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December 01, 2013

Comments

Sam

Art has not shocked, provoked or otherwise challenged for years now. The belief that it does, should or could is almost endearingly quaint when one hears it voiced

So is Grayson Perry the new Danny La Rue?

David

So is Grayson Perry the new Danny La Rue?

It would seem so. Though to the best of my knowledge Danny La Rue didn’t make unattractive pottery. So. Advantage Danny La Rue.

Dr Cromarty

So Obama's 'joke' is "Nice little livelihood you've got there. Wouldn't want anything bad to happen to it, would we?" What a nice guy. No wonder the lefties love him.

Jonathan

David, another shocking spate of Hate Crimes I thought you'd be interested in:

http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/27/exclusive-shocking-discovery-in-hoax-bias-incident-at-vassar-college/

When will the torment end?

David

When will the torment end?

Faking victimhood is the new skateboarding. All the cool kids are doing it. Though you’d think being transgendered and called Genesis would make a person sufficiently noteworthy without the need to invent further personal drama.

That said, if you’ve managed to convince people they need a Bias Incident Report Team you’re going to have to find “incidents” to report. Or indeed fabricate.

James In Footscray

It may be right that contemporary artists have not critiqued multiculturalism.

But it's an interesting issue to choose as example of political correctness. Progressives are now quite suspicious of immigration (it's 'environmentally unsustainable'), while it's the libertarian right advocating free movement of people.

ACTOldFart

For a classic on the general theme of finding insult and offence where there is none, indeed even in acts of charity, have a look at:

http://catallaxyfiles.com/

and discover the truly monstrous, racist, sexist, micro-agressive and imperialistic hegemonic essence of growing a moustache (original source New Statesman, which makes a bit of a change from the Guardian, I guess).

AC1

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/12/01/arts-majors-cant-make-good-livings-so-we-should-subsidise-arts-majors-from-taxation/

@James
The faux-libertarian right seem to want subsidised immigration. Immigrants are willing to pay vast sums, not collecting that money will accrue to someone at certain citizen groups expense.

Hal

. . . and discover the truly monstrous, racist, sexist, micro-agressive and imperialistic hegemonic essence of growing a moustache . .

Yes, the hipsters are screaming at the hipsters about being hipsters and the existence of hipsters.

Back when the hipsters were called/called themselves yuppys, and before that preppys/sloans/chavs/whatever, the WWW wasn't quite so ubiquitous and accessible and thus the socially, culturally, and often functionally illiterate didn't get into the mass communication channels as much.

I rather don't see this form of Eternal September coming to an end either.

Hal

Art has not shocked, provoked or otherwise challenged for years now. . . . .

See Here for a proper example of how the masses were shocked sometime about 1993 or so . . . .

TimT

ACT Old Fart, I believe the link you wanted is here.

Catallaxy posts fairly quickly get bumped from the top of the page to the bottom as they've got a number of contributors.

James

Further to Peter Whittle's piece, in Australia we have an annual "Festival of Dangerous Ideas'. Of course, it's nothing of the sort. The program is a roster of bog-standard lefty issues, and one where the presenters and the audience all furiously agree with each other.

pst314

James In Footscray "It may be right that contemporary artists have not critiqued multiculturalism. But it's an interesting issue to choose as example of political correctness. Progressives are now quite suspicious of immigration (it's 'environmentally unsustainable'), while it's the libertarian right advocating free movement of people."

So all those American leftists marching for open borders are actually right-wingers in disguise? So the Labour Party is now a right-wing front? I think you've forgotten about a few "minor" details, James.

pst314

And James, about all those professors and university diversity awareness kommissars--they're right-wingers too?

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

I believe I linked to this story of truly transgressive art when it first appeared last month.

The brief appearance of a concrete sculpture in Gdansk last Saturday depicting a Red Army soldier raping a pregnant woman has sparked ire on both the Polish and Russian sides. Now the artist could be facing two years in prison.

I couldn't find any update on the story. At least, not in English; I don't read Polish.

Henry

and discover the truly monstrous, racist, sexist, micro-agressive and imperialistic hegemonic essence of growing a moustache

One of the comments in the NS does it for me:

Is this real? If it were a parody I would stop reading, bored by the ludicrous OTT caricature of a Milly-Tant leftie. If it is real then the New Statesman should collectively climb into the bath of redundant despair and fling in the electric fire of merciful finality

David

AC1,

The Tim Worstall piece made me smile:

The value that is being created by this artistic endeavour is determined by those consumers and by no-one else. That they’re not willing to pay very much shows that they don’t value it very much. That is, we’re not all that interested in the output of these arts graduates given that we’ll not pay very much for it. At which point the idea of taxation to pay for the arts graduates becomes obviously absurd. If we’re not interested enough in what they do to pay for it voluntarily, then why on earth should or even could it be moral to take the cash from us by force?

Though I smiled more at the comment by an artist named Lauran Childs, who accuses Tim of being “deleterious to the human spirit.” While expecting ‘free’ money for people with “free spirits” - i.e., people much like herself.

David

James In Footscray,

The Peter Whittle quote was of particular interest because of this line:

The chances of the BBC commissioning a drama which explores the experiences of an ageing white couple in an area transformed by mass immigration — surely a subject with real dramatic potential — are virtually nil. And if such a project ever did see the light of transmission, the audience could be forgiven for predicting quite accurately all the conclusions that would inevitably be drawn.

