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An Artist's Perspective: Art-as-Trend

Curt Clonts

I received my monthly art publications in the mail this week and I found myself first rifling through them, looking at images, and identifying all the crap.  Maybe I'm just grouchy this week, but I'm sick and bored of "art-as-trend." 

I'm weary of flowery, overly literal political art, art as overt social commentary, self-indulgent installation art, click-image digital media, and art for the sake of shock. It reeks of impermanence and the prevalence of social media. It is the machine gun burp of 30 images per millisecond. And--the art-speak blather that seems to accompany many of these images seems dishonest, cold, and trite. For me, this week, it all seems cheap and laughable. It leaves me wondering what art can actually stand the test of time anymore and does that even matter?

I want to see wonderfully executed, quality paintings and sculpture again. And I want to see a lot of it. They don't have to be modern era works! There is dynamic work of magnificent quality being made today across the world. Why are so many art museums in the country drinking the kool-aide and following kitch and trend? Are they afraid of losing a future audience? I mean, I ask because I don't know. Am I just old? Am I all used up?

I regularly have coffee with a very open-minded group that consists of 11 educated, well-regarded male and female artists, a curator and art historian, and the founder of a creative's discussion panel. We have discussed this entire subject at length. This diverse group agreed that they were fairly starved for an honesty in art that seems almost of a bygone era--which sadly--is less than a decade ago.

Last week I considered going to the Ulrich Museum to take in the upcoming Coded Couture exhibit featuring clothing designed by 10 international designers. I read that it hopes to explore a range of ideas including "quantifiable biological data." What the hell does that even mean?

I'm just not in the mood...