Robert Hughes is an art critic who has been around long enough to see the drastic changes in the art world. He has seen art go from something to appreciate and to mean to a popularized lucrative business. According to Hughes, this change began around the time the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, made it's way around the United States. In the film "The Mona Lisa Curse," talks with his friend Robert Rauschenberg, art collectors, and museum curators about the state of the art world today.
There were two comments in "The Mona Lisa Curse" that particularly stuck out to me. One of Hughes' issues with the world of art is how little money the artists are making and how much collectors are reselling the artwork for. "We support this artist by promoting them by buying them at auction, by buying them privately." This truly perplexed me because though you are helping the artist make a name for him/herself by putting a high price tag on their work and therefore their name; you are not doing much for them. The artist most likely got a fraction of the amount for which the work was resold and uncertainty of whether or not their work would ever see the light of day. This is like a bar owner booking a band, but telling them that they aren't going to be paid because the exposure received is payment enough. The second comment that stood out to me was by one of the curators of the Metropolitan Museum Tom Hoving. He compared museums to movie theaters asking why one should be more profitable than the other. Both are venues used for the display peoples works. Hoving began using business and marketing tactic and made the way museums run today.
As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because Robert Hughes cannot find meaning and appreciation for some pieces of art does not mean they are not art. A professor of mine once asked my class to define the word "music.