When Artists Get Together They Talk About Real Estate: A nine-minute TED talk presented at Pennsylvania State University on March 1, 2015
The Myth of the Artist as an impractical impoverished, flighty, and irresponsible creature, dreamed up during the Renaissance, has proven to be remarkably persistent, wending its way into contemporary pop culture, news, and everyday conversations.
In many iterations, the “Tortured Artist” stock character is cast in a familiar narrative of Artist vs. Gentrification, as a romanticized victim who faces the destruction of its habitat by a ruthless developer. In this talk I trace the evolution of the artist stereotype from Vasari’s Lives of the Artists to Seattle’s alt-weekly The Stranger, the habitat-destruction narrative from Hausmann’s Paris to “Rent!”, and relate my own story of upending them both – in under nine minutes!
A longer version of this talk was presented several times through the Washington Humanities Speakers’ Bureau. Here’s a link to chat I had with KUOW’s Bill Radke in advance of one of the programs.