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tom moody

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Types of Artists

This list applies to all creative people but is especially geared to visual artists. I wish critics and art historians paid more heed to these distinctions.

1. Only one good piece in them. This type stumbles onto a work of genius despite general artistic inactivity. Provides valid material for shows such as Jim Shaw's "Thrift Store Paintings," as well as Google Images.

2. Comes charging out of school and then disappears. Probably the majority of artists are in this category.

3. Works privately entire life. For example, Henry Darger, a posthumous sensation.

4. Works publicly entire life--badly. Probably the second largest category. It includes: art professors who need a show every year to maintain credibility or academic standing, artists from category 2 who are canonized before they would otherwise disappear, human steamrollers whose egos will not let them be anything less than financially successful, or some combination of the above.

5. Works publicly entire life--well. Probably the smallest category, the self motivated artist who keeps it fresh through good times and bad, gallery and no gallery, and also engages other artists as well as the surrounding culture.

Most artists who read this will say they are in Category 5. This list is aimed not at you so much as the professional trainspotters who never seem to take these differences into account, resulting in bad survey shows and meaningless constructions of art history.

- tom moody 11-13-2006 3:52 am [link]