Not so long ago the British painter Leon Kossoff held an exhibition at the National Gallery. His drawings after the Old Masters got almost no press attention that I can recall – yet Kossoff is a veteran artist with great achievements to his name. He has painted the life of London's East End with a sombre honesty and compassion. Artists such as Kossoff, or Frank Auerbach, or Paula Rego are a lot less fashionable today than artists who do things with gold bricks…
Art is fun, it's a laugh, it's entertainment, it's spectacular, it's cool ... art now aspires to be all the things fashion is. And so it cannot accomodate the awkwardness of a Kossoff: cannot be a bone in anyone's throat. Its success is totally bound up with the same fiction that anything is possible that has inspired banks to lead us all into a looking-glass world.
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