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It’s Not What the World Needs Right Now | Andrew Norman Wilson

🌈 Abstract

The article is a first-person narrative that follows the experiences of a contemporary artist over several years, from 2016 to 2024. It explores the challenges and struggles the artist faces in navigating the art world, making ends meet, and pursuing their creative aspirations.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Artist's Experiences from 2016 to 2017

1. What were the key events and challenges the artist faced in 2016 and 2017?

  • In 2016, the artist was living off of Medicaid, food stamps, and $20k annually since graduating from art school. They were showing new videos in different biennials, including "Ode to Seekers 2012" which was a loose adaptation of Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn."
  • The artist moved to LA to become an "LA Artist" and faced challenges finding a place to live due to their unconventional income sources. They lied about their living situation to be featured in an Artsy listicle.
  • In 2017, the artist was offered a room in a mansion for $900/month, which they felt was like winning a "WASP LARPer lottery." They were featured in a Barneys New York catalog, but negotiated a lower rate than the typical model.

[02] The Artist's Experiences from 2018 to 2020

1. What were the key events and challenges the artist faced from 2018 to 2020?

  • In 2018, the artist was selected as a finalist for a professorship at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, Germany, but was not selected due to being male.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the artist's living situation became unstable, with their rentier canceling a trip and kicking them out. The artist returned to LA and finished teaching remotely.
  • The artist was awarded an artist residency at La Becke on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, but faced setbacks when funding for their project "Art Director" was canceled due to the pandemic.

[03] The Artist's Health Issues and Transition to 2021-2022

1. What health issues did the artist face, and how did this impact their artistic and professional pursuits?

  • In 2020, the artist developed a sharp pain in their abdomen and persistent nausea, which was later diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome related to a protruding floating rib. This severely impacted the artist's ability to work and travel.
  • The artist had to undergo surgery to address the floating rib issue, which improved their digestive issues. However, the artist continued to struggle financially and creatively during this period.

[04] The Artist's Transition to 2023-2024

1. How did the artist's situation evolve from 2023 to 2024?

  • After the successful surgery, the artist's digestive issues improved, and they were able to take on more commercial work, including a skincare ad, music videos, and a romantic thriller film project set in Switzerland.
  • The artist felt they had become a "retired contemporary artist," with their past video works being collected by major institutions, but no longer actively pursuing new gallery exhibitions or teaching positions.
  • The artist expressed disillusionment with the art world, feeling that it was caught between the demands of "yacht owners and delusional incompetents," and decided to "defect" and pursue more commercial opportunities.
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