Taras Lyuty

Does an artist need to be paid

I think it was Marx who said that every job should be compensated. But the issue lies in reducing art to economics, and thereby solving all problems…

Seeing as art in today’s Ukraine isn’t independent like in other countries, where the tie to economic determinism is a defining moment in the process of its organization and control. Though, even before Marx, a good always has a price, regardless of its dimension. All of this, without exception, relates to the work of an artist, who stands by the easel with a paintbrush as if by a lathe (or is coming up with something through non-classical means, taking into consideration the development of the innovative expressive opportunities of contemporary art), setting his work in a concrete product.
However, no artist ever agreed to similar primitivism in defining their profession. At least you hope not… There’s currently no need to talk about the sanctity of art, since it hasn’t been able to lose this element fully, even over the many year of secularization. No matter how much dependent on pragmatism, creation in no way relies on it, since it’s an act of harmonious freedom.
This means that apart from overcoming the frames of the normative, and artist doesn’t rid himself of the responsibility for his creation. Though the responsibility isn’t reduced to an external factor, in the sense that there exists regulation – the author has to do something, and there are things that he shouldn’t approach. You can consider responsibility to be conformity with the challenge the creator is faced with. Let them be social conditions or consequences of his leisurely thoughts that are then somehow embodied in the work of art...
The modern level of reflection about the art process in Ukraine is measured not with instruments, but is based on completely barbarian principles. In other words, people who take on “institutionalizing” art decide, first and foremost, the question of their own image. Granted, it would be irrelevant to accuse them of this. But in opening new spaces and involving artists in them, the latter are transformed into hostages of their artistic activity. Therefore, the chance to publicly “shine” becomes the reward for the artist, and not a proper assessment of his work.
The situation is reminiscent of the dilemma faced by a person who is constantly tormented by the question, “Do you need to pay the priest who blessed your home?” The church is a full-fledged social institution that carries out a number of social functions, and so by giving away “one-tenth of our earnings” to its servant, we are apparently doing what is fair “according to the law.” But can you buy God’s grace? This is what troubles the person when wondering “how should I pay”…
It seems to me that the Ukrainian artist is in a role similar to "a priest." He is forced to give away what is most valuable, that in time is transformed into a good, which after all will be packaged in a cover of charity…
 So if someone wants a concrete answer to the question that has transformed into something nearly rhetorical: "Does an artist need to be paid?" then the answer could be as such: until we get rid of the notion that art is a hobby or a handicraft, we won't not just pay for it, we won't think about how much "it costs"…



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