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escrito por nada

escrito por nada
Somewhere Special, United States
November 22
Mostly amiable
I've lived a good life studying people and gathering wool. My apologies to the Spanish speakers among us. My screen name might have better been "escrito para nada". Anyway you say it I'm not getting paid for writing.


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JUNE 8, 2012 11:03AM

Oil and Water

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Last night our regional arts guild hosted the county Chamber of Commerce.  We have our meetings at a local inn and the owner of the inn consented to having the Chamber as guests. This is an unusual move for a bunch of artists.  Lately, though, art sales have been very slow.

It was the Inn owner’s idea to have us display work in the lobby and dining room.  The Inn would get a modest commission for sales and “spruce the place up”.  A few pieces have sold there, but the restaurant is closed now for a number of reasons that don’t all have to do with a flagging economy.

Guild members thought that by meeting and talking with local business owners a mutual exchange of ideas about building sales and improving local business activity might happen.  So, we made hors d’oeuvres and served them with lemonade and champagne.  A crew spent the afternoon rearranging tables and hanging pieces just for the event.  A couple of representatives from the C. of C. came by for planning and offered suggestions for the meeting.

They asked me to bring my guitar and provide soft background music, the kind that doesn’t intrude on schmoozing conversations.  And I did.  We looked forward to a convivial evening of entertaining and meeting new people.

What we experienced was somewhat different from our expectations.

The guests started arriving at the agreed upon time.  They went directly to the hors d’oeuvres, loaded up with food and drink and then went out onto the veranda of the Inn and talked to each other.  Most had no interest in the art.  We gave away gift certificates during a “Jeopardy” game, and the only art sold was a small piece that could be purchased within the value of the gift certificate.  The Jeopardy questions concerned our art.  Most didn’t seem to know where they were, much less the difference between watercolor and pen and ink.  The few people I talked with (it’s hard to talk and play the guitar) seemed uncomfortable making conversation or even eye contact.

This, I guess, is about as much as one can expect when people with such different interests are put into a room together.

In my previous life as a physician I went to a lot of cocktail parties given by physicians and business leaders.  The conversations were about the things that interested the attendees.  The physicians talked about medical issues; problem patients, hospital politics, government intrusion, headaches dealing with insurance companies, and the issues faced running a medical office.

Businessmen talked about business.  They were singularly uninterested in talking about anything else except sports, the second home they were buying, and the problems in getting good help (help that will work cheap, demand no benefits, show up on time, and not complain).  Their political discussions tended to be local, how to get the right county commissioner elected and stop the move to increase property taxes on businesses.

The wives talked about schools, kids, how busy they were – soccer, ballet, church camp – and how catty someone was at the bridge party last week.


On a number of occasions, either my wife or I, made the mistake of trying to talk about ideas.  Wrong move. They were there to see and be seen. So, over the years we went to fewer and fewer parties, held fewer, and then the invitations stopped coming.

You might think that the divide is along political lines, but it is not just that.  True, business people tend to be conservative and artists liberal, but we have some art guild members that can’t talk politics with each other.  The divide is more along the lines of what the group’s interests are. 

One of the things that we found was that there were some closet artists in the business community.  They seemed willing to talk art.

From past experience I have had the experience of finding that in some business people’s minds artists are not on their level.  They BUY art.  They don’t MAKE it.  These tend to be the same people who want to know if you have a blue painting.  The drapes are blue.  “You do?  You want how much for that?  I can get something a lot cheaper at Pier One Imports!”  Yes, you can.

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The site is very slow this morning. Hope that is not keeping people from reading.
The site is slow moving. I finally gotto read but lost my previous comment (unsaved). Another reason to be blue.

