Careers in Modern Art?

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Careers in Modern Art?

From Bernard Arnest

Published before 2005


I have read with care the various responses. I am still considering a career in art. I have, not long, but some time to think on it.

ANYWAY, I wanted to pose a quick question.

What about careers in modern art?

In engineering, or better, business; you hear of managers earning hundreds of millions of dollars as a reward for bankrupting their companies. These are exceptional.

I'm guessing that Dada or Hirsch or Pollock are also exceptional; just as the average MBA, in fact most MBAs, are a dime a dozen. So, just what are career prospects for the average artist of truly poor art? Like the impaled hose or nailed-up hair that someone mentioned winning a contest in a recent post :-) Outside their own world, and beyond Saatchi is also probably uncommon, does the public really buy or care at all? Are those who spend $40k/year on a bs (double entendre) in art finding any better careers than those who are students of serious realism, or are they in for far greater disillusionment?

This is a matter of some importance. Most of my college peers, I find, are with artrenewal.org. The modern art on campus is the favorite target of mockery and disgust. Friends are quite disgusted at 4.301, the intro to visual arts class. This would seem to indicate that the public at large is NOT fooled, and that the true madness is largely self-contained within that art community, within curators, judges, teachers, and students; but not the rest of the world. As a close friend put it crudely but succinctly, "largely masturbatory," only self-rewarding, and self-deceiving.

So, is Joe Public buying that impaled garden hose? The paint splatters? The bronzes that take 10 minutes to sculpt and 10 hrs to cast? Or outside of the art community, if they don't get hired as the next generation's teachers, do many rapidly sink and then go back to community college to remajor in something else? This is much more telling than watching what Saatchi buys, what Hirsch does; these are exceptions (or so I hope), just as Enron does not reflect the state of the economy.

That said, this of course does not address the "schlock," which while merely cheap decoration and not representative of the best, is not so embarrassing to mankind. And I don't mean to ask about artists producing cheap and mediocre art anyway. I'm asking about the scandalously bad art, the "found" art, the art that makes one cringe. Like the welded up I-beams sitting outside the AI building as "art," or the old hubcaps that the 4.301 class hung on a wall that one time *shudder*....