The art of an era is nothing but the portrait of its patrons. It portrays the problem of excess as it is experienced in a given moment. In the domestic aesthetic of Xmas, as in the pagan rite of old, the problem is a simple if surreal one, of making the excess of the world over itself appear momentarily present. Once a ruling class has command of a sizable part of the surplus, the problem becomes an almost insoluble one of how the excess of the world can be made to appear as ‘naturally’ conferring on a ruling class a right to make that excess present itself. The artifice of the ritual, its purely formal and self-involved character, rises in direct proportion to the uselessness of the patrons in command of it.
—McKenzie Wark, “On Scrooge and His Art Collection: A Little Xmas Offering”