Who Set Artistic Styles and Tastes in Art Today?

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Authorities and institutions which set artistic styles and tastes in art today

During the Renaissance, a work of art deemed worthy of recognition was already invariably endorsed by the French Royal Academy (01). Today, that has ceased to be. An appropriate question would be “Who calls the shots now”?

Quite candidly, that’s going to be a tough nut to crack. Even if we were able to find the right answers, we would be raising another question simultaneously – “how relevant is that opinion anyway”? However, let’s start getting some answers.

One easy way to adjudge art’s relevance today would be the price tag. This isn’t a unanimous decision but it is one position to take. How about the collectors? In the nineties, Charles Saatchi (02) just had to take a second glance at a piece and that was it – blown.

Going forward, one realizes there’s a lot to consider. There are teachers, dealers, critics, the media, the public, and even artists themselves. There’s also that question of how historically relevant art is or simply how pleasing it is to the eye. But then, beauty is always a touchy subject in art. After all, beauty, they say, lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Patrons of Art in the Renaissance Period

A new set of emerging heroes for art validation

Now, here’s something interesting. In the past century, art validation has had a new set of emerging heroes. They are the ones that decide what goes into the art galleries and what doesn’t – the curators. British art would be an excellent case study for this. It’s even more exciting when one discovers that these big-shot British curators are women and there’s a whole list of them (03).

Rosemary Harris was the first-ever curator of NatWest’s huge collection of 1,500 mainly post-war British artworks. Her display of some 50 choices caused quite a stir at the Lothbury’s gallery show in 1997.

The then curator of the British Council’s Window Gallery in Prague, Andre Cooke commissioned and gave the first showing of Gillian Wearing’s love-hate video (Sasha and Mum) that bagged the ‘97 Turner prize (04) alongside her posed policemen. Other curators worthy of mention include Esther Windsor, Peta Levi, Gill Hedley, Bridget Brown, and Janice Blackburn.

Perhaps, all we need is a validation of a convincing number of the right people in these authorities for standards.

References used to write this article: Who Set Artistic Styles and Tastes in Art Today?
  1. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020. Academy Of Art Retrieved 15 October 2020
  2. The Influence Of Charles Saatchi And His Gallery On British Art|Widewalls Retrieved 15 October 2020
  3. The Independent . 2020. Art: The Taste Dictators Retrieved 15 October 2020 from
  4. Tate. 2020. Turner Prize 1997 Artists: Gillian Wearing| Tate. Retrieved 15 October 2020
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