Most artists don’t get paid for what they do, and they are lucky if they can persuade a friend to let them show something at a kid’s birthday party.
After so many years, I feel more American than anything else, but I’m also Romanian and whatever other oddities of temperament I picked up elsewhere, in Transylvania or France, for instance. These days, everybody is both an exile and a resident – they don’t call it the global village for nothing.
Americans are accustomed to welcoming, or at least receiving, refugees from other countries, not creating our own.
New Orleans reminds me of Romania because New Orleans is very corrupt politically.
Even the greatest poets can’t express tragedy in a way that is larger than their immediate circumstances.
My mother and I were part of a deal in the mid-’60s between Romania and Israel. Israel bought freedom for Romanian Jews for $2,000 a head. Ceausescu made a bundle in hard currency. He also ‘sold’ ethnic Germans to West Germany. Instead of going to Israel, my mother and I came to the United States.
Romanians have a particular love for poetry and have a beautiful, vivid language. The poets they love are not versifiers like Vadim Tudor, but genuinely complex mystical souls like Mircea Cartarescu.
Romanians are culturally European, very close to the French. Socially, they are now building a society that is emotionally closer to the Balkans, Turkey and Greece.
There is a slight problem with being a conceptual artist these days: You won’t get paid. But this levels the field and takes the art of money out of the field of serious art. The only conceptual artists who would conceive of making money on the Internet are a lowbrow species known as hustlers.
Real artists free of the tedium of money can use, now, all of society as an idea factory.