Dalrymple on the lack of truth and beauty in modern art via his new essay for the New English Review:
In no field is Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about the Emperor’s new clothes more salient than contemporary art; or, to put it another way, in no commercial field are there so many Bernie Madoffs.
The successful modern artist’s subject is himself, not in any genuinely self-examining way that would tell us something about the human condition, but as an ego to distinguish himself from other egos, as distinctly and noisily as he can. Like Oscar Wilde at the New York customs, he has nothing to declare but his genius: which, if he is lucky, will lead to fame and fortune. Of all the artistic disciplines nowadays, self-advertisement is by far the most important.