I like this quote from John Armstrong’s How to Worry Less about Money:
At present, people define themselves as being ‘interested in art’. Then they go to art school, develop their ideas and later seek exhibitions. Galleries seek saleable work and try to promote artists. Collectors follow their own inclinations and, for whatever reasons they may have, make the careers of certain artists by buying their work. At some point, public institutions endorse and eventually canonize a few artists as highly important. Along the way there are various publicity mechanisms — reviews in newspapers, interviews in magazines, and so on. Somewhere in the background there are debates about the nature and value of art.