I imagine I’m not alone in noting how a subject of this kind can be quite difficult even to raise. I’ve known several people, decent people, who very much wanted to talk to someone about their worries regarding elderly parents who were living in parts of town that had been rapidly and dramatically transformed and were now rather alien. Their parents had neighbours who didn’t speak English and with whom they couldn’t chat, and of whom they didn’t feel they could ask favours in an emergency. What struck me was the apprehension of these people, who were obviously worried that by even raising the issue, very tentatively, they might be considered bigots. They were nervously sounding out how I might react.

And this cowed apprehension is not at all accidental. Some on the left take open delight in it. In October 2010, I was half-listening to BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends programme – a sort of whimsical revue of chat, music and substandard leftwing comedy. The comedian of the week (whose name I didn’t catch) was very much amused by the taboos surrounding immigration and multiculturalism. The tone was triumphal. The gist of his punch line was “Isn’t it hilarious that people who have concerns about immigration and assimilation now have to be quiet because otherwise they’ll be called racists. Ha! We won!” This was deemed incredibly funny. And note the assumed “we”.

Steve

"The chances of the BBC commissioning a drama which explores the experiences of an ageing white couple in an area transformed by mass immigration — surely a subject with real dramatic potential — are virtually nil"

Not the BBC and not fiction, but this book by a former Guardian / Observer journalist covers this topic in some detail. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fallout-guilty-liberal-lost-innocence/dp/0099507854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385976683&sr=1-1&keywords=andrew+anthony It, the book, was published around the time of Nick Cohen's 'What's Left' and, at the time I thought these books might signal a waking up of the leftist establishment. Then along came Owen & Penny and it was business as usual.

Steve

"Though to the best of my knowledge Danny La Rue didn’t make unattractive pottery"

I couldn't disagree more. I think GP's work is both beautiful & a little thought provoking. It is frequently also executed with a degree of technical skill which is absent from modern art. I guess beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

Perry also seems to display an honesty that is absent from most of the artistic community as demonstrated here http://www.newcultureforum.org.uk/home/?q=node/167 which, ugly cross-dressing aside, makes him, to me at least, worthy of some respect and certainly beyond comparison with La Rue, with whom he shares little beyond a liking for frocks.

David

Steve,

Perry also seems to display an honesty that is absent from most of the artistic community.

True, he did admit to being afraid. And I suppose we should be thankful for small, even tiny, mercies.

svh

Guardian still losing money hand over fist…

"Guardian News & Media has lost nearly £200m in the past six years as it pursues its ambition of being the 'world's leading liberal voice'… Two years ago, as he committed GMG to a 'digital-first strategy', Mr Miller warned staff the newspaper's losses were so great it could run out of money in 'three to five years'. The latest losses of £31m for the year to the end of March were an improvement on the £44m of the previous 12 months."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/the-guardians-future-by-the-papers-guardian-andrew-miller-8968300.html

Joan

Guardian still losing money hand over fist…

We should run the world how they run their 'business'.

David

Guardian still losing money hand over fist…

Five words in particular stood out: “More coffee shops may follow.”

Just imagine.

present & correct

David..
i think your Radio4 'comedian' was Jeremy Hardy.

and not really surprising that free spirit Lauran Childs craves subsidy for her product..
http://lauranchilds.com/gallery-coming-soon/

David

I think your Radio 4 ‘comedian’ was Jeremy Hardy.

It’s the kind of attitude Hardy would display with pleasure, but I think I’d have recognised his voice. My impression is it was someone fairly unknown. At least to me.

and not really surprising that free spirit Lauran Childs craves subsidy for her product…

Oh dear. I suggest fire and lots of it.

Lauran Childs

FYO, as you've mentioned me a couple of times;

Famous artist Tracy Emin who is well known for getting paid $250,000 for her unmade bed and dirty washing is also looking for financial support - www.artproduction.org if I remember correctly.

And Van Gogh sold only three paintings his whole life. Now where would art be without his subsidised contribution?

Lauran Childs
www.LauranChilds.com

Lauran Childs

Whoops, doesn't look like the correct link for Emin, I'll find it.

Lauran Childs

Here we go with Emin link - she's part of a group of artists looking for funding; http://www.artproductionfund.org/donate.

Funny how the first thing I saw when I clicked on this site is a 'Donate' button. How's that going for you David?

Steve

Present & correct,

Wow. For a moment there I thought you were attacking Lauren Child! Two people that I rather like attacked in one thread may have proved a bit much!

David

Lauran,

How’s that going for you David?

I invite readers to help keep this place afloat, which they do. But here’s the difference – and it’s a rather important difference, though you seem to have missed it. I invite them to hit the tip jar if they feel so inclined. Which isn’t quite the same thing as feeling entitled to their money, or entitled to state subsidy - which is the point of Tim’s article, to which you responded - and which entails the coercive redistribution of other people’s earnings. You’re equating apples with bees.

[ Added: ]

In response to Tim’s piece you wrote,

As an English artist in Miami I’m extremely peeved how many [i.e., members of the public] don’t value art and want people like me to work for free. They don’t work for free, but somehow artists should. Crazy, crazy idea… Art takes work to produce… and it’s high time that labour is respected.

