Updated: Apr 20, 2020
There is not an art history class on the planet that doesn't dedicate a full class period to questioning whether Duchamp's 'Fountain' is art. Every time the discussion feels like a cop out by the teacher just to avoid planning a lesson for the day. The result is a cyclical discussion between to sides. Opinions both defending and tearing down 'Fountain' chasing their own tails in the debate, only to arrive at the conclusion that intention makes objects art. Well, thank you for that knowledge. I never realized that the artists making art is what classifies it as art. I can't imagine that there is anyone making things for function and all of the sudden everyone ordains it art. Just remember that if someone has the intention of making art then it is in fact art.
What is this discussion really doing? Without even realizing it the people involved in the debate are being guided into the justification of post modernism. In my opinion the emergence of the post modernist movement is the most dangerous thing to happen to art. Previous movements rejected aspects of tradition, while pushing the boundaries of concept and technique. Post modernism on the other hand seems to just throw out all tradition. It focuses on that simple notion of intention, making it nearly impossible to argue to a works validity. Dumbing an artistic practice down to intention creates injustice. Technique must be mastered. Skill must be practiced. Eliminating skill from the equation leaves quick art that forces the casual viewer to question why even invest time and effort into it. It is hard to engage the public when you show them a rock on the floor of a gallery. The art world praises the concept but the audience remains unimpressed. It is a bad thing when someone novice to the art world genuinely tries to understand, but we can't justify a work to them.
There are a couple big problems that arise during this movement. For starters it promotes the idea that artists don't need to waste time developing talent. Rather they can just pump out easy work and rely on concept. The goal should be master traditional techniques and then push them in a new direction. Artists now a days disregard past knowledge. If you want to make a conceptual point without focusing on visual craft, write a goddam book. The english language is very efficient when it comes to ideas. Art needs to be more.
The other problem we are facing in an overgeneralization of art. Everything is art today. An oversaturated market makes it tough to decipher what is good and bad. It can all be argued for. I understand and agree that pushes boundaries is how thing advance and that edge is where innovation lives. In this case the boundaries are non existent leaving no edge for innovation. When presented with too many options and endless possibilities, the creative becomes crippled. In order to think outside the box, there must be a box to exit. I fear that the way we are headed post modernism will be the final art movement. How could anything follow if it is all encompassing.