When Guest Editorial Contributor Stuart Horodner first approached me with his concept for this issue of Art Lies, “Second Acts,” my first thought was that it would be a novel departure from the rigor and density of recent issues. Stuart proposed the commissioning of essays, projects, recipes, images—you name it—by artists, curators and writers who are deeply engaged in “other” acts, be they gardening, cooking, fishing, traveling or collecting.
As our discussions continued, it became apparent that his concept was not as straightforward as it first seemed. People generally do not think of creative types—artists in particular—as being in need of respite from their work. This fallacy is either indicative of a romanticized notion of what it means to be an artist (or curator or writer) or systemic underappreciation of what it means to have a real studio practice. (Q: Why in the world would someone need to clear their mind if they get to listen to music and fuss about in the studio all day? A: Well, dear, because that is their J-O-B.)
Thus, as it turns out, the premise of Second Acts is a bit deceptive in its simplicity because it addresses the multifarious rituals of assigning value. Being a self-sustaining, full-time artist/curator/writer requires a set of skills not unlike those in other professional arenas. When an artist or writer sits slack-jawed, tapping a pencil on their desk—and trust me, this can go on for hours—their wheels are turning, often at lightning speed and in ten different directions at once, but this is not a process for which we are directly rewarded. However, when a lawyer does exactly the same thing it is called billable hours.
The endeavors chronicled herein may be deemed hobbies by some, but they could also be considered passions, social experiments—even coping mechanisms that counterbalance the often hermetic nature of artistic practice. One can easily draw a corollary between these “second acts” and each artist/curator/writer’s public work. And, as Stuart pointed out, highlighting the wonder, joy, recognition and satisfaction gained by “additional” endeavors offers insight into the complexity and/or contradictions involved in attempting to separate a person’s primary and secondary interests—to dislodge what one does for money from what one does for love, for release, for relief—and what we are willing to risk in the process.
Anjali Gupta, Editor