That’s a question posed by William Deresiewicz in his book, The Death of the Artist. He recently contributed an excerpt from the book to MIT’s Technology Review. There’s a link below but if you are not a subscriber, you will not be able to read the whole piece. Deresiewicz makes a very good case that art may no longer be sustainable in a world that, thanks to the Internet and all its myriad platforms, now makes art available for free or for next to nothing.
Take music for example. We all recall the major problems that arose with totally unregulated and unmonitored file sharing. Musicians and song writers were making art that people wanted but they wanted it for free. Now, those same artists are getting royalties from Pandora and the like but for 95% or more of them, it’s nowhere near enough to provide an even halfway decent income.
And visual art? It’s everywhere. Artists are finding audiences but no money. Stock photography royalties are a joke. And everything from logos to illustrations is being expropriated without payment or even credit given to the creators.
Deresiewicz makes the point that art has been demonetized. Art is becoming unsustainable, especially for newcomers and those who are trying new ways of seeing and sounding. Extrapolating from his excerpt, it seems reasonable for me to say that art may be stagnating, leaving us with a situation where an ever-decreasing number of sources are being followed and so many artists are abandoning their muse.
And the question arises, what happens to culture as art fades away?
Here’s that article link: