« Tragedy: Wheel inside a Wheel | Main | Our Daily Bird 66: What the Duck? »

Who Is Arcade Fire??!!?

From Who Is Arcade Fire??!!?

In her upcoming book, Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything, our very own FS Michaels discusses how economic thought has infiltrated the world of art. She quotes Stephen Weil, a leading commentator on museums:

If a million people a month would pay three dollars to see, for example, a Matisse exhibition, we would not need financial support. And if we deliberately set out to find out what a million people a month would pay three dollars to see, then we would not be museums anymore – we would be Disneyland.

Michaels points out that in a world where artists are seen as entrepreneurs, art is no longer about offering challenge or critique, but regurgitating what people want to see or hear. After all, as the eternal maxim of business states, the customer is always right. And after years of this being trumpeted as truth, the public has come to believe it and to dare to challenge their taste is to invite revolt.

Case in point is the the backlash against Arcade Fire's recent Grammy Award for Best Album. Who Is Arcade Fire??!!? has collected some of the hyperbolic vitriol directed at the judges for daring to momentarily consider something other than popularity as the chief mark of artistic validity. While I freely admit to being amused by Unhappy Hipsters, and not connecting with a fair number of the albums on Pitchfork's Top 50 albums of 2010, I find myself both chuckling and taken aback at this strange mix of claimed populism, anti-hipsterism, and disbelief that anything could be good without mass market validation. It's an entertaining and troubling glimpse into some modern attitudes about art, and how personally some people take it when they are denied affirmation of their taste in consumption. Apparently there are plenty who prefer mouse-ears over Matisse.


From KR Wolfe: FS Michaels is one of our very own Hedgies. If you'd like to get first dibs on the upcoming Monoculture website, conversations, and book, you can leave a "Let me know" in the comments and we'll notify you when she flips the "On!" switch. It's a really good book.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

let me know! yeah FS Michaels!

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterheather

Let me know too! :)

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersinisterdaisy

i'm in - let me know

March 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdann
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.