Does Talent Matter?

What is talent? Is it skill? Is it theory? Is it marketing? Hmm…how do the powers that be choose what is, and isn’t worthy?


Ledger 1982 by Robert Ryman born 1930

ABOVE: Robert Ryman, Ledger, 1982, enamelac paint on fibreglass & aluminium and wood, 30 x 28 x 1.4 inches, Tate Britain, Photo: © Tate, London [2014]


“I’m not limited by a certain narrative that I want to get across. There’s no symbolism or story that I need to tell or some kind of political project that I might want to do.” Robert Ryman

“I’m not physically involved in the production. I don’t have the necessary abilities, so I go to the top people.” Jeff Koons

“The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.” Damien Hirst


Does talent matter at the top of the art world? If so, how is it quantified?

To many, talent refers to technical skill, but:

You don’t need to know how to draw, paint, or sculpt to be successful.

To others, talent refers to ideas, but:

You need a fancy degree (lots of $’s) in order to be taken seriously.

Hmm. How do the powers that be choose the art stars of tomorrow?