Interviewer: What is art to you?
Art is a form. A form is something that does not exactly have history, but a destiny. Art had a destiny. Today, art has fallen into value, and unfortunately at a time when values have suffered. Values: aesthetic value, commercial value… values can be negotiated, bought and sold, exchanged. Forms, as forms, cannot be exchanged for something else, they can only be exchanged among themselves, and the aesthetic illusion comes at that price. For example, in abstraction, when the object is deconstructed when the world and reality are deconstructed, there is still a way to exchange the object in itself symbolically. But abstraction later became merely a pseudo-analytical procedure for decomposing reality not deconstructing it. Something has fallen apart, perhaps through the sole effect of repetition.
To put it naively, the pretension of art shocks me. And it is hard to escape, it did not happen overnight. Art was turned into something pretentious with the will to transcend the world, to give an exceptional, sublime form to things. Art has become an argument for mental prowess. The mental racket run by art and the discourse on art is considerable. I do not want anyone to make me say that art is finished, dead. That is not true. Art doesn’t die because there is no more art, it dies because there is too much. The excess of reality disheartens me as does the excess of art when it imposes itself as reality.
Jean Baudrillard’s The Conspiracy of Art (1996) No Nostalgia for Old Aesthetic Values