Response to Anna Shustrova: There is a book that you would likely love, it’s very readable and walks you through the Modern Art movement, tying it to every other innovation of it’s days: The Shock of the New, by art critic Robert Hughes. I highly recommend it if you’re curious about how to “read” Modern Art.
I very much appreciated this article, Brian. Thank you. It’s very much the content of my head, as I near 60… and as a visual artist with writing aspirations.
I’m sick of hustling to make ends meet, of taking low-paying jobs when I’m really at the top of my game, of feeling as if my life’s work of making art is somehow less meaningful because I didn’t make a living from it except tangentially. My day job has been arts administration and arts education; working for other artists and teaching aspiring artists has tremendous rewards. But there really is a sense that if you call yourself an artist you’re either pretentious or perhaps embarassingly self-indulgent. In fact being an artist for most of us means having at least 2 full time jobs — a day job and art making. Add family in and taking time to make art can be a luxury for many people. Artists in general are extremely disciplined and focused; polar opposite of the reputation we’ve somehow, er, earned?
I appreciate you discussing cumulative wisdom. It’s really all we’ve got! Too bad it’s undervalued.
My one thought about your detractors here — they don’t strike me as art practitioners, so they seem to be commenting on your aduacity to ask for respect. Proving, of course, your point.
Cheers! I’ll be reading you regularly.