David Thompson


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January 25, 2010


carbon based lifeform

"a call centre in east London that employs only artists,"

What? Discrimination! Outrage! Etc!


I'm also pondering identity and gender. Now where's my stipend, bitches?


I would tend to think that working a call center would be all acting, all the time, but I guess some of the poor thespians don't see it that way.

To be fair, most ambitious artists feel that day jobs are an affront to their true calling, and long for full-time art careers. But the notion that this is a problem that ought to be solved by the state is offensive. State support fosters excrescences like Vestergaard. I have challenged everyone I know to explain how contemporary art institutions that receive taxpayer support or are coddled by tax exemptions are different than any other corporatist project, and have yet to hear a solid answer.

You may have missed it when the art critic Holland Cotter announced last year that it was day job time in America, and that's okay:


But this was no heartening embrace of the American work ethic - we're talking about Holland Cotter here. No, Cotter hoped that the economic downturn would cause more work like Vestergaard's, unsaleable and immaterial, to spring up. Another critic at a major newspaper chimed in similarly.


I would like to know what manner of psychic insulation separates creative types from the basics of economics. I'm thinking that these people have that itchy pink fiberglass where their neocortex ought to be.

Mr Eugenides


But where's the government funding for bloggers, I ask you? For £20,000 a year I will render loving pen-portraits of Ben Bradshaw in your choice of fonts. Cheap at half the price.


I’ve often wondered how so many artists manage to reconcile their affectations of egalitarian subversion and railing against The System with their own sense of entitlement and disdain for base commerce.

An Artist

I shouldn't have to earn a living. I'm important. I'm SAVING THE WORLD WITH ART.


Artists can be as brave,transgressive,subversive,as they like. But please, not at my expense.

An Artist

There's genius in the comments:

"I see being an artist as a social engagment. i don't think i am better than my colleagues, but i do think! as Beuys said the need to change, or literally to re-form, is urgent. "All around us, the fundamentals of life are crying out to be shaped, or created." we read "everywhere" that it's time for a change. Mahatma Gandhi said "be the change you want to see in the world." as an artist, I can be that change, but as a shelf-stacker, or a waiter, or an advertising copywriter it's very difficult to be the change and still keep the job. i belive the world needs more artists, more creative thinking and a better and more humaine way of dealing with life. oh yeah, i also belive that stacking shelves can be, if done with the right intentions, Art."


A Situationist, obviously.


I suspect his lunchtime reefer is kicking in.

Karen M


"the notion that this is a problem that ought to be solved by the state is offensive."

It's the Guardian. The solution is always the state.

Spiny Norman

On the subject of the crushing injustice of "inadequate" government cultural funding:


David Gillies

What a day job inevitably means, of course, is spending the majority of my waking hours not doing the thing I love: getting pissed and watching TV.

John D

Another gem from the comments...

"When I left college in the early 80's after finishing my Fine Art degree, I went and lived in Holland for 6 months as some artist friends of ours had been allowed to live in an old disused warehouse by Leiden council. They had electricity paid and were allowed to claim the equivalent of "The dole" to just "be artists." We put on experimental theatre, lived and worked in the same place... This was an investment in the economy... Why have artists take up jobs that people rely on in a time of recession. Why not allow them to claim benefit but not have to job search?"



Unlimited dole cheques, no rent to pay and free electricity... "just to *be* artists".


But think of all that lovely experimental theatre. It’s what taxpayers crave, surely?


Meanwhile, there's this:


The Thin Man

Mr E.

Maybe we can get a little healthy free market competition going in the art world....

For £15,000 a year I will render amateurish portraits of Ben Bradshaw in your choice of pants.



Or, “people who disdain capitalism fail to manage budget shock.”

As the Telegraph notes, the ICA is poorly located in an ineffective building and doesn’t seem to serve any clear purpose, even on its own terms.

“But since then [1947], we’ve all caught up and the climate has changed. There are no more battles to be fought against fuddy-duddy Establishment traditionalists on behalf of the new... Every organisation in town, from Tate Modern to the Royal Opera House, is busily organizing seminars and lectures and eagerly embracing experiment and collaboration across art forms. So the ICA no longer fills a clear function or need... I really don’t see what the ICA’s unique niche is any more, or what constituency it’s there to serve.”



Matthew Elliott, head of the Taxpayers Alliance and a member of the NCF Advisory panel, will be one of the speakers debating the motion 'This country can no longer afford to subsidise the arts' at an event held by the National Campaign for the Arts on March 1st. The debate will take place at Kings Place, 90 York Way London N1 9AG from 7.00-9.00pm. The other speakers are Melvyn Bragg, Simon Jenkins and Matthew Taylor, with Joan Bakewell in the chair.


Robert Speirs

Where's my horsewhip when I need it? Are there no men left in Britain?

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