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Is Art Still a Vehicle for Progress?

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Jeff Koons started to produce his inflatable objects as a critique of American consumerism in the 1970s. Consumerism continues to flourish in the US today, as it does in all Western capitalist countries, but with one of Koons’ inflatables recently selling for $91million (the most expensive work by a living artist ever to be sold at auction), has the artist’s work become a symptom of the very order he meant to critique?Artists are a sort of ’cultural filter’. They absorb all the inputs provided by socio-political circumstances, literature, philosophy, indeed everything that connotes their particular era. Then they elaborate all these concepts, ideas and values, and express them through their highly individual aesthetic. Ultimately, the final outcome is the production of significant objects which add value to society, contributing to our understanding of culture as it is, and helping to shape whatever comes next.One question we can ask ourselves is this: what do the artworks produced ove...

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