If you strive to be something that is already created, how are you going to push anything forward? Seems pretty counterproductive to me.
I also just reread what was posted and now realize that he was just saying that Barry and Stuart have the same goal? Maybe, but my statement here still stands. If there are already performers using an "emotional hooks" then I my just be inclined to go the opposite direction and go against the stream. Why? Because if every other magician performs illusions, which I may add have had hundreds of hours of thought put into them, that have emotional meaning and tug on audiences heart chords and all that crap. I, the one who is going the route of pure entertainment, telling jokes, making box jumpers appear and vanish, etc. will stick out in the agency que.
Also, if you do not see what Copperfield is doing as art, then that is a failure on your part. A failure to know what "Art" is. Just because YOU can't connect with a certain performance, does not mean it isn't art. You want art? You got art, Copperfield's magic as a whole is a carefully choreographed artwork in motion. You are being cynical for comparing illusion and stage magic as nothing but eye candy. It seems that way to the audience but it really isn't behind the scenes. The greatest piece of artwork in this genre is when magic seems the smoothest and most "Normal" looking.