You seem to conflate a lack of public interest in your work with a general failure to value art. This rather begs the question. Perhaps the problem isn’t with the public and their collective estimation of art’s value, whatever that may be in any given instance, but with the particular art you’re offering them. You seem to be complaining that the public isn’t paying you for doing a job – being an artist – that the public hasn’t asked you to do. As if simply churning out paintings or whatever, of whatever quality, and calling oneself an artist were in itself a reason for passers-by to hand over their cash, regardless of their tastes and priorities. Or a reason for other people to have their earnings confiscated by the state and handed over to “free spirits” such as yourself.

It sounds a tad egomaniacal.

[ Added: ]

You said to Tim,

Views like yours, that artists should work for free are deleterious to the human spirit – both that of artists and consumers. You wouldn’t even go to a grocery store and expect a worker there to work for free, why would you expect an artist to?

Given the context – a piece about public funding - the obvious inference is that you would like unpopular artists to be given money by someone. (In order to avoid all that “working for free,” which you regard as “deleterious to the human spirit.”) If paying customers are thin on the ground, who else should hand over their cash, or be made to hand over their cash? You then conflate employees in a grocery store - who are contracted to perform agreed duties to an agreed standard in return for an agreed wage in order to meet a demand and thereby generate profit – with artists, who apparently should receive money simply for being artists, irrespective of demand (or lack thereof). You want an artist’s labour to be “respected,” seemingly regardless of what that labour is worth in the eye of the customer. But what if no-one wants what you’re selling? What if the respect you want hasn’t been earned?

Anna

This should be good. ;-D

svh

but with the particular art you’re offering them... of whatever quality,

Holy mother of God.

WTP

Now where would art be without his subsidised contribution? Van Gogh was subsidized by his brother and art dealers, AFAIA. Not money extorted, as David points out, from tax payers. And surely those who were keeping VvG afloat, people spending their own money, had some influence on his work. They more than likely made his work more focused and more commercial by rejecting his more extreme, lunatic tendencies.

As for where would ART be, I don't see any reason to think one artist more or less would have meant the end of art. Perhaps his popularity squeezed out attention that could have been paid to a more interesting artist. I seem to recall that it used to be rather uncool, unhip, and pedestrian to express an appreciation for the impressionists and especially Van Gogh as he was considered the most common. Something about inspiring songs by the kind of artist as unhip and uncool as American Pie author Don McLean or being portrayed by Kirk Douglas in a movie. The whims of art fanboys cqn be quite fickle.

Lauran Childs

You're right Anna...

David if you'd bothered to read my response to Wootall's article you would notice that I didn't come out and say state subsidy of artists is the way to go.

Rather I welcomed him discussing this can of worms because it gives air to the common fact that people often do ask artists to work for free. Not because our work isn't deemed good - what a petty slight from you to suggest mine isn't - but rather because of people's ignorant and bizarre attitudes to art work. Wootall himself vaunts Adam Smith's belief that if you enjoy your work you shouldn't get paid for it.

As I pointed out in my reply to him, artists actually may not enjoy their work - and he certainly wasn't taking up the cause of lowly paid workers being paid highly. It's an interesting response, I suggest people read the original article in Forbes.

A very particular and telling illustration of people's strange attitudes to art production is given in the tale of how my new painting 'Healing in Theta' evolved, which you can read at my website at www.LauranChilds.com. Briefly, I was asked by a women's breast cancer organisation to do some live art for an event. Both of the people I spoke to in reference to this said that they were highly excited by my art and were extremely complimentary about it - unlike yourself, but that suggests you haven't bothered to look it - and both of these people were doing paid work for the event. But still they asked me to 'donate' my work. Ridiculous.

I strongly recommend reading Maria Brophy's Blog on this issue, the link to the article where she discusses the outrage of artists being expected to work for free is given on a very recent post on my blog at www.LauranChilds.com.

Steve 2

Hi Lauran,

I really like your painting "Lap dancers, clients, and an angel", even though it doesn't contain any actual lap dancing.

I like how you put Peter Lorre, Kim Jong Il, and an angel in the same picture with a pole dancer. Perhaps this is a non-lapdancing lapdancing club in heaven? That would explain why there's a single feather on the floor instead of money in the lady's knickers. They don't use money in heaven, I believe it's a barter economy up there. Or maybe this is meant to be in Limbo? That would explain the bored expressions on the faces of your figures, but not the lack of limbo dancers.

It reminds me of a painting I once created for art class of Lion-o and Adam, Prince of Eternia, locked in a passionate clinch while Snarf and Cringer watched in fascinated horror. I wasn't allowed back in that art class and they phoned my Mum. We didn't have devianart.com back then so visionary artists like myself were at the mercy of censorious Catholic school teachers and their small-minded insistence that if they asked us to draw a bowl of fruit, we'd draw said bowl of fruit and not two crudely drawn cartoon figures in flagrante delicto.

Anon

and want people like me to work for free

Actually I, personally, am quite keen on artists being paid what their work is worth.

It sounds like this is already the case with Ms Childs.

(Actually looking at 'Disney On Acid', did anybody else hear that John Finnemore sketch about the guy who paints cartoon characters on ice cream vans, making sure to get them just slightly wrong? According to the sketch he is very much in demand; if this is true, I think Ms Childs might like to diversify into that line of work.

