In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Another Technical Note
  2. La Ligne Maginot
  3. Actress Notes
  4. Technical Day
  5. Peripheral Explanation
  6. More Immigration Links
  7. Another Graphic Detournement
  8. Peripheral Artists (5): Mikhail Vrubel
  9. Illegal Update

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Every Picture Tells a Story redux | Main | TV Alert »

October 01, 2002

If I Were an Editor 10

Friedrich --

Many thanks for your enlightening treatises about Shakespeare’s London and Mozart’s Vienna. The topic of money, business and art is usually taken on in such unhelpful ways: a big deal here, a betrayal there. Who cares? What I want to know is: how does this weirdo arts economy work?

If I were an editor, I’d kick off coverage by commissioning a piece on the theme of “Trust Funds and Modern Art.” In my art-history explorations, I’ve been amazed by how many of the “radical” artists of the past were independently wealthy (or managed to marry someone rich). “Independently wealthy”: what an adorably genteel way of saying “rich enough to not have to work.” And in my explorations of today’s art-and-lit worlds, I’ve been just as amazed by how many current avant-garde types have enough money not to have to work for a living.

The rest of us need to figure out some way to get by financially, which usually means either choosing to apply our talents in some business context (visually talented gal finds work as graphic designer) or by working at some job (word processor, teacher) we hope will be tolerable in order to support the art activities (painting, poetry) we care about more. If you take the first option, you wind up doing "commercial art," which isn't considered to be "real art"; if you take the second option, your art is in constant danger of becoming “just a hobby.”

It sometimes seems like (a few exceptions allowed for) only the rich get to be "real artists," doesn't it? So why do we pay attention? It's not as though they need more luck and attention than they already have.

The way family money has supported and fostered the avant-garde; avant-garde-ism as a function of the posture-striking of bohemian rich kids – yet more things they didn’t tell us about at our Lousy Ivy College.

What was the student population like, money-and-statuswise, during your time at art school?



posted by Michael at October 1, 2002


Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?