Technology and the End of Trend

The most significant cultural development of the first decade of the 21st century was…iTunes. Or the Kindle. Or YouTube. Or blogging. Or Amazon’s (AMZN) customer reviews. Take your pick–but whatever you choose, don’t make it a work of creative art.

Yes, important art continued to be created in the new millennium, but the big culture-related news of the Decade Without a Name is that it will likely be remembered less for its art than for the inventions that put the art into circulation.

Every journalist who covers the world of art and culture is a trend-monger, always looking for the Next Big Thing like a pig snuffling for truffles. But never before has it been so difficult to point to any sharply defined stylistic tendencies in Western culture.

In the past, the history of art was an unending parade of -isms: Classicism, Romanticism, Modernism, Minimalism. When I was growing up in the ’60s, pop art and rock music were all the rage. When I was going to college in the ’70s, films like “M*A*S*H” and “Chinatown” were changing the cultural game. Every generation had its hot artists and styles, and everyone agreed on who and what was hot. No more.

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