I love art. Moreso than most people.
How much did you spend on original art last year? Because if you "love it" without buying it, you kind of disprove your next statement.
I believe that the only thing that determines artistic value is the community into which the art is entered, and that's it. If you put a show together and sell nothing then your work is worthless to the art community.
As Black Swan
points out, the market does not always value great art. Most - not all, but the vast majority of - people with significant amounts of money to spend on art make their purchases based on what a trusted gallerist or advisor tells them to buy. That's just the way it is. Everywhere.
Like in any other business, much of "success" in the art world hinges on who you know, networking, glad-handing, and kissing up to truly repulsive assholes. That, or just relentlessly making good art for 20 years or so until the fuckers can't ignore you anymore (don't try that with your rock bands, kids, it doesn't work the same way).
The rest of the people milling about the gallery, guzzling the cheap wine, don't have any money to spend on art. They will go from gallery to gallery during openings, and laugh and gossip and sometimes even look at the art, but they don't buy shit. A lot of those people are artists themselves, and they buy less art than any other group.
That is the art community
you are referring to. At least in Los Angeles, which is one of the largest art markets in the world. If that group of knuckleheads is the barometer of value, then you get the kind of art that community deserves. And that ain't necessarily good, let alone great.
My problems with government funding of the arts are, first, they provide a pitiful, embarrassingly small amount of dough, second, the small amount that is available tends to flow to those who approach art via academia (see Bukowski's rant in this thread on grants and prizes).
We judge ancient civilizations in a large part based on their art, yet as a country we do not support the creation of art. So how should we be judged? By how many wars we win? By our awesome sports teams?
Most people who oppose government funding of the arts don't even realize that the largest art "prizes" come from private institutions, not the government. The government pisses away billions of dollars every day, and much of it goes into the pockets of the already wealthy. That
should make you mad. Not the handful of pennies we throw at art.