Can you pick 100 works of art that define our time?by Sebastian Smee / November 14, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
Matthew Barney, Cremaster 4, 1994
How many full-throttle, age-defining artistic masterpieces made between, say, 1700 and 1730 can you name? Not too many? The period produced no shortage of art. And yet, compared with our own era, which has witnessed—and is still witnessing—a deluge of artistic production, the early 18th century was arid.
What, then, from our own era, will be remembered as the art that defined our age? Will the explosion in production be reflected in a boom in epochal works? Or will it all pass through a sieve so coarse that only one nugget remains? And if so, which one? Will it be (my vote) Christian Marclay’s The Clock? Or Jeff Koons’s Puppy? Will it be a monumental steel sculpture by Richard Serra? Or a photograph of a man in a suit holding up a sign that says “I’m desperate” by Gillian Wearing?