Artists have to please much the same perverts that high-class whores do. And like whores, artists, too, have to pretend that they are self-motivated, that they put out because they enjoy it.
But what are the perverts after?
Some tangible, consumable sign of their alterity, some token that enables the rich to straddle both sides of the law: to be at one and the same time comfortably and smugly ensconced in the establishment and posing as its subverters.
The remarkable thing is that this collusion between pervert artists and pervert patrons can still somehow generate satisfaction despite the transparency of the collusion. For this, I think, we have to thank the abiding myth of the avant-garde. Officially, the avant-garde ceased to exist, oh, around 1960. But in reality the myth simply mutated. The cult of the modernist avant-garde mutated into the cult of postmodernist hipsterdom, which fulfills an identical function but without the utopian trappings of the former and, for that reason, with greater efficiency.
The figure of the hipster embodies the pervert fantasy reduced (or refined) to its essentials: conformist nonconformity, the covert acknowledgment of the law and its simultaneous disavowal. The pervert gets off by abusing/disabusing an imaginary innocence in which he is, perhaps, more invested than anybody else. Since this process can go on forever, we must assume that art too can go on forever despite its perennial promise to abolish itself by becoming indistinguishable from “life.”