letterscover.jpgLetters to a Young Artist
Darte Publishing/Art on Paper
96 pages, Color cover/BW inside

A painter friend of mine came by to discuss a project/eat dinner and left me this pocket-sized book for dessert. Letters to a Young Artist started as a special issue of Art on Paper magazine and expanded into this little book of 23 letters from various established artists to a fictional younger artist. Fresh out of art school, our young artist asks his/her heroes this question: "Is it possible to maintain one's integrity and freedom of thought and still participate in the art world?" The answers are varied, some are funny (Gregory Amenoff: "Stay away from Art Fairs,"), some are encouraging (Joan Jonas: "The answer is the Work. To Work. To care about the Work.") and some are critical (From great photographer/known crankypants Stephen Shore: "..you may be using your moral dilemma as an excuse for not engaging in your work... Cut it out!"). Each artist approaches the question differently and it seems to me that you get a sense of who they are and how they work. For example, Adrien Piper cautions, "You will develop a reputation for being "difficult," "uncooperative," "inflexible," even "self-destructive;" and treated (or mistreated, ostracized, or blacklisted) accordingly." Nevertheless, I enjoyed and was inspired by this book. I get a strong feeling of community and support in these letters--several of them explicitly instruct our young artist to find and support like-minded fellow artists. "Good luck to us!" says Jimmie Durham. "I love you!" says Yoko Ono.

Buy directly from Art on Paper or your local cool bookstore.

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