…I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach — a feeling that America just isn’t rising to the greatest economic challenge in 70 years. The best may not lack all conviction, but they seem alarmingly willing to settle for half-measures. And the worst are, as ever, full of passionate intensity, oblivious to the grotesque failure of their doctrine in practice. Paul Krugman NY TImes Editorial
Look, I value the constructive criticism and healthy debate that is a foundation of American democracy. I don’t think any of us have cornered the market on wisdom, or that good ideas are the province of any party. The American people know that our challenges are great. They’re not expecting Democratic solutions or Republican solutions – they want American solutions. And I have said that to those who have criticized the plan.
But what I have also said is – don’t come to table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped create this crisis.
We’re not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that in eight short years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin. We can’t embrace the losing formula that offers more tax cuts as the only answer to every problem we face, while ignoring critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil, the soaring cost of health care, failing schools and crumbling bridges, roads and levees. I don’t care whether you’re driving a hybrid or an SUV – if you’re headed for a cliff, you have to change direction. President Barak Obama
The contemporary art market, with its abiding reputation for foggy deals and puffy values, is a vulnerable organism, traditionally hit early and hard by economic malaise. That’s what’s happening now. Sales are vaporizing. Careers are leaking air. Chelsea rents are due. The boom that was is no more. Holland Cotter The Boom is Over Long Live the Art
Right now, what’s going to work is something their customer doesn’t have in her closet and that has a real intrinsic sense of value. …Because to be honest there’s been too much product, too much copy-catting, and, probably too much consumerism. I think a sense of clarity, a sense leveling off and a sense of reality is needed. Anna Wintour
These quotes from players in the economic, political and cultural worlds let us know that something big is happening. Many of us are beginning to realize that the times are definitely a-changin’. Doesn’t matter what part of culture you reside in these days its all about coming up with something to fix the mess. I guess we are heralding in the era of the big idea. Unfortunately in our Art World there hasn’t been an idea, a really new idea, in decades. At least not one that changed anything about art, and the thought that a big idea is needed is starting to scare the pants off of those without a clue. Change can be a scary mother, man. Let’s face it – after we accepted the security of a corporatized art world we signed away any rights for real change. In order to fit in to the economic mix our art market became very adept at appearing to be legit to the equestrian investor classes. “Art as an investment” has been the mantra for so long that we actually began to believe our own hype. Christ, there are still art blogs and web sites offering feel good lessons on how to market your work, what your slide portfolio, web sight, business card and go-to-meetin’ attire should look like. These business hucksters are even advising artists on how to ingratiate themselves to the powers that be. But that sort of Barnes and Noble “self-help” crap just doesn’t cut it anymore. You won’t find any ideas coming out of a consultant’s mouth, least of all, an idea that might challenge the entrenched. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is stable at the moment and all those fixed ideas about markets, careers and “success” are all in flux. The so-called power brokers don’t have much power any longer, if they ever did. In fact they only had the power we gave them. In any case, the old ways, the actions that brought us to this moment just won’t cut it any longer – “don’t come to table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped create this crisis” indeed!
But sometimes you just gotta love a POMO. Leave it to Anna Wintour to nail down this particular moment with this simple and devastating phrase – “I don’t think anyone is going to want to look overly flashy, overly glitzy, too Dubai, whatever you want to call it.” At least not in the institutional old ways – we will make our own flash!