Oh look, it's on You-Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LHkN6fmY6A

And examples of his work: http://johnfinnemoressouvenirprogramme.tumblr.com/post/60952239241/thepenultimaterolo-slighty-off-disney

)

Anon

But still they asked me to 'donate' my work. Ridiculous

Oh, it is certainly an issue that people do try to blag free stuff from artists (and sometimes they do succeed in scamming free work out of those who don't know better).

The solution to this is simply for the artists to refuse to 'donate'. Then if the person still wants the art, they can pay for it. If it is worth paying for, they will pay.

I hope you refused to work for free.

David

Lauran,

if you’d bothered to read my response to Wootall’s article you would notice that I didn’t come out and say state subsidy of artists is the way to go.

Readers can study your reply to Tim – whose surname, incidentally, is Worstall – and make up their own minds as to your expectations.

Not because our work isn’t deemed good - what a petty slight from you to suggest mine isn’t - but rather because of people’s ignorant and bizarre attitudes to art work.

Your artwork scarcely needs comment from me. It speaks for itself.

WTP

Wootall himself vaunts Adam Smith's belief that if you enjoy your work you shouldn't get paid for it.

Can someone, anyone, provide a source for this? The Worstall article states "As Adam Smith pointed out, when you consider the joy and interest of a job you expect those that are interesting and joyful to be lower paid than those that are less so." A bit of a stretch from "you shouldn't get paid for it". There's still a supply and demand factor. I believe Mr. Smith was rather fond of supply and demand.

Anna

Not because our work isn't deemed good - what a petty slight from you to suggest mine isn't

Lauran, when you say 'petty slight' I think you mean 'hilarious reality'. If you don't mind me asking, how many of these things do you sell? Is it a living?

Steve 2

Anon - Ice cream van painting is one of the most underappreciated British arts.

Also, the anonymous gypsy geniuses who paint rides at the fair. If you've never regurgitated a candyfloss on a waltzer decorated with a glossy metallic spray painting of RoboCop and Michael Jackson, while your eardrums palpitate to Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up", then you have no right to call yourself British.

David

a painting I once created for art class of Lion-o and Adam, Prince of Eternia, locked in a passionate clinch

Now there’s your movie.

What?

Anon

I might also note that it is certainly not the case that everyone expects artists to work for free. I have personal experience of the video games industry, for example, where quite a few artists are employed and paid, some quite well.

There are also many many advertising agencies which are desperate to employ good artists, and pay them very well.

I wonder if Ms Childs has thought of these avenues in order to get paid for creating art? Here's a job vacancy for a concept artist in Florida: http://darksidegames.com/?p=job&i=29 I know it asks for experience, but I promise you, no one in the industry is going to turn down a talented applicant because they don't tick the '2 years experience' box, no way. Good candidates are just not that common that they can be dismissed simply on those grounds.

Talent will always out.

Let us know how you get on.

abacab

Ooooh, this one: http://lauranchilds.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/disneyonacid.jpg

Niiiiiiiiice bit of copyright infringement there, Lauren. Way to steal Disney's intellectual property. Intellectual property is theft, but theft of intellectual property is... what now?

And putting Mickey Mouse in blackface is clearly racist, just so you know. Just thought I'd clear that up for you right there.

Paul

Love the Finnemore sketch. One of the pleasures of walking around Great Yarmouth, as I frequently do, is seeing those 'slightly off' cartoon characters adorning rides, market stalls and food outlets. I find their unwitting artlessness oddly moving. Unlike, say, the work of established (or otherwise) artists whose motives are a little more suspect: http://davidbarsalou.homestead.com/LICHTENSTEINPROJECT.html

I like Grayson Perry, by the way. That is, I like him - anyone who loves The Fall as much as he does must be reasonably sound.

Lauran Childs

Anna - Why the bitchiness? My work sells internationally, obviously to people with better taste than you.

Lauran Childs

Anon - nice to hear some sense and moderation from you.

rjmadden

This is surreal.

WTP

Yeah, I got that LC...if you’d bothered to read my response to you. I doubt you noticed, but I also pointed out that you misrepresent what, and again let's get the boy's name right this time, Worstall...Tim precisely, actually said in regard to Adam Smith. I was looking for the source of Worstall's relaying of Adam Smith. This being the internet, games of telephone are rather unnecessary.

Also, ahhh...never mind.

Anon

There's this, from Chapter 10 of Wealth of Nations:

THE five following are the principal circumstances which, so far as I have been able to observe, make up for a small pecuniary gain in some employments, and counterbalance a great one in others: first, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves; [...]

First, the wages of labour vary with the ease or hardship, the cleanliness or dirtiness, the honourableness or dishonourableness of the employment. Thus in most places, take the year round, a journeyman tailor earns less than a journeyman weaver. His work is much easier. A journeyman weaver earns less than a journeyman smith. His work is not always easier, but it is much cleanlier. A journeyman blacksmith, though an artificer, seldom earns so much in twelve hours as a collier, who is only a labourer, does in eight. His work is not quite so dirty, is less dangerous, and is carried on in daylight, and above ground. Honour makes a great part of the reward of all honourable professions. In point of pecuniary gain, all things considered, they are generally under-recompensed, as I shall endeavour to show by and by. Disgrace has the contrary effect. The trade of a butcher is a brutal and an odious business; but it is in most places more profitable than the greater part of common trades. The most detestable of all employments, that of public executioner, is, in proportion to the quantity of work done, better paid than any common trade whatever.

