Could you, or anyone, with absolute confidence tell the difference between a painting by some olympian of modern art, say DeKooning, and one by a farm animal, or a three year old? You might guess. Once saw Corbert interviewing art aficionado Steve Martin, asking him if he could tell which uniformly green panel was the Elsworth Kelly worth millions and which was a paint chip. After hesitation Steve said the one on the left, to which Corbert said “wrong,” but even that was probably a lie.
How come we’re having this discussion? No, really. How did it come to this that art has value because of what, faith? At ‘face value’ a lot of big time art falls flat, is seriously ho hum less than interesting. There’s mystery here and major inconvenience, always turns out inconvenient when people get together to ignore the obvious. Art, after all, is humanity’s attempt to see, digest, and comprehend the remarkably pliable corner of the universe we’ve been given, and trivializing it, degrading it, forcing it to perform a silly dance for the obscenely wealthy may not be in humanity’s best interests, by and by.
Let academic friends eat a deskilled breakfast, listen to a deskilled band, take their car to a deskilled mechanic before extolling the virtue of ‘deskilled’ art, because many of the rest of us are simply unimpressed. What’s wrong with old fashioned skilled art, honest accomplishment, astute observation, and general accessibility? The inside chuckle before the big business meeting said under the breath on the elevator -- “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit,” seems to apply. The time for that is over.