We all know the names of the world’s greatest artists–the ones who were famous for breaking new ground, delving into new realms and forcing the eyes and the mind of the art fanatic to bend, twist and reshape with them. Their names come to mind easily and roll off of our tongues effortlessly.
Vincent Van Gogh.
Whether you like their forms and styles or appreciate what they did for the world of art is neither here nor there. They are the names of the people who will be remembered, whose who will last on in fame forever (or at least as long as our written records survive). They are the names of the people who defined generations of art.
So why hasn’t that happened recently? And who does decide who is and who is not worth having his or her name enshrined among the greatest artists who ever lived?
Well, the answer to that second question is largely critics and those who buy the pieces. Art fairs and exhibits and galleries are, right now, everywhere. Exposure is no longer an issue, and we don’t have to lament about artists not being discovered until after their deaths. With social media and the ubiquitous nature of the internet, artists are posting new content and creating new “revolutionary” content every day. People are branching out and making sure their creations are seen. But they’re not breaking new ground. They’re not recognized as “great” artists. They’re not immortalized in museums. At least not yet.
The first question–why hasn’t this happened just yet in the recent past–is largely based in who does and who does not use their art to push new boundaries and create new forms. Will those like famed comic-book creator Stan Lee be recognized and lauded 100 years from now? What about 500? Lee broke new ground in the comic book field and helped to bring what could now be a dying medium to the masses. But just because the comic book field could see a decline in the relatively near future does not take away from what the art is.
Have we already seen the names and the work of the next big artistic thing–perhaps. My bet is that a name like Banksy will be remembered for centuries and centuries for his influence on street art, even if his real name is not.