Change is constantly occurring all around us. The most rapidly changing fields are often the creative ones. People who enjoy thinking creatively are often the first to resist stagnation and move onto something new. As a result of this, the art world experiences shifts much more suddenly than other fields save perhaps music. This essay takes a brief look into how much has changed in the world of art from the 1950 to the present.
In the 1950’s, the world had a great deal to be happy about. The war was over and through the miracle of mass production, it seemed that everyone would have a greater chance at prosperity. Unsurprisingly, the art of that era tends to reflect that optimism at every turn. Many artists in Britain especially used the emergence of so called ‘pop art’ as a means of making their commentary on the social realities they still faced. The use of mass production was even implemented in the creation of art. Artists such as Jasper John became the face of the new pop art movement in the U.S. This was also the point in history when Andy Warhol popularized some of his famous techniques.
In many ways the Art world has become far more commercialized than at any other point in history. This is merely a reflection of the way that society in general has evolved. Anything that can be made into a commodity for sale and resale will be. The largest museums and auction houses often sell pieces of art for six figures and even seven based not only on the talent of the artist but other less romantic factors. Art is a stable investment (relatively speaking) and by owning the work of an artist with an established name, the buyer is ensured of a certain amount of value where other commodities might be less stable. In the midst of this very sterile new take on art, there have been very bright spots as well. Street art has experienced a resurgence with deeper themes and more intellectual analysis than ever. Artists like Banksy remain anonymous in a an overexposed world and that in itself is an art.
Many changes are observable in art over the decades but whether pleasant or unpleasant, change is good. Art is not art if it is fixed and never evolves.