They have to believe it. Their world and their inflated but fragile self-esteem depends on it. Otherwise all that is left to them is ugly, banal(not a contradiction), mindless and worthless junk. And may I add - dreary, unsellable junk.
From the Mail Online-
We set up that simple test. We spent a day sitting in front of four classic paintings, and the works of four famous contemporary British artists.
We counted how many visitors stopped at each; for how long, on average, they spent looking at each work; what the longest examination was; and what sort of gallery visitor each work seemed to attract.
surprisingly, despite all the controversy, and the public promotion of new British artists, they did less well in this test than the 18th and 19th Century artists.
Yup, life is short. Who wants to waste a desultory second on this-
|Damien Hirst's pickled cow|
or on this-
|Untitled (Black Bath) by Rachel Whiteread, 1996|
when there is this stunning magnificence-
|Ophelia by John Everett Millais|
and this utterly endearing charm to enrich your soul -
|Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent|
The people we were observing were certainly keen on the visual arts. Nevertheless, it seemed as if they were not interested in, or open to the work of, some of our best-known contemporary artists.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was the familiar and traditional paintings that people devoted most of their time and attention to.
It's clear why people spent more than two minutes on average in front of William Hogarth's The Roast Beef Of Old England. It's a complicated painting, with lots of small incidents and stories bursting out, 12 major figures and a really funny joke about a dead fish; it's also painted with wonderful bravura.
Obviously, no one is going to understand it without spending a few minutes going over its details.
The same might be true about Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia, which was easily the most popular work when we visited.
Three visitors spent as much as half an hour looking at this marvellous painting - try spending three minutes looking at a single image to realise how long that is.
It's a very rich painting, deliberately specific in its botanical details surrounding the drowning Ophelia, as well as a beautifully direct one.
On the whole, though, wherever we watched, visitors seemed more willing to devote between two and six minutes to the classic works, whether they be Whistler's translucent Thames study Nocturne: Blue And Silver or Sargent's Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, which, a generation ago, was the most popular postcard sold by the Tate's shop. Why should this be?
It might be that contemporary artists strive to make an impact rather than provide a complex emotional experience. It is shocking to see a dead sheep in an art gallery, but it's not something to go on looking at for half an hour.
And it may be that there is not much else they know or can do. They are a one-trick pony and it's not a very endearing trick at that.
Read it all here.