The Artist Who Pays


Plagiarism is like a murder in which the one doing the murdering is rewarded in direct contrast to how well he makes it appear that his victim never existed.

The catch-22 of provincial literature—it would not exist if not for the spirit of democracy and could not exist in a perfectly democratic state.

The motto of the American publisher in the twenty first century—provinciality before prose.

An out-and-out distrust of technology has given many an artist the opportunity to become a curmudgeon before he even reaches middle age. 

The first man understands parody only insofar as it mocks something he doesn’t like. The second man learns through parody what not to like. The third man understands that the parody was created by an artist who likes the very thing being mocked, and by this the third man find’s his occasion to laugh despite his personal taste.

An artist is as much a role model to youths as a tyrant is a prophet to priests.

Before art was mass-distributable, the conceit was that it was a class affair. The concert halls and theaters belonged to the bourgeoisie and the folk-songs and street dramas belonged to the proletariat. Where the imagery was coextensive, the bourgeoisie had robbed from the folk sensibility. Thus began the age of art as ‘entertainment’: with a vulgar peek across the pond at the lives of the common folk.

The artist who puts more energy into making his art than the witness puts into experiencing it is a kind artist, but even then, the artist must learn to be kind to himself. He must learn to expend less and less energy on greater and greater works as he ages, and must expend no energy whatsoever concerning how his work is received.

‘Art for art’s sake,’ you say? And where are art’s borders? Does there not exist the artist-politician? The artist-thinker? The artist-scientist? God forbid! the artist-idler?

‘Pop-music’ represents the artistic constraint par excellence, for where other arts only get a taste of what it’s like to have all of its emotion carried out to only the extremes with every subtlety fallen off, ‘Pop’ gets its own style based solely on constraints.

There are three things that the public will always buy: That which entertains their prejudices, that which caters to their fetishes and that which asks nothing of them. Pornography would have been number four, were it not to include all three.

The dual-relationship between art and culture: Culture came about through ritual constraints. Art came about through cultural constraints. Is it any wonder then that people spend so much time trying to make life into art and, likewise, art into life?

Just as performance halls are meant for the public to catch the artist doing what he does best, so television spots are meant to catch the artist doing what he doesn’t do worst.