“Without ancestor-worship, meaning is in short supply — “meaning” here meaning agreed-upon and instituted forms of value and understanding, implicit orders, stories and images in which a culture crystallizes its sense of the struggle with the realm of necessity and the reality of pain and death.”
T. J. Clark, Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (New Haven and London: Yale University Press), 1999, p. 7.
Mr. Clark may be answering a question I raised in the paper I presented at The Representational Art Conference in November: can artists create new myths? Or do they respond to the culture around them? It seems there are few agreed upon systems of belief today. I look forward to further reading in this massive book of essays to explore whether modernity is the cause–or the reflection of this state of affairs.