It doesn't seem that art or the artists producing it is near as popular as they used to be. I mean we have famous artists these days that few have heard of but no superstar artists like there used to be. Look back to the 50's when Picasso, Pollock, de Kooning, and many others were the famous artist, just as big as the movie stars of the time. They appeared in Life Magazine and the front page of the newspapers, were mentioned on the evening news. I even saw a clip of Salvador Dali on a game show.
It was a time when almost everybody heard of these people. Look at today's most well known artists.
The top living artists as of June 8th 2009
Bruce Nauman, Lucian Freud, Richard Serra, David Hockney, Cy Twombly, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Tracy Emin, and Damien Hirst
Unfortunately Lucian Freud died since this list was compiled. I bet if you ask the average non-artist who any of these people are they wouldn't have any idea yet 50 or 60 years ago most people would probably know who the top three were of that time. Try it. Ask random people who Jasper Johns is.
You hear even less about pieces of art than you do about the artist themselves. The only times you seem to hear about a painting by people that aren't into art is when someone does a highly controversial piece. I like a good controversial work of art but not when it's done just for the sake of getting attention. It should say something more than just "look at me". Where are today's Guernicas, the Screams, and Starry Nights?
With the internet you would think that art would be even more popular but it's not. Is the information super highway helping art, distracting from it, or not having any effect at all? I'm able to connect with other artists all over the world that I wouldn't have been able to many years ago but does the average person not think about art as much? It seems that way.
Maybe I'm wrong about this. I live in a small town and cultural dead zone. Let me know if I'm wrong.