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In terms of quantifiable data—prices spent on paintings and photographs and sculptures, visitors accommodated and funds raised and square footage created at museums—the picture could hardly be rosier.
On May 1, New York’s Whitney Museum moved from 75th Street to the Meatpacking District and reopened in a 2 million building.
This collapse in the prestige and consequence of art is the central cultural phenomenon of our day.
It began a century most of human history, works of visual art were the direct expression of the society that made them.
One can expect more such record-breaking in the next few years as the art market is increasingly roiled by Hong Kong dollars, Swiss francs, and Qatari riyals.
(The buyer of the Picasso was subsequently revealed to be the former prime minister of Qatar.)But quantifiable data can only describe the fiscal health of the fine arts, not their cultural health. A basic familiarity with the ideas of the leading artists and architects is no longer part of the essential cultural equipment of an informed citizen.
Their names were Tim Miller, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Karen Finley—the latter especially famous because her most notable work largely involved smearing her own body with chocolate.
But Ooko realizes that perhaps what he really wants is a friend.For while the fine arts can survive a hostile or ignorant public, or even a fanatically prudish one, they cannot long survive an indifferent one.