St. Louis Today synopsizes Yale Dean Robert Storr’s talk at the city’s Contemporary Art museum on Friday night. The subject was “What to Do About Art When the Art World Gets the Jitters?”:
Storr didn’t dwell too long on the art market’s collapse – you got a sense that he saw that as beneath him. He tried to find positives in the currently dispiriting atmosphere. He said we have just endured a long period when there was little debate or even discussion about art, with attention focused on prices and social events like the evening’s lecture he headlined – which he graciously did not cite. Jeff Koons, whose work he finds interesting, and Damien Hirst, whose work he does not, are linked together in discussion, because, he said, they both broke the $20 million barrier. (So much for the fact that they both explore such post-Pop subjects as consumerism, excess, the pervasiveness of media and the dominance of popular culture.)
Although Storr rejected the schadenfreude expressed by many art world observers over art world jitters – he did not cite New York Times critic Holland Cotter by name – as puritanical, he did see the fact that now that money has been sucked out of the art system, we have the opportunity to talk seriously about art again. (He said that the idea of a pure artist is a fiction, citing, Van Gogh, of all people as an example of an artist focused on making sales.)
Of course, Storr’s optimistic take on the current crisis is based on a nostalgia for an imagined past. Did we ever talk seriously about art?
Robert Storr on Art World Jitters at the Contemporary (St. Louis Today)