I am definitely not an expert in the field of art, however I think the status symbol of art is still the same as during the Renaissance. Artwork from respected artists is something that is expensive and to have the ability to pay for a piece of artwork shows a higher class standing. For example, when considering architecture a building with more artwork rather than a building made simply from concrete gives a feeling of higher importance. Also, take a stroll downtown in the Short North through the galleries. The paintings and artwork are very expensive and the ability to own this artwork would prove your high social class.
As for artists, I believe they are treated very differently from Renaissance artists. As many of you have already said I could not name a single current artist, however could pull out 3 or 4 names of Renaissance artists and not simply because I am taking the course. Their names are remembered after all these years, whereas present day artists struggle to get their names heard. I also believe that artists now have more say in the piece they are making. The contract we read in class was extremely strict and required the artist to pay up front for their supplies and if the buyer did not like the finished product they had the right to reject it and pay for nothing. I think now artists have more control in the artwork they are making.