Hey New York Times, I still love ya, but please, just shut up with all those pseudo-uplifting “joy of poverty” stories that you’ve been shoving down our throats lately. Here’s a small sampling of what I’m talking about:
2/12/09: The Boom is Over: Long Live the Art!. This is the one where Holland Cotter told artists,
“…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.”
That bit has already been roundly ridiculed on various arts blogs, so I won’t flog it any further. More recently, however, the Times published another of its attempts at an emotional pick-me-up, Tight Times Loosen Artists’ Creativity (5/19/09), in which an artist named Liz Fallon from Portland, Me. is cited as an example of how artists are learning to exult in their new-found freedoms, now that they’ve stopped selling work and can support themselves with crappy part-time tele-marketing jobs:
“As for myself, freed from the constraints of creating for a specific buyer,” Ms. Fallon wrote [in an email], “I’ve experienced my own surge in creativity and have been producing a great deal more than I used to. While it would be nice to still be getting paid for my work, the need to be more resourceful is having a beneficial effect on the arts community around me.”
In a follow-up interview Ms. Fallon said she supports herself working as a customer-service representative for a direct-marketing firm, and that the lack of commissions has enabled her to pursue new projects, like illustrations of classic children’s literature.
“Nobody wants me to do anything, so I’m just doing what I want,” she said.
Can’t offer a better retort than that already given by Susie Bright, who responded thusly during a related Facebook exchange (reproduced on the blog New Curator):
And again, on 6/9/09: Special Report: Contemporary Art: Getting Creative in a Downturn. Even the French are “getting creative” and (I love this) “rediscovering” drawing BECAUSE IT’S SO CHEAP.
“….In France, the slump has been marked by a return to traditional drawing, exhibited in a profusion of small-scale shows, often curated by art students….. Serghei Litvin Manoliu…said, “The golden boy approach to art is over.” His show, the 21st Century International Drawing Fair, was a crisis-friendly, minimalist affair, offered unframed works for around €300, displayed on tables in a bare, loft-like space in the hip Marais district of Paris.
Unlike art produced mainly as a commodity for financial speculation, Mr. Manoliu said, “drawing requires excellent skills.”
“The art world had lost every criterion of quality,” he said. “I believe this crisis is a fabulous opportunity for the arts.”
I have time to read the new John le Carre, while nibbling at sweet tangerines in the sun. When a Sigur Ros album comes out, it fills my days and nights, resplendent. And then it seems that happiness, like peace or passion, comes most freely when it isn’t pursued.
*CAA Study finds over-reliance on part-time faculty in American higher education.
*New York Times looks at how artists are adjusting to economic hardship.
*Edward Winkleman asks his readers why the view that art is ‘unmasculine’ still persists?
*Chicago artist and illustrator Lauren Nassef’s “A Drawing a Day” still going strong.
*Joanne Mattera bites back after receiving a cease and desist letter warning her not to write about vanity galleries (a.k.a. ‘pay to show’ schemes).
*Chicagoist’s report on the Society for News Design’s conference and discussions about what’s happening in the Chicago journalism scene. Very interesting write-up here, including follow-up comments.
*”The practice of art gets the criticism it deserves”–Great piece on how the internet is changing critics and art criticism by John Haber.
*Another good read on the above topic: “Arts Writing and ‘The New Thing’” at Peripheral Vision. (Meg has also twittered numerous of-the-moment links on the topic of arts journalism this past week, make sure to check those out too).
That’s all for now. I’m off to see Several Silences at The Renaissance Society.