PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS GOVERNMENT HACK

QUESTIONABLE ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST invites artists clinging to government brushes and paints to continue this farce. Neither artist nor windmill builder should get a dime of federal largesse, nor oil rigger or corn farmer. We are not an impoverished nation, but we are a federal entity rich in wealthy citizenry who are keen to their own self-interests. We must, as Americans living today in a time of great financial duress, seek to dramatically reassess our potential for making things work. Education of our children and all matters not concerned with the primary duty of government must be ceded back to the states, then to the people as best understood as the rational, self-motivated risk-taking individual of certain cultural and personalized values.

US Constitution

US Constitution or bust

Those who would deem themselves artists, a much ballyhooed label already, need to cut these governmental pursestrings, not clamor for more access to Uncle Sam’s pocket lint…artists must become part of the fabric of the marketplace, or remain outside it. Americans must change their mindsets to seek out the more important things in life, and if that be art, and as an artist myself, I certainly believe it is, then the economics will follow. There is plenty of philanthropic monies in both the conservative and the liberal spheres of influence. Keep the government out of it.

Why should a government which is primarily charged with keeping the guns and powder dry to protect this great union be also charged with paying for propaganda, for and against itself. If indeed we want to keep art and the dream in the hands of We The People, then We The People must find marketplace or alternative ways to cover our own expenses. We take a job. We find a sugar pop or sugar bun. We marry into the dough and perhaps the will of the ever patient philanthropist. We starve our way into first an opportunity and then take our own brutal shot…

How many times have we heard that art is in the grim struggle of the outsider, not the glazed pomposity of leisure?

If there be government grants may they be few and for purposes understood as functional to clean and prosperous absolution of government. Strip the government of bureaucrats and force these people back into the marketplace, now often barren of resourceful talents too long dependent on cushy government arrangements to really understand or represent the regions of influence and production even artists and their legions must learn to navigate or perish into the unknown.

We would that none perish, but find safety and comfort within that slice of society this free individual would represent even if such representation must pass through the fires of personal or group struggle in justification for that liberty that harms no other, but cherishes peace for all. We find history strewn with the lifeless bodies of those who have also cherished peace for all because there is always an opposition party busy in task honing its own measure of power so as to seize upon strategy and the opportune moment to present itself.

There is little more to pursue in borrowing the time-worn insights of prudence and innocense, but take a shot.

Aim free, live free…

GT

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2 Responses

  1. To supplement my own article I will write a couple of comments to get the ball rolling. Let’s say I agree with the general assessment of the article above. But say, I also loathe the idea that financially struggling artists are “expected” to rally and offer their products and services for good cause after better cause, while the only accommodation many times is the alleged wealth of exposure. Of course it is good that artists can and do offer themselves to good causes, but so often the financially secure artists do reap bounties for their efforts, while the struggling artist must continue to pay, pay, and pay again to play…

  2. One must pay one’s dues, but there is something wrong with this system, or the system is simply not expanded enough, which goes to my original point on the arts in general, specifically bureaucratic top-heaviness in considering how government and the media works to clog its own engines.

    A few more thoughts…

    I admit that I do not know if the artist scene is too organized or not organized enough, but it certainly is an interesting question, and one that does not require Federal intervention IMHO.

    All that said, I empathize strongly with what Stevens Jay Carter is saying about the assault on the artist’s time and talent to be everything to everybody. For the most part I believe the DIY meme has failed us. An artist yearns to be in studio. Where are all the other specialists? The art writers, critics, agents? If art is important, every generation needs as many of these aspirants as we need fresh artists and fresh gallery approaches. Everyone wants to be a star but if we just cut the fat and the unnecessary duplicity out of so much of our vocation, we might invent a more expansive logistic and reward for our sacrifices…

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