How does materialism effect art?

Lady Gaga replicates Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David
Lady Gaga replicates The  Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David

In reference to my previous post on materialism in the 21st century. I have a follow-up question. What about art?

I consider myself to be a spiritual artist, which is becoming more and more of an oxymoron it seems.  From its inception, art was a highly spiritualized tool. Cave paintings were used to show the intricate relationship between man, nature and the heavens. Greek and Roman art from antiquity dealt mostly with reverence to their gods.  And more recently artists like Caspar David Friedrich used art as means of expressing their experience of the divine. (For Friedrich, it was through nature that man experienced divine, and this formed the main pillar of his works. FYI He undoubtedly is one of my favorite painters.) Friedrich is just an example, there are countless more artists  that communicate the experience of the divine through their work. But it seems to be happening less and less. In the world of contemporary art, spirituality seems to have very little relevance.

Yes, there are definite socio-political factors at play. Throughout  history much of art patronage came from religious institutions, today the system of patronage his shifted if not transformed completely. Art is a commodity, there is no problem with that. Before artists were bound by the constraints of religion, today they are bound by the restrains of a market society. But I believe it is important to continue questioning the purpose of art, especially considering the potential art has to transform culture rather than simply be the by-product of it.

Perhaps I just recommend a brief moment pause to ask; ‘how does spirituality fit in to this increasingly material obsessed culture?’ Are we still striving for truth? Is there room for spirituality in contemporary art? Is its relative absence due to socio-economics, wherein artists are simply suppliers meeting a demand in a capital market? Or have the artists themselves lost touch with spirituality?

Abbey in the Oak Forest - Caspar David Friedrich


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