Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Common as Air"

THE scholar and poet Lewis Hyde is a fascinating figure whose ideas about the unease of art in a market economy have developed him a cult following that includes figures like Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon and artist Bill Viola. (David Foster Wallace was also a big fan.)

Hyde's most famous and influential book -- with the possible exception of Tricker Makes the World -- is The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern Word. His new book, Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership, is, says Gary Giddins in the new Bookforum, similar:

"It too, is concerned with creativity, sharing and communal property; it, too, is repetitive and larded with academic setups; it, too, peters out (Hyde has no gift for climax); and it, too, is indispensable."

I spoke with Hyde when the 25th anniversary of The Gift was released. I found him a very smart guy though I don't agree with him completely: We discussed the ideal bohemia, market triumphalism, and the marketplace friendly art of Andy Warhol. Here it is.

1 comment:

Deborah Atherton said...

Interesting interview - and an interesting take on the basically impossible question of how artists should deal with the marketplace. It feels like every generation has a different answer to the same old struggle--and wouldn't it be fun if Shakespeare could come back and give us a few choice word about his patrons? And we know they would be choice!