Good, non-curmudgeonly essay by Robin Peckham on how, among other things, the contemporary art world was already catering to shortened attention spans before online media came along and made us dumb and dumberer. Let's let him tell it (excerpt):
Although the notion that our present contemporary art belongs to a peculiarly YouTube sensibility is a facile one, the standard curatorial approach, which almost ironically presents itself as an a priori intellectual strategy, has insisted for too long that art explain itself conceptually, quickly, and on demand. Our exhibitions demand a purpose, preferably one that fits if not into the 140 characters of a Tweet then at least into the similarly-scaled sentence that has defined the English language for centuries. Interviews, similarly, assume that the artist will be able to answer the curator succinctly and eloquently, prepared to move on or modulate meaning in the next round of questions and answers. As a result, our art now speaks often and loudly, but it is over all too soon. Modernism, despite its preoccupations and overarching projects, abhorred a one-liner, and post-modernism reveled in the production of mazes and mirror images that could immerse viewers for hours. Now art work merely announces itself: I-am-abstraction; I-am-about-architecture; I-have-a-sense-of-humor; I-am-sound.