The Paradox of Art as Work

"The Paradox of Art as Work"

In a NY Times article published on May 11 titled "The Paradox of Art as Work", writer and critic A. O. Scott examines the relationship between art and money. One part of the article in particular stood out to me and is quoted here: "In the popular imagination, artists tend to exist either at the pinnacle of fame and luxury or in the depths of penury and obscurity- rarely in the middle, where most of the rest of us toil and dream. They are subject to admiration, envy, resentment and contempt, but it is odd how seldom their efforts are understood as work. Yes, it's taken for granted that creating is hard, but also that it's somehow fundamentally unserious. Schoolchildren may be encouraged (at least rhetorically) to pursue their passions and cultinvate their talents, but as they grow up, they are warned away from artistic careers. This attitude, always an annoyance, is becoming a danger to the health of creativity itself."

He goes on to make other excellent points that I won't go into here. But I myself have experienced time and again that attitude he describes about art being seen as "unserious", and it annoys me just as much today as it did decades ago when I first experienced it. If the work artists do is "unserious", then I'd like to be able to wave a magic wand and eliminate any and all things visual, aural, written, etc. that have been created by artists throughout the centuries and see what would be left. How many buildings would be missing? How many sounds? What would the world actually look and sound like without the works of artists?

Then let's talk about artists being "unserious"!!!