In our age, identity has become something of an obsession. Andy Warhol predicted the perennial pursuit of one’s “15 minutes of fame”, and celebrity status represents the ultimate destination of success. The art world has been far from exempt from this trend: the persona of a well-known artist is often as carefully crafted as his artwork. The cult of personality can reap considerable profits, as the latest record-breaking artworks of Klimt, Picasso, and Pollock will attest to. The elusive nature of creative genius garners a level of worship that makes today’s museum as sacred a place as yesterday’s cathedral.
One of the most exciting tendencies of art is its ability to constantly upend itself. Styles are meant to be challenged, theories debunked, rules broken. In the end, the role of art is to make us see things differently, and just when we think we have done, shake up our world again.
Just as we read about the latest most expensive painting being sold, or the hottest young art star hitting the scene, a quiet countermovement is taking place. The cult of personality is making way for the quest for anonymity. Art collectives shun what they see as outdated values such as egoism, fame, and recognition. Avoiding limiting designations such as roles or credits, collectives bring the focus back to the work itself, art for art’s sake.
An artist-portrait by CastYourArt. | castyourart.com