There is an opinion piece by Denis Dutton in the New York Times today on Conceptual Art, which presents some views that I am very sympathetic to. All creative endeavours involve some inspiration and perspiration – There is the idea and then there is the execution of that idea. Conceptual art essentially removes the execution aspect of art and makes it a pure exercise in cleverness. In some sense it does crystallize the essence of art but I’ve always found it lacking. I just can’t get that inspired by a medicine cabinet. I’ve always found that the craft of a work of art to be as compelling (if not more) as the idea itself. In many cases the two are inseparable. Dutton argues that the craft aspect of art will never disappear because people intrinsically enjoy witnessing virtuosity. I’m inclined to agree. So while Vermeer or Caravaggio will remain timeless Damien Hirst may just fade away in time.
Corrected the spelling of Damien Hirst’s name on May 15,2012