" This decade has seen the end of high art "
Já se fazem balanços da 1ª década, e esta pequena nota lida no Guardian é particularmente estimulante pelos problemas que põe: " This decade has seen the end of high art ". É centrada em Londres, no sucesso popular da Tate Modern (a confrontar com o do CCB do Museu Berardo) e no êxito mediático (e mercantil) de Damien Hirst e outros nomes. Será mais uma vez um exercício sobre a ideia de fim (as notícias dos fins...), e nesse campo já se viu tudo, já tudo acabou. E o tema da arqueologia aparece à força, é só o interesse pelas ruínas, os vestígios, a ideia de morte.
Também se poderia dizer que é a "high art" que se tornou um fenómeno popular, pela frequência dos museus, e que, como antes, há boa e má "high art" (boa e má, séria e irrisória ou fraudulenta, etc). Aliás, já antes de Hirst havia o Dalí turístico, por exemplo, e Figueres já era o museu mais visitado em Espanha. Isto de fins e de princípios é mais complicado do que parece.
O problema, aqui, é em especial o da divisão entre grande e pequena arte. Essa fronteira, quando existe por necessidade de análise, não é substancial (ou essencial) nem fixa.
"Review of the decade: The art"
Wednesday January 2, 2008
"In the first decade of the 21st century modern art became a popular phenomenon. Galleries <as galerias públicas, os museus, centros de arte> stopped being the preserve of an elite, and artists communicated directly with a mass public. Who could have guessed, in 1998, that within 10 years an artist as serious as Doris Salcedo would be a well-known name thanks to a crack she'd made in a south London power station? <Tate Modern: "Shibboleth" >
The groundwork for art's popular triumph was laid in the 1990s, when art made news with one "sensation" after another. <"Sensation", Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, at the Royal Academy of Arts, 1997, com digressão por Berlin e New York - 1> It was outrageous and disreputable. That now seems a remote attitude. Art is accepted these days - even occasionally understood.
This century started with an event whose significance is still growing: Britain's first modern art museum opened. Unlike New York's lofty Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern turned out to be a celebration of art now with mass appeal. Tate Modern is in itself the most important phenomenon in art now, anywhere in the world, because it has changed art's audience, and destroyed the old order. The traditional preserves of the critic, the art historian, the "expert", have vanished.
Although a critic today might champion certain serious practitioners of art - a Richard Serra, a Cy Twombly - that kind of artist is losing out to art that is brighter, louder, closer in sensibility to TV. This decade has seen the end of high art, in that there is no longer any distinction between art and mass entertainment. Art follows the same rules as the fashion industry and has the same clients.
If this sounds pessimistic, there is a diamond lining. As more and more people are drawn into the fascination of visual images, so it becomes possible for artists to talk more directly and humanely than they used to about things that matter to everyone. The most ambitious art has searched for its origins as if to find a universal human expression. Just as artists a century ago "discovered" African masks, art in this century is driven to archaeology as witnessed by the figures of Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst's diamond skull, a deathly treasure that might have come from some ancient despot's tomb.
Art is for the people now - that's established. What's uncertain is the outcome. This era may be remembered as one which turned art into an empty sign of itself, or admired for art such as Hirst's, which crystallises the deepest human fears and longings with a grandeur and lucidity that eluded 20th-century artists."
1 - Uma curiosa crítica de 1998, por John Molyneux
STATE OF THE ART: A review of the 'Sensation' pelo troskista John Molyneux, publ. Issue 79 of INTERNATIONAL SOCIALISM, quarterly journal of the Socialist Workers Party (Britain) July 1998