you patronise everything that I am and want to be and care about and yet I am offered no patronage

The crucial question was whether he could go on living as he wished by doing only what made him wish to go on living.

– James Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1986, p. 264

The Role of Democracy for the Artist’s Poverty

Money worries are a part of attempts to justify an artist’s way of life, and increasing numbers of individuals now claim that life-style by right. The rule that every one is an artist renders ignoble the artist’s worries about money, renders them déclassé, removing class distinctions while reserving the right to put those who do not identify directly with money in a class by themselves, the poor, the artists, the religious nuts.

What a paradox! It is like the answer Giacometti gave to the Swiss Communists: “Everything that I am and want to be and care about is considered decadent by the Communists. Why should I take a stand that eliminates myself?” Substitute the words élitist for decadent, Liberals for Communists and you might see the reversal I am talking about: the mirror held up to a form of democracy which exploits what it excludes where it suits.