists were expected to enter the marketplace but only in the refined circles of academia, commercial art venues, or galleries.
However that too changed, with the advent of fewer resources and higher costs of living, the artist is now not even a professional but an “entrepreneur”. Now we’re all supposed to be our own business, our own agent, our own marketing, production, and accounting departments. Entrepreneurialism is being sold to us as an opportunity.
Artists are no longer seeking patrons but customers. They no longer have time to put in the hours to hone their skills, they are too busy networking, cold calling and being business people. Art has changed drastically from an inspiration or even a craft to a consumer good. So artists are at the mercy of what consumers like and what can sell and their minds are invaded by this.
In the light of these changes, standards in art are secondary to what consumers prefer and what sells. Aesthetics as such which took over from spiritual inspiration now need to yield to the common denominator, what will someone buy. Galleries too, no longer look for inspiring, original artists but ones that make what their clients will purchase.
Everyone’s opinion has equal value. We no longer need educated art historians to tell us what is good art. As a result the whole notion of good versus bad art has disappeared. Anything anyone can sell is deemed to be good art. The customer is always right.
Artists who still believe they have something of value to contribute to the world, something to say are becoming few and far between and very rarely are shown in present day galleries. Museums are prone to display traditional work because they are confused like the rest of the world about what is art. And people like Jeff Koons, skilled manipulators and entertainers, are playing the game that was once reserved for Wall Street.