Is Modern Art a help or a hindrance of true artistic skill and ability?

A student of mine recently handed me a newspaper clipping from a daily national. The article was entitled: ‘At last, the real shark is exposed.’ It was all about artist Damien Hurst and how his work is starting to lose value. The writer of the article comments that Hurst is talentless and that in decades to come people will look at work such as his and wonder why in the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st Century, rubbish such as this was displayed as art. The article also went on to say how they felt that the Turner prize, named after one of the most influential and innovative British artists in our history, is constantly being given to “exhibits that are at best pathetic”.

This got me thinking, and so here are my questions to you: what is art? Does it matter what we as individuals think of a piece of art as long as the one that purchased it is happy? Is the art world losing its credibility by allowing things that have never been classed as ‘art’ into their galleries? Ponder over these.

Throughout recent history, we have seen many different styles and movements in the art world, that maybe aren’t my cup of tea, but does that mean that they aren’t ‘art’? It would be foolish of me to think that I am the authority of what art is, I can only say what my personal taste is and it would be unfair to label other artist’s work as ‘rubbish’. We have seen Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract, Fauvism, Installation Art, Dadaism, Bauhaus, Abstract Impressionism to name but a few of over one hundred different art styles and movements in the world since 1860 alone.

What all of these do is make us think. Regardless of whether we like some, all or none of them, we have an opinion on them, we talk about them. It is our choice what art we buy. As long as we appreciate or buy it because we like it and not because we think we are supposed to like it because ‘the artworld’ says we must then it paves the way for artists to stay creative and further their individuality.