Tyler Green posted something yesterday that Jerry Saltz said, and that he agrees with - that "very few artists have 30-year careers". That set Tyler to thinking and today he's posted a follow-up stating "lots of artists have 30-month careers -- they have one or two ideas, they burn through them, and there's nothing left. A very few others have 30-year careers".
Holy crap, that's not true!!! Lots and lots and lots, MOST artists, have 30-PLUS-year careers! I think Jerry and Tyler must mean 30-year careers of critical attention and financial success. Thirty years without a day-job. Yes, that is exceedingly rare.
To his credit, Tyler is going to try to spotlight some overlooked artists, or rather "artists who jumped the shark, or who simply stopped making work in the public eye. They're the art equivalents of one-hit wonders", starting today with painter Paul Wonner. Gosh, I'm sure Paul is extremely grateful for that.
Actually, I'm a little confused from Tyler's post whether he considers Wonner a 30-monther or a 30-yearer. He does acknowledge that Wonner is still working and had a 2004 solo at John Berggruen, but seems to dismiss all of his work of the last forty years. This painting and the work above were both painted by Wonner in 2003, when the artist was eighty-three.
The depressing part here, for all of us artist losers, is that Tyler considers Wonner, who has been exhibiting consistently (mostly in California) for more than fifty years, to be an artist who isn't making work in the public eye. Most of us thirty-yearers can only hope to be as unsuccessful for as long as Paul Wonner.
RELATED: excerpt from Chris Martin's Brooklyn Rail interview of James Siena -
"Rail: So you have been on the path to becoming a painter for a very long time.
Siena: Yeah, it’s been going on for about forty years of training"