Saturday, January 02, 2010


Our times cannot product great art writes Aakar Patel in his piece in mint. Everything that is great in art has already been done and hence from here on our lives shall be doomed to wander in a rewind mode. True? Quite possible. After all, in most fields what s to be created has since long since been created. New particle, new political theory, new religion have been true relics of the past, we don't hear about such things so easily. Why would art be any different?

Art becomes an important barometer because of two very unrelated reasons: Measurement (of the goodness of an artist) and a sense of perspective (for the the artist regarding the wider world). What s so different about the current artistic environment against maybe something two or three centuries ago? Patronage. As any artist will tell you, patronage allows one to pursue art for art s sake. Art was/is opium of the nobility: My court artist is better than yours, I can identify a high note, this piece is so good lets put it up at the Louvre, the whole audience gave in to the uplifting music.....these are phrases that we seldom here these days. The reasons for that are too obvious: nations are comfortable about their culture and communications have fundamentally changed.

Sculpture: Give me rapid prototyping. Literature: The twitterati are waiting. Paintings: Everybody is a photographer. Without the opportunity to put people on pedestals and the ability to compare them, art will never seem creative enough. Till we get that "perspective", we shall continue to believe that we dont see great art these days. Someday, 21 st century art will be great, but the measurement of the same will definitely not be traditional.