Intellectual historians want to look at the past to find questions of value. Greeks are considered the start of political philosophy. Plato, 428-348 BCE, is the most famous. Plato’s teacher, Socrates, was killed by Athenian democracy.
We have such a bias against commercial art in our culture that Cantor tries to show that some of the great art of the past grew out of commercial activity. Cantor had never played a video game, so he had to work through those. He sees that this is where things are going.
The motion picture is purely commercial art. Lack of taste can earn a producer a fortune. This is the perfect intersection of commerce and culture. Most movies are bad, but many are very good. The movie form is so recent, that its history is right there to see. It was just a novelty item at first.
Television is not better because you don’t want it to be. The relation of government and television and movies are certainly not free markets, just relatively free markets. TV has always been in a regulated environment. TV is licensed by the federal government.
Modernism was a reaction to mass culture and totalitarianism government support. Are artists better off being shielded from markets and commercial pressures? There are pluses and minuses to commercial systems.
Art can flourish under any conditions. Many falsely imagine that commercialization is always a bad thing, but the commercial system has produced great art, too. Totalitarianism and modernism is the last thing anyone wants to say anything good about.
Dickens’ work reflects popular culture as a feedback mechanism. He saluted middle class virtues. He praised capitalism. He had high regard for free enterprise. Dickens was the greatest novelist in English. Dickens died a very wealthy man.
There was a conflict between patronage and the market in music, as reflected in the book, Quarter Notes and Banknotes. The classical music tradition is traced back to Paris. The Court of Burgundy in the 14 th and 15 th Century begins to get interesting.
A priceless Klimt painting turned out at auction to have a price - $135 million. Scholarship on painting is sympathetic to markets, unlike scholarship on music. Picasso was even called an entrepreneur. Picasso was quite wealthy early in his career and died a billionaire. Not every artist starves.
This is a great example of commercial art and a great commercial artist – Shakespeare. Nobody does like competition, but competition, like Marlowe and Johnson, is healthy for culture. Shakespeare had to approach entrepreneurial backers in London who had surplus wealth to invest in a capital project...