Challenging Competence: Quality for this Century Essay

2511 Words 11 Pages
“The adventure of modern art is over. Contemporary art is only contemporary of itself… Nothing differentiates it from technical, advertising, media and digital operations. There is no more transcendence, no more divergence, nothing from another scene…”(Baudrillard, 89.)

The apples from the last tree standing in the orchard of the art world have grown toxic with the sewage of the art market landfill in which it is planted. High art at the dawn of the 21st century is confined, controlled and contrived by the fiscal pursuits inherent in free marketeering. Contemporary capitalism has transformed the way art is assigned value within our society. By radically shifting
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Art in the 21st century must begin to redefine itself; somehow divorcing the market and adopting competence and quality as a means by which to assign value

“The real problem is the general decline in American culture, which has unleashed a flood of mediocrity and tastelessness, even reaching the roof of the peerless Metropolitan Museum of Art with a ten-foot high chromium-yellow Balloon Dog (2000) by Jeff Koons, the same artist who captured honors at the 1987 Whitney Biennial with his life-size ceramic of Michael Jackson in white face carrying bubbles, his pet chimpanzee.”(Cooper, 4.)

With the rise of artists the likes of Jeff Koons who act as the facilitators of financial speculation rather than the creators of work for the sake thereof we have seen the advent of a grand perversion in the cult of persona. Persona has shaped the way in which artists are viewed since the days of Reuben and Van Dyke, though in the time of these baroque masters the work itself allowed for the creation of their personas rather than the contemporary and converse notion that the persona allows for the creation of the work. Koons is not the passive victim of this new model of operation but has skillfully aided in crafting a market where his work can be accepted and praised “ I envision the

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