A compelling takeaway I didn’t include in my post about Richard Nash‘s speech was his emphasis on how writers crave community. This was his lead into a demand-based publishing model, and had a queasy resonance for me. I applied to graduate school for this reason — I wanted to find other writers and gather a group of people together whom I could snipe and gossip about writing with. But this was an error. I don’t think it’s what I nor anyone else needs as an “artist.”
Community is a distraction, one concealing the hierarchies of a dying industry and glomming up the cozy entry-level inefficiencies that once made it possible to make a living as a freelance writer or hack journalist. Community is comfortable, but ultimately inimical to individual achievement. In the nebulous non-being between becoming amateur and professional one is encouraged to wallow in the same ideas as one’s peers, and a close-knit community becomes a self-reinforcing echo chamber of status, etc. The only people accelerated and empowered by such an environment are sociopaths — at least at the level I’m at.
The game changes once you’ve built something worth protecting, which is why [visual] artist colonies (grouped studios, shared leases etc.) and arguably the upper-tiers of the art school swindle function so well — they generate income and reduce inefficiencies — but there is no artistic benefit. And, until every individual component of an artistic community is capable of producing income, community is just another parasite drooping off the withering flanks of postpostindustrial cultural production.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Couch For a Long Time, 2009
Sleet spattered over VIPs queuing outside for the opening of the Whitney Biennial on February 23rd. We suffered in silence, in darkness, our conversations drowned by the monastic groaning of an outdoor installation that cast an eerie blue hue. Dumpling trucks prowled and rogue cameramen interviewed some on a scrap of red carpet. We inched along as the storm intensified, sentries sifting us into various purgatories….[link]
Snarfing pizza bones, nursing my sick Maine Coon who is less wooly and of more pleasant disposition than the above specimen. Even when he has a thermometer crammed inside one of his most sensitive spots. And he had to have his nailed trimmed which means he can’t hold his own against the other two. I’ll add a couple of short prose forms exercises when I have a moment.
Charles Saatchi has all the makings of a James Bond villain. He is masterfully powerful with a mottled international background: born in Baghdad, raised in Hampstead, he’s Jewish and obsessed with brash American culture. Saatchi clawed his way up through the advertising industry, creating an empirewith his brother that swayed elections (favouring Margaret Thatcher) and sold addictive vices (Silk Cut cigarettes) to the masses. He marries beautiful women, drives flash cars and builds lairs in abandoned paint factories and old government buildings. Almost as an afterthought, he has become the world’s first art-collecting superstar, perhaps the only one with real name recognition beyond the art world. Yet he never shows up for events and rarely addresses outsiders. Until now.…[link]
Iggy Pop, the gravelly godfather of punk rock, has mellowed since his howling heyday in the 1970s. But his latest album, Les Préliminaires, would seem almost inconceivable to fans of the smack-addled screamer’s early work with The Stooges. Once famous for guzzling gallons of bourbon on stage, rubbing broken glass on his writhing chest and growling “I Want to Be Your Dog“, Iggy Pop has released an ambient jazz album. And not just any jazz album. Sung partly in French, it was inspired by a novel by Michel Houellebecq called “The Possibility of An Island” (“La Possibilité d’une Ile”) … [Link]