Art. Right.

  • One Sunday I was walking along Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, and I passed a gallery that was having a show of ceramic sculpture by one of my teachers at California College of the Arts. The imposing sculptures carried price tags in the tens of thousands of dollars. I found it ironic that should she have a chance encounter on the street with one of her collectors, my teacher, who at that time tended to dress like an aged hippy, would be shunned.
  • A trustee of my alma mater was hosting a party at her home in Piedmont, California. The house looked like an embassy. Her art collection, mostly early California landscape paintings, had been on the walls since the artists had first created them in the 1930’s and 1940’s. The walls around them had yellowed, so that a light rectangle would be plain to see should a painting be taken down. The 150 or 200 guests gathered outside by the pool for some speeches. “We’re all Democrats here,” declared one of the dignataries. “No we’re not,” our hostess retorted. “I’m a Republican!” There was a brief shocked silence, followed by some nervous laughter.
  • When I was managing a printmaking studio, I took a talented street artist under wing. He did an ambitious project with us, and in the process completely ingratiated himself with the owner of the press, an art lover who had made a fortune in manufacturing. This street artist loved to talk about politics, but did not approve of my point of view. He complained to the owner of the press, who then told me that my political ideas were not welcome in his studio. And then I was told that my services would no longer be needed.

An artist I have known and worked with for more than 20 years has been a good friend and a political mentor to me. Not everyone in the arts is on the far left. A handful of us are actually right.

R. Gilbert

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