Entrepreneurship by Deborah Fisher on Sellout – reprinted post from February 3, 2008

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2008 Creative Baltimore Fund Individual Artist Awards


I was talking to a friend last night, and we agreed on two things:

1. Every truly successful artist we know thinks like an entrepreneur and not like a starving artist.

2. This requires fantastic flexibility of mind. Not only do you have to overcome all that pre-programming you get in school, but in the case of the current kings and queens (Serra, diSuvero, Bourgeois, et al) you had to do it in an environment that had nothing to do with business or money or power.

All those bluechippers didn’t get famous by waving slidesheets in front of powerful people. They helped one another create opportunity out of nothing. Entrepreneurship is seeing and exploiting possibilities. Seeing and squeezing the fruit that is in front of you. It’s an astoundingly creative way to look at life, but with none of the victimy artist mythologizing.

Things are different today than they were in the sixties. Paula Cooper begat Marianne Boesky–power concentrated in specific places. There is a specific game you can play. I honestly believe that playing this game soely on the powerful-people’s terms will get an artist all the way to the conservative middle. I think that if you want to do more than that, then it’s best to go do something. Help someone. Don’t even worry about whether or not it’s art. See and exploit every opportunity, not just the ones we have all been conditioned to see.

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