In a recent post an "anonymous" commenter said that the new art is in architecture. And to some degree I concur. Architecture is a much easier and holistic way to connect with an artist's vision than, say, a painting. But it too has been swayed by the elitist, "I don't need to explain my art to you" kind of view to some degree. I came across this quote from Ned Cramer, founder of the recently-launched Architect magazine:
"My primary position is that I'm sick of professional infighting. I think it probably does more damage than the most aggressive ideologically driven development by any camp. As I wrote in my first editorial, I look at the profession as trying to recover from the collapse of urban renewal, the modern movement, and divorce from the day-to-day lives of end users. By blinding itself to the needs of the marketplace, it limits its capacity to be socially, politically, and environmentally relevant. I would venture that every architect in his or her way is trying to seek a way back to relevance and a greater sense of professional responsibility, and we really want to be a part of that."
If architecture as a whole, and architects in particular, can find a way back to responsibility and a drive to reach the end user, then I totally agree that architecture could be the new art. It will be a while before we really see the fruits of this kind of thinking, but I would urge other mediums to take notice.
As for graphic design, I think we're still at the point where we are connecting with audiences, even with the recent design boom. I expect this to change sometime. I expect that we'll become drunk with power, overly fragment our industry, lose our audience, and that we'll eventually (hopefully sooner than later) have to find our way back as well. Yikes.