Hunting and fishing, the most important employments of mankind in the rude state of society, become in its advanced state their most agreeable amusements, and they pursue for pleasure what they once followed from necessity. In the advanced state of society, therefore, they are all very poor people who follow as a trade what other people pursue as a pastime.

Taken from http://geolib.com/smith.adam/won1-10.html

Now that could reasonably be paraphrased as 'when you consider the joy and interest of a job you expect those that are interesting and joyful to be lower paid than those that are less so': but note that this is only one of five factors that he identifies, so perhaps a better paraphrase would be to insert between 'expect' and 'those' the qualifying clause ', all else being equal,'.

And 'you shouldn't get paid for it' would be a very inaccurate reading indeed.

WTP

Ahhh....David, I f'd up a bracket in my comment @ December 02, 2013 at 19:15

Jimmy

Lauran

Your paintings are atrocious. Just admit it. Your drawing is mediocre, your colours are garish, and the paint is applied without any love or care or imagination. Your subject matter is boring. It all adds up to the impression that your breeze through these works without any effort.

I've met dozens of painters like you at art school. You never cease to amaze me in that you seem to think a lot of people are going to value this type of work, when it's so obviously amateurish dreck.

Practice more. Practice a lot. Draw from life. That is my advice to you.

@Anon: You joker!

Bigland

Somebody close the bold door. There's bold spilling out everywhere. I'll have a go...

Bigland

Now my comment just looks stupid.

Henry

This is surreal

A surreal ethereal version of the Circus Maximus, and I think Caesar just held his hand out and turned his thumb down

(the bold tag and the sheepish message from WTP just add to the comedy, btw. I vote to reinstate the bold spillage!)

Thing is, I've known artists who get vast amounts of encouragement from friends and sometimes family for producing relatively inoffensive, and quite meaningless splodges of colour on a canvas. Friends will wax lyrical over how talented the artist is.

I always imagine the producer of the splodges must have these dark nights of the soul where they wonder if they have any talent at all. Having a sort of semi-creative life myself, I've never had the heart to pop the balloon of anyone's self-worth. I see others have no problem, though :)

present & correct

Lauran..
i think the concept you are failing to understand, is one of trade-off...

ie Total Job Reward = Job Satisfaction + Remuneration

this clearly is a personal value, and has nothing to do with other people expecting you to work for nothing.

David

Somebody close the bold door.

I leave you alone for a couple of hours and when I get back there’s a cigarette burn in the rug and bold all over the place. I say we ignite some torches and chase WTP from the village.

Jimmy

I always imagine the producer of the splodges must have these dark nights of the soul where they wonder if they have any talent at all. Having a sort of semi-creative life myself, I've never had the heart to pop the balloon of anyone's self-worth. I see others have no problem, though :)

My mother insisted on putting one of my early paintings up in her lounge, and my wife put one up one up in our bedroom. I hate them both! (the paintings, that is) but they both insist on their apparent quality. It's just one of those things. Family and friends must be the worst barometers of a new artist's skills.

Nik White

Part of me is kind of feeling a little bit bad for Lauran … on the other hand, I've just laughed so hard at the preceding exchanges that I thought I might rupture something.

This blog's tip jar has been duly hit.

David

This blog’s tip jar has been duly hit.

May your boots remain fragrant on the longest of yomps.

Hal

. . . I say we ignite some torches and chase WTP from the village.

Now, now, David, you're only allowed to do that if WTP is electronically animated and a stitched together assemblage of random body parts.

Otherwise you're going to have to stick to the traditional methods of pointedly staring off somewhere else, exhorting that the populace demand a delivery of hemlock, or just calling in an assassin of some quality to just whack 'im.

Patrick Brown

Can I just say that, while I agree that commercial enterprises not paying artists whose work they make money off is disgraceful, asking for donations is what charities do, and it doesn't have to be a donation of money, it can be time, effort and skill. Whatever, a donation is voluntary and you're within your rights to decline to donate anything. But you can't fault them for asking.

Lauran Childs

Nik Brown - don't feel bad for me, people are entitled to say any crap they like and they obviously have. I can't imagine why you tipped David though.

Jimmy

I feel bad for you, Lauran. Sorry.

WTP

"... I say we ignite some torches and chase WTP from the village. "

N-n-n-now let's not do anything hasty...Think of costs of recruiting, training, the legal fees of onboarding a new idiot. Granted the new one may not have such fat fingers...look over there in the tip jar (scatterscatterscatter).

dcardno

...people often do ask artists to work for free. Not because our work isn't deemed good... but rather because of people's ignorant and bizarre attitudes to art work.

Right. The rude masses don't like my output enough to pay anything for it, and that's their fault for being ignorant and bizarre, so their government should compel them to pay for it. Lauran, I actually like (a little) some of your stuff - but not nearly enough to pay for it. On what basis would you extort money from me (some of which would go to other artists whose work I like better), to fund the continuing production of a product I don't value?

