It’s all to play for, as far as the history of art in our times goes. An era of cultural as well as economic excess is drawing to a close. The principles that inspired artistic production are soon likely to follow into the dustbin of history those principles by which our economies were run, carrying with them the reputations of some of the most successful artists of our times. Out will go the idea that near identical conceptual works of art can be mass produced by factory-studios until demand is exhausted; out will go the idea that high production values—shininess, the quality of fabrication—are enough to define the art of our time; out will go the idea that art can criticise greed and stupidity by imitating it. Modernism, it seems, has finally succumbed to the decadent super-sized clichés of some conceptual artists. It’s at moments like these that new directions in art emerge, and overlooked artists from the recent past are re-appraised; and I have recently spotted what seem to be a few green shoots of artistic recovery. Last year at the Haunch of Venison gallery, I came across an extraordinary kinetic sculpture by the British artist Mat Collishaw as part of his solo show “Shooting Stars.”
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