CULTURE & ARTS
11/18/2014 12:19 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2014

When Did the Art World Get So Conservative?

First and foremost, the art world is a place that says it wants people to be free. This extraordinary openness is what gives art its ever-changing adaptable agency. Or gave.
Flexibility is life, but lately I keep thinking that the art world has gotten a lot less flexible, and the freedom that I've always thought of as completely foundational — freedom to let our freak flags fly and express ourselves, even bizarrely — has constricted considerably. And it’s happening at such mutated and extreme rates that we must ask if the art world is not now one of the more self-policing areas of contemporary culture. How did we come to live in an insular tribal sphere where unwritten rules and rigid moralities — about whom to like and dislike, what is permissible to say and what must remain unsaid — are strictly enforced via social media and online disapproval, much of it anonymous? When did this band of gypsies and relentless radicals get so conservative?

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