Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Poet Ponders Things - A Magpie Tale

Image: David Salle's Flying Down, 2006, courtesy Tess Kincaid's The Mag *click here*

September, 2005: To celebrate its 25th anniversary in September of this year, ART + AUCTION magazine asked 25 luminaries to reflect on the changes they have witnessed in the art world.

David Salle
Artist, New York

When I came to New York in the 70s, it was common not to expect to be able to live from your art. I had very little idea about galleries or the business side of the art world. It all seemed pretty distant. When people started paying attention to my work, it seemed so unlikely that somehow it wasnt so remarkable. I made my work for a small audience of friends, other artists mostly, and that hasnt really changed. At the same time, having shows is a way of seeing if the work resonates with anyone else. Having that response, something coming back to you from the way the work is received in the world, can be important for your development as an artist. But you have to take it with healthy skepticism.

When I first started to show my work, the idea that artists were known beyond the art world was still a novelty that excited some people and offended others. I dont think it means anything particularly. The idea seems to be that artists are too malleable to retain their values if they come in contact with the media. Its silly. If you're an artist, its not going to change what you do, and if you're not, then it doesnt make any difference anyway.

I dont think there is much relationship between popularity, measured in prices, and meaning in art. Popularity in art is the same as in politics: Its the result of a reductivist message endlessly repeated. Sometimes the popular is also the best, but its not something you can count on. For all the apparent change in the art world, I dont think things are really much changed for artists. Historically, every kind of artist-patron relationship has already occurred. There is no ideal condition. I still spend most days in my studio, alone, and whatever happens flows from that (emphasis, mine).

From the September 2005 edition of ART + AUCTION.*Blouin Art Info*

The Poet Ponders Things

Thousands follow me
on this blog and yet it's still
me in my ratty
chair - my sit bones ache
if I sit too long and I
wonder how I will
survive. The sun is
out this morning but that's it.
Nothing else has changed.

September 23, 2012 11:37 AM


  1. and there ya have it...just keep writing...keeps your mind clear and your ratty chair warm.

  2. sit bones are aching too...I've gotta get out...

  3. As I bend with a muscle spasm from doing something I have no business trying to do (fixing a floor) I can relate.

    I think we are always changing and the world around is never exactly the same as the last moment that passed.

    Very good info on artist.

  4. Brilliant Chris! The artist as attested to by David in his own world and we as bloggers have lots in common. The difference is the greenbacks flow their way but very rarely to poets much less to bloggers! Nicely!


    1. Hank, the greenbacks flow rarely in the artist community, period. There are as many visual art craftsmen on the internet as there are poets. Google Deviant Art. StumbleUpon and select art. You will realize. And then go to music and check out the volunteer efforts there. We are all penniless and a dime a dozen.

  5. oh I can so relate- I sat down this morning firmly determined to NOT spend all morning sitting-hahahah 4 hours later here I was- gag-
    one does get lost in the ether net, BUT when we hear from our blogger fiends- it's worth it! Thanks for visiting!
    ps I only know the word "bum" from my friends across the pond.

    1. Yes, indeed...across the pond. You think English is one thing but there is English English and American English and for that matter, American Southern and Yankee Englishes, and several stong British dialects, and then there is Indian English (with its hearty Victorian roots) and Australian and Canadian English. There are words and phrases in each that do not appear in the others.

    2. I didn't mean you, Kathe - that's the generic you.

    3. Blogland has made me realise how many shades of English there are - but I'm so glad 'bum' has exchanged places with 'butt'! Hehehe!

  6. My sit bones are aching right now! A cute piece of truth.

  7. I use this seat to talk to folks. My ratty chair for chatty rare. :-)

  8. Thank you for putting the painter's words up for us.
    I do hope that you get up and walk around frequently inbetween bouts of poetry :-)
    Four or five miles a day should do it, in short sessions.
    "Weavers' bum and spinners' thumb" are my downfall :-)

  9. Christopher,

    The words you posted make more sense to me than the words I posted. I don't understand Salle's art. I like your poem, it's honest. It's cold here and chilly/damp. Thanks for sharing. =D

  10. I especially like the last paragraph, as an artist, living with fellow artists all these years. Yes, yes and yes!

  11. are there, perhaps, two worlds? i'm not sure how to label either of them but in one world commerce or money exists and in the other real living, smallness, awareness, prayer, accepted transience and art. i would like to say fuck the money world. truly, fuck it. fuck it so hard that its artificial columns tumble to the ground, but those bastards are busy in their manufacturing plants fortifying cement and asphalt, concrete and mortar. those in the art world are busy breathing...watching the stream...breathing some more.

    an incredibly worthy exploration, christopher.

    but i repeat, fuck the money world. truly. groom the soil, plant seeds, eat, sit by the stream, breathe))))

    (you know that i work only to eat and house myself. i shall run into problems in my old age, surely even before this. but then i'll die:)))


    1. Oh I am already there you know, where the question, "where's the money?" becomes rather pressing because I literally can't go out and earn it any more. :P

      It is almost completely true that it would not have mattered how successful at gathering money I was because the nineties would have eaten all of it anyway. I made it through but if I had had more it would have all gone and I would have made it through the same way.

      Now there is not enough left and if I had made more there still would have been not enough left. That is because there were major bills and a wife and we handled it with divorce and her bankruptcy but if I had more I would have spent all mine (I did spend all mine) and it would have come out the same.

  12. Very poignant observation, Chris. Seems all the greatest of these Mages are crucified when they are alive, and celebrated only when they are safely dead. Cheers

  13. If you're an artist, its not going to change what you do, and if you're not, then it doesnt make any difference anyway.

    I so do agree!!!
    Hugs xoxo

    1. There it is... It would be really helpful if we got that information graciously and early enough in our latest artistic attempts. At least I am desperately sensitive to following what I hope is my destiny and not fooling myself, wasting my time and others' kindnesses as they make room for my wannabe ways. Am I really an artist in my niche? I hope so. I really hope so. It is my biggest fear that I think my shit is good when it is really just shit.

      All you kind people out there please don't try to reassure me. This is really between me and God and we wrestle plenty, we do.

  14. I'm thinking that ratty old chair could tell lovely tales as well as you do!

  15. Excellent post Christopher and I do so relate to those aching bones - and you're right in that nothing really changes...

    Anna :o]

  16. Brilliant! Art is unexplained in a way that it speaks to one's heart. What captures me doesn't necessarily capture you.... the magic of life itself. :)


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