The Business of Art by Lee Caplin (3rdedition)
A Review by Andy Derryberry
In interpersonal commerce there is nothing I value more thanhonesty. What I found in The Business of Art was honesty thatshould chase the faint of heart away from the artist's life. If youwant to feed yourself, much less a family, with the fruits of yourartistic endeavors then be prepared for a lean and probably mean life.These are not editorial opinions. These are live reports from the frontlines.
Not that producing art will do anything but improve and ennoble.It's all the other messiness of life that creates the pain. Yes youwill suffer if you want to commit 100% to your artistic endeavor. Thebroader world is not interested. For the most part it is too involvedin the materialistic chase to know or care about art. Art is onlyuseful to one-up the independently wealthy, and the value of the art isin the game not in the art.
The Business of Art doesn't discourage the pursuit of one'sart though. It is just honest in expressing what the artist will haveto deal with in the non-art part of life (that is everything besidesthe actual production of the art). Yes, just about everyone must dealwith food, taxes, broken down cars, leaking plumbing, hospitalemergency rooms, etc. The book has a good deal of valuable, practicalinformation for artists or anyone who wants to manage their lifesomewhat instead of being run over by it. For the non-artist the bookcan be a fun look at the life lived by some folks who may actually endup in a history book.
And there is a great deal of information on how the art worldoperates today. Is that the way the art world will operate in thefuture? Who knows. However, being somewhat prepared is better thanbeing a bleating sheep in a world of long fangs. Knowledge empowers forthe known and also the unknown.
So do you buy the book? If you have any interest in the artist lifeor just want to plug into a specific form of reality, go ahead and buyit. In addition to practical information that anyone can use, you mayfind that the grass is greener across the fence because your neighbor'slawn mower is broken.
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