Pearls from artists* # 298May 2, 2018
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Interviewer: What do you think about the artist being supported by the state?
Parker: Naturally, when penniless, I think it’s superb. I think that the art of the country so immeasurably adds to its prestige that if you want to have writers and artists – persons who live precariously in our country – the state must help. I do not think that any kind of artist thrives under charity, by which I mean one person or organization giving him money, here and there, this and that – that’s no good. The difference between the state giving and the individual patron is that one is charity and one isn’t. Charity is murder and you know it. But I do think that if the government supports its artists, they need have no feeling of gratitude – the meanest and most sniveling attribute in the world – or baskets being brought to them, or apple polishing. Working for the state, for Christ’s sake, are you grateful to your employers? Let the state see what its artists are trying to do – like France and the Academie Francaise. The artists are a part of their country and their country should recognize this, so both it and the artists can take pride in their efforts. Now I mean that, my dear.
Dorothy Parker in Women at Work: Interviews From the Paris Review
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