I have been having a discussion on various fronts in the last few days about artists older work compared to their new work.
Immediately on this topic I think of Jackson Pollock when he changed direction away from drip paintings. As he had a huge reputation , the new art was still in demand from collectors, what they really wanted and what the critics seemed more comfortable with, was the “splattered” ones. Artists (I am told) mostly hate their new work not being as favoured as the old – is that what happened to Pollock?.
Jackson Pollock. Easter and the Totem (1953)
So, an artist you can keep churning out what people expect or demand (and if you are lucky will pay the big $$ for) but at a guess I would say that would not be ultimately satisfying. To me, art is a constant exploration and evolution, and I would expect change and experimentation from artists. I have heard comments about artists “going off” or “losing their way” and I wonder – are these failed experiments or unfamiliar avenues being explored? Or are we just not so comfortable with change.
Another thing occurred to me. I have a penchant for 1970s art and have little idea why. When I see visual art from this period I am more often than not taken with it, later work takes more figuring out. As Peter Peryer said when he talked through the photographs at his Studio Show – “there is something going on in this picture” (an example here). In 1970s work I usually think I know what’s going on, with newer art I often have to work harder at it.
During these debates someoneiknow quoted this to me (from Nirvana):
Teenage angst has paid off well
Now Im bored and old
Self-appointed judges judge
More than they have sold
Even though I am a bit of cynic, I hope that isn’t true in regard to art, especially as I could be considered a “self appointment judge“.