Check out this story on the Bloomberg news service, it's as true today as it was 36 years ago when I first went to work at a Wall Street firm in Houston or in 1900 when J.P. Morgan only hired attractive young men to work for his Wall Street firm.
It makes me think that there is something similar going on the Art World. Maybe it's not based on whether you shine your shoes but there is a similarity in whether your work is considered to be what the Art World wants to see.
I don't want to sound like a bitter old man and maybe I've been spending too much time with my bitter old friends but there is something about what gets looked at by the "taste makers" that seems to bear some resemblance.
Last night in a meeting with Photo types (read that as members of the Committe for the Recognition of Art Photography ) I made the comment that I thought Sally Mann's latest work was dreadful. I'm not impressed by photographs that intend to shock like her pictures of rotting bodies. Sure we know that they exist and that there is something about seeing them in all their horror and gore that we can't not look at, but so what.
Compared to the beautiful pictures of her children growing up this work is nothing more than shock value. I know she had to endure the stench and probably keep the vermin away from her camera but it's not what I want to look at hanging on my wall when I finally get home after a long day. I'd bet that most other people don't want to look at that kind of subject matter either.
So what's the deal?
I think one of the things we learn form this is just how few really good, interesting and beautiful photographs are being made today. More power to Sally, if she can get away with selling this as some great body of work, wonderful.
But not for me...