There are too many artists, too many dealers, and too much art. If plumbing was as popular as art, we would have amateur plumbers running around in stained clothing, brandishing plungers and roto-rooters, climbing in and out of sewers, and writing gibberish about pipe systems.
And none of our toilets would work.
- Walter Darby Bannard
Every man is an artist – Joseph Beuys
While I appreciate his Democratic impulse, Joseph Beuys was wrong. Just like not everyone can be a surgeon, or not everyone can be an astronaut, writer, film director, or musician, not everyone can be an artist.
It used to be the rare individual who was an artist. You had to have both a technical ability (aka talent), and also have a visionary or poetic spirit (imagination). Now neither of these two aspects is required in order to be an artist, or at least a postmodern artist. With the new direction art has taken, art in the expanded field, (art as social experiment, art as data collection, even art as food service) it seems like a lot of people are producing what some people might call art. Postmodernism’s destruction of hierarchies and a refusal to be critical of just what exactly defines an art practice (the pluralist “anything goes” attitude) has made for a bloated market.
Instead of art and the expanded field, perhaps we should call it art and the expanding balloon. Eventually the expanding balloon will pop.