Pellegri

Amateur artists getting underpaid for the work they do (and having that work undervalued) is certainly A Thing that exists. This friend of mine, who does absolutely stunning work and is also (unfortunately from a money-making standpoint) an incredible sweetheart who frequently gives away freebies, has a very hard time convincing people that they should pay full value for her commissions. I've heard similar complaints from other talented artists, though usually they're hobbyists who don't do art as their full-time job but instead take commissions on an occasional basis. The underlying issue, I think, is not so much a lack of value for art as a lack of appreciation for the amount of time and effort that goes into it--and changing that is not going to be enforced top-down on the culture by art subsidies or better education. In my friend's case, salvation from people ripping her off came from a more practical friend of ours taking on the role of her manager and telling people they could pay full value or not get anything at all. Which seemed to work pretty well, from what I've seen.

Pellegri

...But this is also why I feel comfortable telling people if they want art from me they can pay what I get paid hourly at my day job, because it gives me a good benchmark for what an hour of my time is worth--and therefore what a four-hour piece of art is worth.

At least, if I were more confident in my own artwork, that's how I'd offer it. I'm just a dabbler, however, and have never felt particularly comfortable doing commissioned work given I know many people much better than I.

David

Well, I for one have learned something from this.

To suggest that we have an oversupply of arts graduates, even to acknowledge the realities of supply and demand, is to hold views “deleterious to the human spirit.” To note that some people will tolerate lower pay to do things they find gratifying is also a no-no. And if an artist makes paintings that aren’t selling well, or at all, then something must be wrong with the general public. Because aesthetic discernment means liking whatever it is an artist does, however ineptly. My plan to make a killing with incredibly heavy and uncomfortable porcelain shoes is looking better by the minute.

N-n-n-now let’s not do anything hasty

[ Feels weight of tip jar. ]

Stand down, angry rabble. I’m feeling a sudden warmth for my fellow man.

David

The TypePad spam filter is still playing up. If anyone has trouble posting comments, email me and I’ll pry them loose.

carbon based lifeform

Adam Smith's belief that if you enjoy your work you shouldn't get paid for it.

Wow. An artist *and* a historian.

carbon based lifeform

I read this…

"A very particular and telling illustration of people's strange attitudes to art production is given in the tale of how my new painting 'Healing in Theta' evolved… I was asked by a women's breast cancer organisation to do some live art for an event. Both of the people I spoke to in reference to this said that they were highly excited by my art and were extremely complimentary about it - unlike yourself, but that suggests you haven't bothered to look it - and both of these people were doing paid work for the event. But still they asked me to 'donate' my work. Ridiculous."

And then I looked at the art they didn't offer to pay for...

http://lauranchilds.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/1thetaglenn2.jpg

David

And then I looked at the art they didn’t offer to pay for…

I take it you’ve seen Ms Childs’ elaborate, if somewhat puzzling, explanation for that painting’s, um, features? You see, it’s not merely a painting; it’s actually “a story about spiritual healing, self-healing, changing one’s DNA” and “absorbing star energy in DNA.” The generous application of glitter paint “alludes to spiritual energy.” And hair is “spiritual antennae.” A Rastafarian said so.

As you can imagine, the painting’s gestation was nothing short of a spiritual odyssey:

The idea came to me in response to a request for me to do live painting from an organisation connected to breast cancer. I was very excited by this request; I love live painting, group events where I get to speak or perform – parties in general! Also a lot of my beliefs about healing are really about self-healing and not going to allopathic doctors. This was an exciting opportunity to put my deeply held beliefs into an inspiring, meaningful painting.

And then tragedy struck.

The live painting was not to be. Mysteriously, despite my connection’s extreme excitement about me live painting, the request was withdrawn with budget restraints cited as the reason. Given the extreme funds that go into the breast cancer industry, this seemed incredible to me.

Yes, it’s simply incredible. Those breast cancer funds were being diverted from Ms Childs’ creative greatness and spent instead on something frivolous. I see dark forces at work.

Minnow

That was entertaining once, but I too want to stick up for Grayson perry who has a lot of very acid and pertinent things to say about the phoneyness of the modern art world. Perry doesn't really belong in the company that is being foisted on him. His pottery isn't to everyone's taste, but we can all agree it's well made at least and earns its keep. He got there by selling stuff to real people not arts institutions. Like he says, if you had knocked on his door a couple of years ago he would have gladly sold you a pot for £50 (the investment of a lifetime). And he is very funny.

tidbit

The Caduceus of Fried Eggs. I like.

Anon

Actually, I'm not sure that a breast cancer charity -- you know, the kind that raises money to be put into understanding the aetiology of breast cancers, and how best to detect and treat them -- would be particularly happy about paying for a piece of artwork which is 'really about self-healing and not going to allopathic doctors'.

Breast cancer charities (and other cancer research organisations) are, I think you'll find, quite in favour of doctors and treatments that actually work, rather than homoeopathic remedies or other such stupidity.

Nik White

Nik Brown - don't feel bad for me, people are entitled to say any crap they like and they obviously have. I can't imagine why you tipped David though.

Well I must admit I tend to feel a little sympathy for anyone who finds themselves both clearly outnumbered not to mention completely out of their depth. But now having perused a little of your website, it's clearly the case that you are possessed of quite a thick skin, perhaps even a Teflon-coated one; for it takes an incredibly thick skin to make the following complaint, as you do on your website, when you recount your disappointment at not being paid for your work Healing in Theta, which you had undertaken in response to a request … from an organisation connected to breast cancer:

    Mysteriously, despite my connection’s extreme excitement about me live painting, the request was withdrawn with budget restraints cited as the reason. Given the extreme funds that go into the breast cancer industry, this seemed incredible to me. [bold type as in the original]

Are you actually saying these words?