I understand your reason of discontent, escrito.
If artists were truly valued in this country, we would have a better outlook on the future. Everyone would benefit.
Artists ARE the future. They generally know what advances science is about to make even as it is being discovered how to better focus on things scientific.
I cite here a fine and profound book entitled, "Art & Physics" by Leonard Shlain.
What a day this ahs been on O.S. Apparently, there is an all out attack by off-shore spammers. Things seem to be going a little smoother now.
Poor Woman, thanks for the Shlain reference. I'll try to find that book. Actually, I came to the realization of the importance of art fairly late. The "ah ha" moment came when I criticized the expenditure of a considerable sum of money on statuary in the lobby of the hospital I worked in and an associate and good friend - an artist and physician - chastised me, pointing out the fact that the world would be a pale place without the D' Vinci's, Michelangelo's, and Van Gogh's of the world. This took me back to Art Appreciation in College - one of my most enjoyed courses - and I began to rethink the relationship between art and the professions. As you point out, art informs most of the rest of life.

Fusun, nice pun. Like you, I have been very frustrated today. When I tried to go to your site I got nowhere. I hope that O.S. survives this.

Art is so important. For creative people it is their raison d'etre - the purpose that justifies their existence. I can't say that I am an artist. I try and that makes me appreciate the work of true artists so much more.

The concept that art informs physics if very interesting. There has been the question for sometime as to whether art imitates life or life imitates art.

I recommend
"There is no art. It is all dreaming."
Blue and sofa-sized! They probably liked your playing a lot more than they would ever acknowledge to you.
nilesite, ya think? Actually, I got a few compliments.
I always wanted to do a one man show of furniture with paintings of the furniture hung on the wall behind the furniture and sell the furniture and the paintings as a package.
That philistine element isn't exactly unknown in the business community escrito. One of the factors that drove me from the corporate world after the traveling days, was the near impossibility of having a decent conversation with and of the employees. I agree too with your larger observation that it is increasingly seeming like different tribes who no longer speak a common language.
ugh. i am sorry, escrito. those are some bad attendees. i hope its better next time.
Yeah, business folks and artists very rarely mix!!! Next time invite some comic book geeks! ~:D

I have been in those situations, in which I felt like I was on the wrong planet. How discouraging for all of you! I wish I could have been there to see the art, although I find cocktail parties excruciating.
High Lonesome, I wish you could see it, too. The guild has over a hundred members, most of whom are 2-D artists. There are a few folks who do ceramics, basketry, sculpture and work in wood.
I hear you about cocktail parties.
JMac1949, I once went into a men's room that had pictures of urinals with flowers growing in them mounted over the urinals. Art imitating life, sorta. I like your idea better.
Boy, can I relate to this post, Escrito. Been there, done that. I've stopped going to chatty, mindless professional networking sessions for the very reasons you cite here. R.
Your post reminds me of my days in Orlando. I would occasionally, thanks to a friend, get tickets to Florida Symphony performances. The music was always wonderful, what was not so wonderful was the realization that many -- if not most -- of the people who attended were not there for the music, but as you observed, to be seen in the "right" places, seen in the right clothes, and seen by the "right" people.

That was irritating enough, but what made these occasions truly maddening was the knowledge that taxes underwrote the Symphony to the tune of $500,000 a year. Meanwhile, our group Friends of Florida Folk couldn't get a nickel to underwrite our concerts.

I believe it was F. Scott Fitzgerald who observed that the rich are very different from the rest of us. Oh, if he could see just how much more true that is these days!
I was interested and amused by this article because I've experienced the same thing before in a number of different ways. I love that blank gaze when you start saying something somewhat in depth. I made the most giant faux pas at a couple of these events by talking to someone for more than five minutes. Out of discomfort I used to fasten on someone and practically hold them hostage ... I didn't even realize they were squirming with embarrassment. It later came to me that you're supposed to circulate.

Well, I'd rather be in a museum or reading any day. Thank god I have my son to hang out with for now.
MWG, glad you have MWG's son to hang with. My favorite huants were bookstores, museums, art movie theaters and the like. I say "were" because bookstores are about to go the way of T. rex.
Escrito, the site is slow, but when you get a chance, I think you will like reading the following blogger's work: Enjoy !
Yes, I know this phenomenon. Something that has been somewhat effective in some cases is to invite an articulate artist to give a demonstration/hands-on talk at the gathering, and make sure to get some art fans to commit to attending and asking some intelligent quesitons (in other words, 'salt' the audience with a few 'ringers.'). That didn't 'solve' the problem but attracted some people's attention.