Artists today find their rut and stay in it as long as they can. it is part of the "branding " process. to develop over time means that you may miss your opportunity in the market. i believe most artists working today would probably not be making the work they are making if money were not an issue. That is not to say they are all making money, but they are re-creating art that has a market in an attempt to get a piece of the pie, or at least their 15 minutes.
As an artist working today Ruscha is my Cole, or Church. I mine the fields of modern and contemporary work, stealing, borrowing and cross-pollinating in what are now appropriate ways. I see the art world in it's current state as a reflection of the mess that our world and country is in. We have accepted the fact that we can all do whatever we want, whenever we want to do it, and it is not only perfectly fine, it is our right. The problem isn't really that the art world has gone to hell, it's that everything else has lead the way. The reality that i think Hickey is feeling is that he has been around long enough to watch it all go down. The bitter pill is that permission has been given to these young artists, they have all been given a license to do and say what they want. the truth is that most of it isn't worth paying attention to.
At the end of the day it was probably free enterprise that shot art in the foot. if you put a Cole or Church on the auction block you could probably strip it of any integrity it has with the drop of a hammer.