The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating conversation between Deborah Kass and Amy Lincoln, two women artists separated by a generation and transformative economic epoch:
Ms. Lincoln: Now I work for a prop stylist on photo shoots, usually less than 40 hours a week. I make $200 to $250 a day, and that’s for up to 10 hours.
Ms. Kass: I worked a waitress job at this really butch SoHo hamburger joint, Broome Street Bar. I have great memories. I think I was making $15,000 to $19,000 a year, but I could live like a queen on what I made at the bar three nights a week. I had a car, summers in the Hamptons. I had my loft, I walked to work, I had pals, it was fantastic. […]
Ms. Lincoln: In Chelsea, there’s an art market, but there’s no access to it. So we created our own scene. It’s hard to imagine how you even break into Chelsea. Nobody I know has done it.
I’m selling about one work a month, getting $300 to $700. It’s about 10% of my income. It helps. I thought I should raise my prices. But there’s a limit to what you can charge or it’s never going to sell in Bushwick.
Ms. Kass: In the ’80s, with Reganomics, everything started changing. “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” Money became very fashionable. It was the tax breaks for the last 30 years that made the art world into what you expected to be a part of. It’s the one place where trickle-down economics worked. After I got fired from my job in 1981, I never had to work again.
Ms. Lincoln: Now that is success.