A group show at the Blanton Museum of Art breaks the taboo on artists discussing, and drawing on, their day jobs. Yet this stigma still exists.
In reality, most artists, even most great ones, also have day jobs. During the late 1950s and early 60s, the staff at MoMA harbored grand ambitions. The painters Robert Ryman and Robert Mangold were guards, curator and critic Lucy Lippard a “page” in the museum library, minimalist Sol LeWitt worked the desk and sculptor Dan Flavin ran the elevator. (Miriam Takaezu, an employee in Personnel and sister to the famous ceramist Toshiko Takaezu, apparently took it upon herself to hire artists.)
Work from this MoMA cohort introduces “Day Jobs,” a group show of 38 artists at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas. The exhibition blows through the polite separation between artwork and money work. Not only does it name, in wall label after wall label, what each artist did to keep the lights on — it demonstrates how artists drew techniques, subjects, even inspiration from their diurnal grind.
Put another way, the show refutes the idea of the spontaneous generation of masterpieces. Far from it. Great artists need the Read more…