A good example of art talk comes in the second half of Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket when a blustering General asks Matthew Modine's Joker how someone can have "born to kill" written on their helmet while also wearing a Peace button. The exchange rings of an awkward and oversimplified introduction on the contradictions and peculiarities of contemporary art from a pierced teenager to his cranky grandpa. "Is it supposed to be some kind of sick joke?" is answered with "Something about the duality of man, SIR!". One offering is dismissive, the other earnest if unformed. The contrary symbols are beautifully provocative and the resulting ire welcome and lively.
Po-mo plurality currently hums in a kind of icon/index/symbol Mexican standoff. A healthy resurgence of artists actually making stuff holds the icon corner, but maybe this is only noticeable against the persistence of post studio work.
Contradictions are needed and can be quite electrical in exchange when arguing matters of form (even when gaudy and rough) and content (even when austere and antiseptic). Everyone should read both Dave Hickey and Thomas Frank, particularly in their duel over the worth of Norman Rockwell, because they're both right! If the Peter the Great monument is indeed removed from Moscow, it's phantom space might inherit a double meaning, like the ghost of an Afghan Buddha. It's a glorious world where the world's eighth tallest monster chotskie can infuriate people as much as Richard Serra steel wall.