New York 1965 and all that flows from art schools


Bernie and I rode the dog to New York , we stayed at the YMCA Sloan House near Times Square. We visited several galleries including Sidney Janis's rooms which had been in a Time magazine art spread the week previous. The George Segal plaster casts of people were here in primary colors head to toe it was the pressure of the market for novelty. We talked with Conrad Janis the brother of the owner of the gallery, Conrad was an art salesman and an actor when he found a part.That was a telling bit of information because this guy could rap he could tell you all sorts of things it was as if he had the key to how the art world works. The famous South Amerikan Marisol came into the gallery to talk to Sidney she had some kind of animal on a lease. //////// later I remember walking south from the Whitney museum when I saw Jackie Kennedy and she saw me it was one of those moments where celebrities become real people. //////// I remember less and less as I grow older, things used just pop into my head now sometimes the delay can be very pronounced. I think Bernie and I were interested in whether there was an exit from art school. School is good but a person needs to be in the world and when you stay in the art school too long it deadens your dream it makes you feel like you are on the dole. What else can we do with bright over educated young artists? Mike Kelley has been doing art work about the schools he attended and it brings to mind how many years of school we suffer before we are free of the institutions of art. Standing in the system as long as I did really made me ill. More just the absurdity of art education you start to know that very few fine arts majors will have lives as a practicing artist. Not something I thought in my youth. Part of it is the star system which allots a limited number of artists who will be able to earn a living without a day job either teaching or guarding art in museums.

I mean people find other ways to outlet their creative side. Look how many British rock stars came out of art schools. But at best you decorate Macy's windows Or paint ducks for calendars you sell on the internet. It's not a pretty picture, the idea of an artist as a professional culture worker is not exactly congruent with actual career opportunites (*the ones that never knock). I don't have a solution, I suffered many years of being poor after I lost my teaching job. I'm not so sure we educta artists for the real world it's as if a few rich artists suck up most of the gravy. The government could be more of an art buyer but the polarised politics of our times make it difficult for the government to help artists and decorate our nation. I taught too long, my love of Nietzsche and encouraging young artists may have been too optimistic. I mean what world of art exists when we are all about necessities. Art like poetry has a living audience and a posthumous audience, a world to come. But in the mean time we have need of the same things non-artists need. I'm not proposing a dole but rather a marketplace solution. If you sell something you better appreciate how difficult it is to live by sales alone. But you can't give up your life's work because you have less stability and often money troubles as a companion. Van Gogh had nothing so many great artists had no wealth. So you realize your life has a finite duration and you try to work with what you have. It can be daunting but you do see the way it has always been, a few winners and the rest fighting over a piece of herring(See James Ensor).