Why don't people talk about art the way they talk about movies? Movies take pains so that the viewer's identification with the loin-warming bodies floating in the dark will not be interrupted, great measures so that vision will never be diverted by the dust glimmering in the beam, or the out-of-focus rows of last-year's goods shelved in the scene. Movies are designed, in form, to be taken in by crowds of people, and to take in each individual for the duration. A formula has been created: innumerable copies are easily consumed from beginning to middle to end. The formula is the result of the capital investment that makes any such movie possible. The producer asks of each image, "I insist you consider the return on my investment."
The question suggests that there is a difference between images in the movies and images that do not or cannot depend on worldwide distribution. By art the question means the older arts? Curiously though, it was around the inception of film that surfaces of art started defining themselves through such resistances to the eye most intensely. Art started to incorporate the principles of film montage and commercial imaging, and the picture-plane eventually became visible only as an aggregate of several different surfaces, virtual and actual; debris foreign to paint intruded, along with the ongoing scatter of words. An early Louis Aragon collage is exemplary in this regard: Harold Lloyd's head stands wrenched out of the celluloid and is embedded in lines of poetry that can no longer be read in serialized order. In the same year Aragon was not only looking too closely at a film's protagonist, but also past him, into the background. He wrote an essay inspired by this kind of looking, in which he implored, "I insist you study the décor in a Chaplin film."
As if to respond to the chronometric procession of the movies, each with its star that pulls irresistibly at the viewer's gaze, and its fashions that are capital become image, art began showing culture what was already being forced to the margins of the visible as irrelevant and outmoded. Among the contributing factors leading to art not being talked about as widely as the movies, art's continuance as a repository of obsolescence is the only one worth defending.
—Jeffrey Stuker, graduate student, Painting, Yale School Art