Snobbery, Andy Warhol, and Healthcare Reform

White Tower (2004) oil on canvas From the Greetings from Slabtown Series. artist: JParadisi

     Last First Thursday, I was at  Anka Gallery .  The group show, which runs until January, is a benefit for P:ear and Outside In. The  opening was well attended, despite competition from the historic Civil War match in Eugene.   I meant to visit Tribute Gallery , but  became distracted by Olaf Gambini. Then, two separate and intense conversations with two not so different people kept me at Anka.   

     A conversation is intense when the persons speaking start looking around the room, wondering if  they’re being overheard, and if so, what the fallout might be.  

     I met an activist who is still advocating for single payer Healthcare Reform.  I have to admit my disappointment in Healthcare Reform, as the plan I read about becomes increasingly confusing while serving only a part of the uninsured population, for an increasingly incomprehensible amount of money.  The activist has not given up on single payer Healthcare Reform, and I felt hopeful again, even if it’s just my idealism showing. 

     I met an artist earning his living outside of his fine arts career.  I’m intrigued with how other artists pay the bills while staying true to their artistic integrity. It’s a touchy subject for some of us. While accepting commissions for art is considered “acceptable”, working as a nurse, or even in a totally art related field such as graphic art, is sometimes looked at with condescension.  

     Andy Warhol withstood this type of snobbery while trying to break into New York’s art scene.  A successful magazine illustrator, Warhol’s fine arts peers negatively labelled him  a “commercial” artist.  However, the outsider Pop Artist  proved himself a master of marketing, possessing an uncanny insight of American consumerism, by creating The Factory. It became the exclusive hotspot for everyone who was anyone.  You needed an invitation to get in.  Suddenly,  Andy Warhol became an icon and decided who was hot and what was art.   

     Snobbery crosses all societal lines, whether it’s deciding who’s a “real” artist, or who deserves healthcare.