Before we entirely despair over the sorry state of the Art scene today, despite so many terrible examples, it would behoove us to recall that the very idea of the Artist who exists for Art is a rather recent product of the Romantic age. It is indeed the very idea that all subsequent art movements sought to deride, negate, abolish.
The fact is, however, that even when the idea of art as separate from craft was being developed by certain prestige–hungry collectors, the artists themselves were very much in it for the money. Only the Romantics capitalized the “A” in Art and decided that the Artists should live for Art, reside in garrets and rise above mundane considerations. The fact that art now returns to being a naked money-making proposition is merely reversion to the mean. The poor quality of work produced and cynicism of fleecing tasteless buyers are quite another matter.