Do you truly genuinely find it so 'incredible' that funds raised by members of the public through charitable events and donated to research into breast cancer should not then be diverted to buying a painting (no matter what the quality or who the artist is)?

Reading that makes me suspect strongly that I am actually corresponding with Tina Fey right now, and that 'Lauran Childs' is in fact a recently invented comedy-character sketch persona à la Borat or her version of Sarah Palin.

This suspicion seems well on the way to being confirmed by the fact that you apparently charge a rate of $50 - $100 an hour for writing that proves to be of highly questionable quality, judging by the books you have written under the name of "Lara Adams" in How to Look Young and Beautiful Forever and Rock Star

On another note, should it turn out to be the case that you are not an invention of Tina Fey's comedic imagination, please be aware that it is not only artists and musicians etc. who get asked to do things for free, but almost anyone who has a particular skill.

I have an uncle who is a car mechanic who is regularly called upon by relatives and friends to do a professional job on their cars, for which he only charges for the parts. I have a number of bilingual friends who are frequently asked to do translations of all manner of things as a favour; and, responding to requests to do so, I have volunteered my time to teach both illiterate British high school kids as well as refugees and asylum seekers from the conflict in Afghanistan.

Moreover, of all my friends who are employed on a quote-unquote 35- or 37-hour a week contract, I don't know a single one who doesn't do 45-50 hours regularly and 60+ hour weeks are not unknown either. Whether that should be so or not is an entirely separate argument, but the fact remains that anyone who is an adult and who has a job will inevitably end up doing work 'for free' regardless of what line they are.

Patrick Brown

I had to look up "allopathic". Apparently it's a term used by homeopaths to describe real medicine.

So basically, we have an artist who demands money from a medical charity because they've got plenty of it and spending it on medical research and treatment is a waste of time, because all those women (and men) with breast cancer can just get better through willpower, positive thinking and distilled water.

She should stand by her principles. If she believes in homeopathy, she should get paid in homeopathic quantities of money. It should have the same spending power as actual banknotes.

David

Minnow,

I too want to stick up for Grayson Perry who has a lot of very acid and pertinent things to say about the phoneyness of the modern art world.

By all means do. Mr Perry may well be a swell guy and he seems to have been granted “national treasure” status, at least among some, but I’m not a fan of his art. I think he’s a better self-publicist than an artist. And to be fair to Peter Whittle, his criticism of Perry centres on how his “daring” comments were very belated and for the most part unremarkable, except insofar as they were delivered in a frock during a Reith Lecture. (As Whittle says, “In keeping with art itself, Perry’s observations were rather behind the times.”) Given the art establishment’s grandiose claims of radicalism and relentless self-congratulation, one might have hoped for something more cutting and precise, and said much earlier.

That said, I’m going to watch Mr Perry’s Channel 4 series All in the Best Possible Taste in the hope of being surprised.

Minnow

Not everyone is going to like Perry's pottery of course (although I think it is very pretty) but it is a little unfair to criticise him up for being inadequately radical when the artworld's absurd claims to daring, shock and radicalism are some of the main targets of his satire. He only wears dresses, by the way, because he likes to and doesn't think he should have to pretend he doesn't. He makes not larger claims for it, he isn't 'his own artwork'. There is no intention to epate the bourgeoisie wrapped up in the tights and heels. Of course a large section of the bourgeoisie do seem to get themselves epated anyhow, but you can hardly blame Perry for that. I don't understand the force of the 'self publicist' criticism either, when your income depends on selling stuff, you had better get good at publicity if you don't want to live in an attic with tiny frozen fingers.

David

I don’t understand the force of the ‘self publicist’ criticism either,

It wasn’t meant as a criticism of self-publicity. The man’s in show business. It’s what he has to do. I just think he’s better at that than at making things that are beautiful.

David

Well, I’ve just watched Perry’s documentary series about class and taste. It isn’t great TV and it didn’t hold my attention throughout, but it’s occasionally insightful and funny (the various definitions of tartiness, fretting about the sugar content of yoghurts, etc). I think it’s more interesting than the tapestries he produced as a result of it, which seemed superfluous. As so often there’s an emphasis on the artwork being about something and relying heavily on that, as if that were an adequate compensation for the thing being visually unappealing.

abacab

To be honest, the "artwork" in question is somewhat reminiscent of what I remember seeing wandering around the pre-GCSE art student exhibitions. It's of a sort with what some of the lesser-to-moderately talented students were producing at that juncture.

And no, I couldn't do better. But then, being a fan of the idea of the concept of comparative advantage, I understand that there are other things I'm less bad at that I could be doing - and, more importantly, that people are prepared to pay me for.

I would LOVE to get paid for doing my hobbies - but nobody is going to in any way that I could reasonably live off, and turning a hobby into a business can rapidly turn you off the hobby. In any case you end up spending more of your time on other issues than the actual former hobby, unless you are one of the lucky few.

Minnow

"As so often there’s an emphasis on the artwork being about something and relying heavily on that, as if that were an adequate compensation for the thing being visually unappealing."

