Here's a really fascinating interview of the art theorist Nicolas Bourriaud from three years ago. In it, he talks about the same fragmentation that I'm suggesting is currently occurring in art, between artists who derive their imagery and signs from art, and those who derive their images from the cultures they come into contact with. He uses two analogies that I Think are particularly interesting: first, that of the 21st century role of the artist as a 'DJ,' endlessly borrowing, cutting and remixing information. Second, he terms the current language of the artist that has left postmodernism 'argot,' which means like a secret code or language, known only to those in a group. I think he's spot on with this. We differ in approach where takes his investigation of groups towards more national, racial or political subjects, whereas I concentrate more on fan groups. This is a good thing; I'd rather write about what I know, and be glad that others are examining what they're familiar with.
A post from Tom Moody's blog in 2007 that has had me thinking all week. I think examining this sort of approach is very important to my personal kind of art. Mr. Moody's main argument against this approach seems to be that new media art produced this way tends to not embrace the incidentals of it's medium, and also doesn't put its money where its mouth is, trying to 'save the world' rather than allowing for multiple interpretations. I'd extend the concept a bit further, to what I've been calling 'book report paintings.' These are art projects (not just paintings) that pose as fine art, but are really just examinations of statistics or anthropological discoveries, revealed to viewers in a method more visceral than a pie chart or graph.