Leo Castelli, hero or villain. Taste maker extrodinaire or taste killer.


Can extraordinary people rule by being harder working, more persuasive, stronger willed, more affluent?? Or can they influence by their audacious and willful, connected abilities??The case of Leo Castelli is a excellent example of all of these attributes. This man created the Modern Art World, the artists and the commerce (high prices) because of his strengths and beliefs. His understanding of the nature of artists and collectors. His rich heritage in Trieste and his relatives throughout the Renaissance. Rich people need status. They also need reassurance and tax breaks and loopholes and investments. They are making the money that fuel the arts. But was Leo Castelli right in his choices, in his directions and in his loyalties.

Is the eye and passion of a primitive artist less than great because an art dealer can’t understand it, can’t sell it?? You would say no to this, yet this is exactly how the rarified art world of New York, Paris, Budapest, Amsterdam work. Is the primitive unschooled artist and their passionate work less than the skilled, educated, privileged AND accepted artist that is heralded in the privileged world of collectors and art dealers??

I have been working as an artist from as far back as I remember and I have been in the halls of great artists. I have worked with them, worked for them and also promoted their kind. I grew up in NYC with a talent and the lucky chances of going to special and very good schools for art, taught by some of the legends in advertising, graphic design, photography, illustration, painting, sculpture and architecture. My best friend went on to design Broadway theaters, another has work in the permanent collections of the Met and Whitney museums, another runs a fine ad agency and another is a respected photographer. My credits are okay too. But none of us had a Leo Castelli behind us. Yet we have all made some impact. Which brings me back to the question of the taste makers.

And the ultimate question of what is ART?



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