The tyranny of masterpiece
Masterpiece is already an ancient word. As ancient as the cave paintings in Lascaux, as Greek urns, as the Impressionists. That we've held onto the cultural power-plays of priests and kings this long only goes to show we haven't let go of the forces of what postmodernists would like to call trickle-down aesthetics (that is, if any of them have a backbone left between themselves (signified as signifier signifried)). Aesthetics that have nothing to do with taste or talent: it's all about control. By sucking dry the vitality and ambiguity of art, the masses, especially those of the middle class, may more comfortably consume it. This conditioned response is detrimental to viewer and artist alike. If we are to free ourselves from prepackaged artistic identities, repeat after us: "There's no place called masterpiece."