Heavy reading of the last few pages of this thread - good posts, folks! Makes my thoughts go in several directions, but the one thing I keep coming back to is that many artists create art because that is what they "do", not that it is a product to be validated, or as income-producing, or a way to acquire patronage. As tartarin says, ideas are the power. When the ideas take on power for those beyond the artist, that is the point at which we can consider how best to assist and nurture the art. I'd rather see the "piss in the bottle" than yard art consisting of plywood and painted displays of "Ma and Pa" bending over in the garden.
Another point to keep in mind is that much great art is NOT beautiful to many people. There seems to be a pervasive public assumption that 1. the end three-dimensional product is the ultimate purpose, that 2. artists are generally nuts, that 3. art is a luxury, and 4. that much art is completely unknowable and mysterious to those not educated in art and lastly, 5. that art is supposed to be inspiringly positive and beautiful (with the understanding that 'we all know what beautiful is').
One of my favorite modern artists is Anselm Kiefer, who currently is wonderfully-showcased in the new Ft. Worth Modern Art Museum. There's few that would describe his monumental paintings and sculptures as beautiful, let alone pleasant. His work transends open viewers and creates mind journeys that definitely disrupt one's normal day-to-day walkabouts of the mind. Here are some links:
From Amazon, images from a bookAnselm Kiefer, Daniel Arasse
(this is the direct Amazon link to the book, on sale now for $56+):
Anselm Kiefer (Arasse book, review)
Here are some of his newer installations in Texas. Click on the collections tab for a delightful view of over 100 great modern art works: http://www.themodern.org/
Now, looking at such an artist, who has been one touched by Midas and validated as one among thousands - would this artist be supported by the public, government or any other funding patrons in the US? I highly doubt it. Yet, now that 50 years or so of acclaim has settled in well for him, he will get the income needed to produce and not most other artists that may have work on a par with him, if not better. It's like a rock band "making it" - commercial whims of "what sells", hardly a predictor of classic work. Oh the fad of the moment is.....
So, there would be in my utopian society, a definite place for nuturing artists, whatever their avocation. But, I believe there will never be any sort of equitable, fair, validating, sufficient or productive funding for 'serious' (interesting word, eh?) artists. Now, if only those crazy artists could paint touching nostalgic scenes of hunters round the campfire or perhaps kitties and puppies?