Without a doubt, it's one of the dumbest things ever.
For some reason, the art world and maybe the entire world seem to be preoccupied with finding ...
"The Next Great Artist!"
First of all, if you buy into this, you're leaving yourself open to so many questions: Where is the next great artist coming from? Will the next great artist be male or female? White? Black? Hispanic? Asian? Will the next great artist actually be a painter? How about a photographer? Maybe a sculptor? Perhaps a video artist? Why not a computer code writer?
Does anyone really know? That's precisely the point. No one knows. Okay, I admit it. That's also the fun part of it all. NO ONE KNOWS ... Unless they have a crystal ball. Do you?
So many people want to be able to say they knew, "The Next Great Artist," WAY back in the early days. It's sort of how the world jockeys for social status and political position. If you can't be a star, why not be a ... "Starmaker"?
The big problem with the term is that it diminishes not only the art world, but the entire world. Are you really serious when you say you're waiting for, "The Next Great Artist"? To me, this term seems like such a slap in the face to all of the totally gifted artists who are working right now.
Here's the thing. I know SO many artists who not only FIT the bill, but they ARE "The Next Great Artist." This is total proof that the art world and the world are really wacky, unbalanced, seemingly upside down places.
Guess what? "The Next Great Artist" is living, breathing, working and living among us. I know literally HUNDREDS of them. The world simply does not understand this. That's the tragedy.
We're literally sitting around and waiting for some exquisite creature to emerge from the foggy, backlit, studio-womb and grace us with fairy tale-like creations that lull us into a state of inexplicable rapture. Really?
Can we all just WAKE UP and smell the bacon frying in the skillet downstairs on the kitchen stove? The Next Great Artist arrived LONG ago. The fact that we don't know this proves that we need arts education reinstated in all of our schools. It's such a shame.
I know, I know. When we talk about "The Next Great Artist," we're really referring to, "The Greatest of Them All." Bullcrap.
You simply cannot turn contemporary art into the Super Bowl. There is no ONE greatest artist of them all. Not Rembrandt, not Picasso and not Caravaggio. I love all of those artists, but the truth remains; art is subjective. You simply cannot get everyone to agree on who "The Next Great Artist" is anyway. The whole term is a figment of our hyper-competitive world that remains determined to turn absolutely everything into a horse race. It's ridiculous.
Here's my suggestion. I think that every gifted artist working today should secretly consider himself/herself the world's next great artist. But remember, don't share that with anyone. Given the nature of the world, I'm not sure they even deserve to know anyway.
I'm sorry ... Did you say you already KNOW the world's "Next Great Artist"?
Sssshhhhh! Quiet! It'll be our little secret.