Day-Job Time

“It’s day-job time again in America,” declares the NYT’s Holland Cotter, “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.” Of all the adjustments the art world is going to have to make to the new economic realities, getting a day job to support nighttime art making may may a bigger trick that Cotter’s breezy declaration suggests.

First of all, many artists will probably beat a path back to school, only as instructors rather than as students. Keeping our artists in universities isn’t automatically a bad thing, but it will have an effect on the art, for better or for worse. And just as art has evolved since the days cutting up a SoHo warehouse was a fresh aesthetic statement, the marketplace has evolved as well. An anemic stock market isn’t going to exorcise the art market of the “cadres of public relations specialists . . . who provide timely updates on what desirable means.” The art market will remain parochial and crass. Only the checks will be smaller.

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