Cheap Art Manifesto

Cheap Art

Yes, art should be cheap but cheap is a relative term. It can not be so cheap that the artists who make it can not afford to live a decent life. During the Great Depression the Works Progress Administration (WPA) paid artists to create. Whose idea was that?

Many of these artists went on to form the modernist movement in New York in the 40s and 50s. This made New York the art capital of the world by the 1960s. Unintended consequences?

The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann in New York City, and moved to Vermont in 1970. Bread and Puppet has been recognized worldwide for its monumental puppets and political stands on war, poverty, and social justice. Bread and Puppet is also known for starting the Cheap Art movement. Today, Bread and Puppet continues to be one of the oldest nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in the country.

16 thoughts on “Cheap Art Manifesto

  1. Fred Hard 12/05/2014 / 11:18 am

    To paraphrase Robert Frost’s comment to one of my classmates, “Art is what you think it is.”

    • Roger Vincent Jasaitis 12/07/2014 / 4:00 pm

      Hi Fred, the “art is not business” line is so true. The marketing of it is though and that is where we artists have so much trouble.

  2. Sheila Garrett 12/06/2014 / 8:38 pm

    How sad that this page was invaded by ads. I love Bread and Puppet and have been an advocate for cheap art for years. But it’s true that we also need art to be purchased by people who can afford to support artists so that can live decent lives. Ironically and not surprisingly, the art world seems to mirror the disparity of the overall culture. A few artists are hugely successful financially but most struggle to get by and/or subsidize their art with other work. My dear friend Carlo Pittore, bless his soul, lived his life unabashedly an artist. He used to rant about how artists couldn’t make money from their work till they died and then it became valuable when it did them no good and others profited. Carlo died a few years ago. I wonder what his art is worth now.

    • Roger Vincent Jasaitis 12/07/2014 / 3:58 pm

      Sheila,
      Those ads will be disappearing soon. Thanks for the thoughts, I agree with you. I had a conversation with a friend a while back about the disparity in incomes that mirror our society. It took a turn though with the question “would you still make art without an audience?” I thought that I would, he thought that he wouldn’t. Interesting…

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