“We live in a time when all of the ‘isms’ are now ‘wasms’ except for one: Capitalism.”
“In the 1980s, Capitalism conquered communism. In the 1990s, Capitalism conquered democracy. In this new millennium, having nothing left to conquer, Capitalism settled into a perpetual process of self-consumption.”
If you don’t have an art theory today, then your art theory is probably Commercialism. You may not intend for this to be the case, and this is not the same as me saying that you are crassly “commercial.” We are living, though, in an era of truly unprecedented conceptual homogeneity. Every last thing you can say or think or feel or do has been thoroughly colonized by the idea of money. Even those who rail against money are adopting an heretical stance toward what they tacitly acknowledge to be the dominant God. The Catholic church at its height would have wept had it had the chance to convert a tenth as many people as now believe most fervently in money. The key tenet of Commercialism as an artistic school is that artistic merit is financial — art is great if it costs a lot. The more it costs, the better it is. The contemporary masters of this school (Hirst, Koons, etc.) are candidly open about this fact.
As forceful as the paragraph above sounds, I’m not saying that Commercialism is bad. As a consumer of art (see how subtly the vocabulary of the School creeps in?), I’m intrigued by Commercialism — by its internal logic and by its ability to subsume and subtly undermine all other theories of art. I acknowledge its power and recognize its masters.