• Meredith Jack

For Right at this Moment, Random Musings

At this point primary concerns are finishing up the on-line Art Appreciation course for Lamar (Done ! thank whatever deity you wish), and getting the "Back in Black" show off to Beaumont (the truck comes Friday). So now my official status is "recovering academic" and at the same time penurious older person. But, I've been broke before, several times.

But my question to myself stems from the final assignment, where I asked the students to speculate on what they thought the future of art would be. They didn't have a cohesive answer, but a reoccurring theme was that young people should be educated and exposed to art more often and more exhaustively.

I have to agree, if for no other reason than enlightened self interest. If people are not exposed to art in a more than lowest common denominator fashion, who are the next group of patrons? Artists have to eat too; most have jobs, many in my recently vacated employment, but that's not an answer even if they can get a teaching position.

Besides the "art world" has a mixed response to academics; on the one hand they have a certain respect for the title of "professor", but it seems that once one is employed the world sees the artist's art as somehow lesser than those who are not employed and theoretically untainted by a marginally above poverty living standard.

I've always thought that this is a holdover from the days of the "romantic" artist's life, epitomized by Picasso in Paris at the turn of the last century. He and his compatriots would be seen in the bars and cafes until the wee hours and everyone assumed that they then slept all day, only to return to the cafe the next evening. Picasso went back to his studio and painted all night, slept some, and returned to the cafes. Actual studio practice was hidden from the general public, much like artists are today. I only know of a few, very successful, artists who actually encourage observation by the public. I certainly don't want a bunch of folks looking over my shoulder. Consequently, I'm hidden away for days at a time, only coming out for groceries or openings.

Years ago the University of Texas hired a feminist artist out of New York as a "visiting professor"; she replied that she couldn't leave NYC for that length of time because people would forget her, regardless of her notoriety. I used to think that was the product of an inappropriate anxiety. Perhaps she was more correct than I knew; I seem to be forgotten weekly.

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