In earlier periods of the history of Western art, art was intended to endure. Today, once a piece enters a collection, it is almost immediately in need of conservation.
In the past, materials were chosen for their rarity, quality, value and permanence. Today, materials are chosen for their impermanence, rescue from deterioration, lack of value and commonness.
In the past, artists were craftsmen and guildsmen who were skilled and disciplined in their crafts. Today craft is "appropriate" and often peripheral to the work.
In the past, substance and meaning were in the work. Today, substance and meaning are often in the words that prop up the work.
In the past, the work was intended to speak to the common man and woman. Today, the work ignores and sometimes disdains the common man and woman.
In the past, art was necessary to enhance the nature of spectacle. Today, spectacle is necessary to enhance the nature of art.