Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Long Live the Art

I read an article some time ago (I can’t for the life of me find it) in which a big wig art world persona says that he doesn't take an artist who doesn’t work full-time as an artist seriously.

Even though I get depressed if I spend too much time in a studio alone, and even though I’ve got bills to pay (don’t tell anyone) – and even though I thought this guy sounded like a creep - I thought he must be right. So, this was another reason for my un-recognition. Eight hours a day, Monday through Friday would solve that.

But, give it up for Holland Cotter, folks, the spokesperson for non-market-oriented art. In his celebratory article “The Boom is Over. Long Live the Art!” among other exciting things (at least to this romantic), he says:
It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them — van Gogh the preacher, Pollock the busboy, Henry Darger the janitor — and will again. The trick is to try to make them an energy source, not a chore.

At the same time, if the example of past crises holds true, artists can also take over the factory, make the art industry their own. Collectively and individually they can customize the machinery, alter the modes of distribution, adjust the rate of production to allow for organic growth, for shifts in purpose and direction. They can daydream and concentrate. They can make nothing for a while, or make something and make it wrong, and fail in peace, and start again.


I’m not talking about creating ’60s-style utopias; all those notions are dead and gone and weren’t so great to begin with. I’m talking about carving out a place in the larger culture where a condition of abnormality can be sustained, where imagining the unknown and the unknowable — impossible to buy or sell — is the primary enterprise. Crazy! says anyone with an ounce of business sense.

Right. Exactly. Crazy.

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