Time Enough: An Amoral Tale
'A tale of money, financial intrigue and art world chicanery, this is also, inescapably, a story about the 'little folk,' a Lhiannan Shee witch, and an artist's muse...' The selected excerpt, however, looks at the realities of the art world today. Despite a couple of notable personal successes (2012 - 2013) my optimism has been challenged, and especially so for young artists hoping to make a career in arts. A revelation of sorts (Thanks to a friend from York Region Arts Council) paints a revealing picture of art in the shadow of 'The Culture Industry.' Time Enough: An Amoral Tale - 320 pages, Softback A5 - was published in November 2013 by Lily Publications Ltd, Isle of Man. The first edition is now almost out of stock. Please contact me, or order directly at the following: http://www.lilypublications.co.uk/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=586
The Game of Life
Excerpt from Time Enough: An Amoral Tale
Chapter 20 – 'Art and Life' – pp. 294 - 295
“I’m a bit of a fixture now, Andy, like a bunch of other painters that started back in the 80s. We’ll probably continue to do all right. Projects like this will come along every now and again, and if we’re lucky, we’ll just go on doing our thing. But we really are the lucky ones. We managed to get a foot in the door, back in the ‘Golden Age’ of painting. For artists trying to make a start today, it’s a whole new world. Like Andy Warhol predicted, to be a ‘successful’ artist you need to be a celebrity; it’s not really the art game anymore, it’s the fame game. And to be a celebrity, you have to be an entertainer, which probably explains why performance art is all the rage now, but art and entertainment are two very different things.”
“The papers don’t seem to think so. It’s always ‘Art and Entertainment’—The Telegraph, The Independent.”
“Even then, it’s Art and Entertainment. But never trust a paper that lumps the two together; look for one with an Art and Life section, or Art and Literature. For anyone who wants to be an artist today, in the traditional sense of the word, it’s going to be a long uphill battle I’m afraid.
“One of my artist friends, Samantha, told me a very revealing story last fall, when we were working on that art show for the author’s festival. She and her sister, and a friend of theirs, were playing The Game of Life. Do you know it?”
“The Game of Life? No.”
“It’s a board game, a bit like Monopoly. You go to school, choose a career—lawyer, engineer, artist, or whatever—then you have a family and try to work your way up in the world. The twists of fate and fortune are dictated by the cards you draw. Sam’s been playing this for years and she would always try to be the artist in the game. This is before she actually became an artist, which I thought was kind of funny, because she said she’d usually end up broke at the end, living in a shack in the woods with six kids.”
“You’d think she’d have known better then,” Andy interjected.
“Anyway, this time, they sat down with a newly revised version of the game, and there is no artist career option anymore.”
“That’s what I said. There’s ‘Entertainer,’ not surprisingly, but there’s no artist. It might not have bothered me quite so much if I hadn’t been reading Neil Postman’s book: Amusing Ourselves to Death. He says we’ve all been so worried about Orwell’s nightmarish vision of the future that we don’t realize how close we’ve come to Aldous Huxley’s alternate scenario, where control is disguised as entertainment. Even serious business, like the news, is presented as entertainment today—and the same thing has happened to art. If you party with U2, you’ll be a celebrity automatically, and rich and famous by default. But it’s not really about the art anymore.”
“You must meet lots of celebs though; all those swanky shows you go to.”
“A few well-known artists perhaps, but the closest I ever came to real international grade ‘celebrity’—quite literally—was when I elbowed Sylvester Stallone in the ribs, and shoved him out of my booth at the Art Expo in Charleston.”
“Sly Stallone? You elbowed him in the ribs?”
“Well, not intentionally. He was standing behind me and . . . didn’t I ever tell you that story?”
“No,”Andy replied, sounding almost hurt.
“I’ve dined out on this one,” I added, purely for effect. “Remind me when I come over next time, that’s a tale for the pub—and you’re buying, by the way.”