Leading article: Shock to the new

Click to follow
The Independent Online
THE LIFE cycle of the enfant terrible is getting shorter. Time was when the shock of the new could see you right for at least a decade of media attention. Patrons and the media both got a thrill from being outraged and their gratitude was as tangible and reliable as it was perverse. For the likes of Damien Hirst and his visceral animals, coverage, and a living, were not a problem.

But times change and the enfants now find themselves eminences with no intervening period whatever. Still in their thirties, they are being ousted by the so-called New Neurotics, who are embraced by the Saatchis and rely more on traditional influences such as Vermeer and Poussin than the abattoir. We are told that cynicism is passe and the art star a bore. Given the brevity of their predecessors' reigns, the new favourites have plenty to be neurotic about.