Creativity has been on my mind today. Jerry Saltz is disappointed in the emergence of the safe cliché, “new-mannerism”. Historically, was a response to overly harmonious composition and Platonic ideals. It seems like street art, in particular, has been riffing on mash-ups like music. When does a mash-up qualify as “neo-mannerism”-esque? Is it in its fussiness of application – as a way of “elevating” it from street / craft fair to gallery?

He asks:

“If art comes from everywhere and everyone thinks differently, why does so much of what we see these days look the same?”

My first reaction is that perhaps these artists want a sense of belonging: the non-conformists start a cool scene and others who want to belong soon appropriate the appropriate uniform and artistic stylings and processes.  Before long, the scene becomes an echo chamber and a parody of itself.  Then again, perhaps the only way to have a viable artistic career is to align one’s “personal brand” with proven early successors. Isn’t this always how gallery art has been? To participate, one must describe one’s vision in terms of an artistic lineage.