This mythology of the lone genius, isolated from society, and relieved of social responsibility, is summed up for me in these comments by the painter Georg Baselitz: “The artist is not responsible to anyone. His social role is asocial; his only responsibility consists in an attitude to the work he does. There is no communication with any public whatsoever… It is the end product which counts, in my case, the picture.”

Recently, when he was asked on the occasion of his Guggenheim retrospective what role he believes art plays in society, Baselitz replied, “The same role as a good shoe, nothing more.” And he has stated elsewhere: “The idea of changing or improving the world is alien to me and seems ludicrous. Society functions, and always has, without the artist. No artist has ever changed anything for better or worse.”

The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art an article by Suzi Gablik