A friend recently asked me about the feelings that illustrators have about contemporary art.
I have great respect for it and have been to CA museums all over (NYC, San Francisco, Cincinnati, London, Paris, Vienna, etc.).
That being said, my impression has always been that there has always been a general lack of respect for what illustrators, cartoonists and comic book artists do by the contemporary art establishment and I am curious about how others feel about it.
As someone who used to do a lot of science fiction and fantasy art, there was a time where many flat out did not even consider it to be art. I have heard many anecdotes from people who were in fine arts programs because many schools do not offer illustration options. They were frequently told that what they wanted to do was not art (perhaps explaining the popularity of Daniel Clowes Art School Confidential).
This is the main reason, from what I understand, that the Spectrum Fantastic Art annual was created 15 or so years ago. All this amazing work was created for book covers, cards, comics, concept art for both movies and video games, and sculpture that was virtually ignored by traditional main stream and high end art establishments. I think they got 12000+ entries last year.
Perhaps that may be changing with the popularity of Juxtopoz, Illustration Magazine and other similar publications. There seem to be a lot more galleries that show and sell illustration than there used to be. The CAC for example had a huge exhibit on Charley Harper who I consider to be an excellent illustrator.
Perhaps there has been enough time that there will eventually be rooms in the Met or MoMa devoted to the great illustrators of the 40s through the 60s? (Not just temporary exhibits)
As a postscript, there is a show on Ovation called "Is It Art?" According to the critics interviewed, the answer is mostly NO...