POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Here goes nothing: One of the more nerve inducing articles I’ve had published to date is now up at The L Magazine. This week I talk about The State of Contemporary Art. Conclusion? It’s not good.
Until taking this assignment, I had the luxury of avoiding the question everyone loves to ask and nobody wants to answer: What is the state of contemporary art? Or as I like to put it, “Is new art any good?” For the most part, the answer is no, and those inside the profession know it. Formulaic production plagues the field, work is masqueraded as more meaningful than it is, and the money invested in bad art is significant enough that undeserving artists receive accolades. It sucks.If art is in decline—or at least at a very low point—are there signs to prove this point and is there anything to be done about it? Undoubtedly the largest and most consistent problem contributing to the impoverished state of contemporary art lies in the enormous imbalance between the rich and the poor. Most artists simply don’t make enough money off their art to live comfortably, and contrary to popular myths linking suffering and great art, this isn’t good for anyone. “I’m doing a lot of meditating so I can eat less,” artist Graeme Gaerad told me last year. It didn’t strike me as particularly healthy. Sure, strife forces change, but if a bus hits an uninsured artist, bankruptcy won’t make their art any better. Last I heard, the artist I knew walking around with a broken foot because he couldn’t afford to get it fixed wasn’t working a hell of lot.