The Very Modest Artist

From the collection published in 2020, Use All Your Eyes to See.

The Very Modest Artist

The critics have called it art
but I confess
I have never understood a thing about it

I just make it –
and
if you ask him or her or them
I wave my hand to show you
that I include
several people many people
maybe all people
no, they do not
either. Though understanding
isn’t the point, is it?
But they sell so beautifully
and there is such a thing as
the influence of
having a big influence
so of course I agreed
and made another fifteen of them
last week.

Don’t worry. Take your time in choosing.
There are thirty-one more in the back.
Any way you look at it
it’s a great investment for a buyer
or
it’s grill fuel
for next summer’s hot dogs.
Either is fine with me
once you pay and take it out of here.

In the bigger picture
In the larger worldview
I pursue the
the absurdity of it
Of any art, really.
Because next year
I will be stacking these things in my basement.
Mark my words.

What a question! You’ll need some help with
transport. Awkward shapes they are.
Let me get the gallery owner.
You see him there
lurking in the corner
wrinkling an annihilated page of red dots
with his nervous fingers
and grinning.
I’ll handle him.
You bring the car around.

4/28/19

6 thoughts on “The Very Modest Artist

  1. Ha! Brilliant! This poem seems to perfectly encapsulate your philosophy about creating art being a mentally separate endeavor from selling art. I like that idea of not caring about the future life of the art once it has been sold.

  2. Thank you. In all my art show days I have seen art treated as a product much more often than as an expression or an inspiration. And it can get kind of funny, I think.

  3. Over my years of selling art I have seen a lot of artists and learned their attitudes to their work. For so many it is nothing more than a business and the sale is everything. Most of this poem is an exaggeration, but there is a basis in reality…!!!

  4. It seems like there is a balance. I’ve known people who didn’t seem to care what they did as long as it sold and had no artistic viewpoint about what they were doing, and then there were people who were the opposite. I always tried to be middle of the road with the weight toward the artistic vs. business side. Now, I am trying to veer to the art side more, in the theme of pursuing what I want, since I’m not worrying about selling it. It’s hard to erase all those years of conditioning, though…

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