It's surprising to read that because the usual complaint about Perry, what makes him a bit of an artworld outsider, is that the stuff he makes is too pretty, too easy, too obvious in its appeal and not challenging enough. It seems the poor love can't win.

David

Minnow,

the usual complaint about Perry, what makes him a bit of an artworld outsider, is that the stuff he makes is too pretty, too easy, too obvious in its appeal

What I mean about the tapestries is that they rely for their effect on spotting references – a particular ornament, a choice of newspaper - rather than on any obvious visual aesthetic, at least to my eye. They’re more of a collaged puzzle than a visual reward, in that you have to ‘read’ the content, identify the components and guess at what they might signify. It’s hard to engage with this kind of art in an unselfconscious way, which to me seems quite limiting. Though, I grant you, that’s probably a matter of taste. Your mileage may vary.

It seems the poor love can’t win.

He’s a Turner Prize winner with a CBE, a media career and presumably a healthy bank balance. I’m sure he’ll cope with my lack of interest somehow.

Hal

Careful David:

My plan to make a killing with incredibly heavy and uncomfortable porcelain shoes is looking better by the minute.

Noting that hipsters' demand for adulation leaves them with no trace of taste or style, apparently they’re already ahead of you.


An interesting question comes to mind to ask these examples of The Greatest Artist Of The Millenium.

Dear TGAOTM. Following your ongoing and heart rending pleas, hearts have been installed and we need to see which one of two exclusive choices you would accept, you choose, and you can only choose one of the following.

A) You are universally acknowledged as The absolute master of what you do, your name is cheered in the streets, you will be remembered forever, and you get absolutely No payment whatsoever. You will always have to do something else to get food and a roof.

B) You are paid extremely well for what you do and are totally free to go off and do and explore and make and create anything that you wish, totally at will, where you will forever remain anonymous, absolutely no one knows you for what you do, even as they have and make use of what you do every day.

dicentra

I feel sorry for Lauren.

She impresses me as someone who was mistreated terribly as a child and as a result never really matured beyond a certain point. I've known people like her, who end up latching on to certain turns of language or "scenes" and then mimic the tropes so that they can belong to something that seems intelligent or meaningful. It's the best they can do.

As for her artwork's apparent amateurism, Picasso's cubism was often criticized under the "even I could do that" clause; however, when you look at his early work, you see that he could do photographic as well. The stylization and conceptualism came later.

Does Lauren have earlier works that display a talent for, say, portraiture? I ask that in earnest. Because the ability to accurately reproduce a face is the art world's equivalent of music's perfect pitch.

dicentra

Correction: Lauran, with an A instead of E.

My apologies.

Steve

"Your mileage may vary."

It does and always will - as with football and, no doubt, most things about which people get passionate and personal, opinions will always vary and so they should. Earlier in the thread somebody mentioned, with what seemed to be much reverence, the Fall. I remain an old punk rocker with a taste for loud & demanding music but have never been able to figure out the appeal of the Fall even whilst being accutely aware that it seems a given that they (he) are (is) to be respected. Same goes for the Ramones - they just sound like Showaddywaddy on a bad night to me; why they are cool totally escapes me. The point is, it doesn't matter. However great Mark E Smith may or may not be his overall popularity is fairly accuurately reflected in his record sales from which he appears to make an adequate but unspectacular living. I have never heard him complain that his position as an alternative 'national treasure' should be recognised with hand-outs fom the arts council. Then again I haven't paid much attention to him so perhaps he has.

On the other hand if the earlier contributor was referring to the other 'The Fall', the one from which Mark E lifted his band name, then I would have to agree to its genius. My wife disagrees - she apparently couldn't finish it for risk of an outbreak of self-harm.

We both bought our own copies. Voluntarily.

David

Earlier in the thread somebody mentioned, with what seemed to be much reverence, the Fall.

That would be Paul. And I’m not touching that one.

Paul

Steve. Mark E Smith is well-known for his work ethic, something he mentions in practically every interview. And he's on record many times bemoaning the fact that pop groups can get government grants and other hand-outs. He'd be in full agreement with David on this particular issue.

He's always been satisfied with the meagre living he makes and is under no illusions that The Fall will ever achieve anything approaching mainstream success: "Do they think I'm daft? Oh no, the new single didn't get to number one!"

I adore them. But I fully understand why most people (the cloth-eared fools!) don't.

The original Mr. X

In other news, Pope re-iterates Catholic teaching on abortion, leftist mob attacks cathedral in Argentina:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/feminist-mob-attacks-cathedral/

Tim Newman

Aren't we forever being told that obsession with money is bad, and we should all look to increase our spiritual happiness in terms which are not materialistic? Then wham! I'm an artist, and I want money more than anything else - including free publicity. Not very consistent, is it?

I once took a photo in Seoul, posted it on my blog, and some chap popped up in the comments asking if he could use it in his book. Sure, I said, provided you credit me with it, which he duly did (the book was published). I never thought of asking for money, I was more interested in the bragging rights of having a photo published. Now if I had dozens of people asking to publish my photos (I don't, that was a one-off) I'd probably chance my arm at selling the rights to one, and if that was accepted, selling more, and so on until I could plausibly make a living out of it.

What I don't do is start taking random photos and blubbering that nobody is buying them and I might need to go and get a job somewhere. Surely doing art for a living comes as a result of people being willing to pay for your work, not simply by declaring that this is what you're going to do?

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