In select cases, that may be true. But it is a pretty short-term solution. (That is, other than as a form of entertainment for those on the inside who’ll continue to get a laugh.) Catering conversation to what’s popular among the masses and then making fun of them for wanting to talk about, read, or see it, probably isn’t going to make them want to come back for more—you know, masochists aside. So, if widening the public touched by contemporary art is at all on the art world’s list of goals (it certainly should be on the art market’s list, given its current state), fostering this kind of culture built on attacks and skirted substance won’t get us there.
Ultimately, snarky rhetoric and aesthetic critique breeds the very kind of non-committal, unengaged art, art dealing, art buying, and art flipping it most salivates to take aim at. (Pretty convenient, you might say.) And it does a disservice to the very people most of us got into this field to support in the first place: the artists who are making engaged, interesting work that on some level is changing the world or at least commenting on and critiquing the macro-level issues and actors that definitely are, events last year like Charlie Hebdo, ISIS’s rise, Black Lives Matter, income inequality, labor relations, and marriage equality among them. Those artists have done so with an increasingly accessible brand of conceptual art that can speak to those outside of the highly codified inner art world milieu. But conversations of depth about that work—and the much wider field of art of substance, whether conceptual or otherwise—have failed to grow apace.