Most artists I know, and heck I have to include myself in this list, want their work to be universally like. More than that, universally loved. We love what we do, so why, why, why, why (why, why, why) wouldn’t everyone else in the whole world.

Alas, the arts doesn’t work this way. In math, for the most part, there is one final answer. Forty-seven. That’s it, turn the lights out, let’s get out of here. The arts are subjective. The response to a work of art has so many factors the least of which is the baseline good or bad. A work of art can be experienced by a thousand different people and there could be a thousand different opinions on the work. There is always an individual personal aspect to the arts.

What you should really strive for as an artist is the extreme. Passionate love and passionate hate. An extreme reaction in either reaction means that your work strikes a cord. There’s nothing worse than the ‘meh’ reaction. Meh=fail.

I try to exist in a state where I can appreciate passionate hate. It’s not easy and really, I’d just rather everyone love my plays and be done with it. But that is not the purpose of being an artist. The purpose is passion. That’s important to instill in young artists. Pursue with passion and strive for a passionate reaction. If you do that, then you have succeeded as an artist.

In the New York Times this week critics Charles Isherwood and Alastair Macaulay discuss the newest Twyla Tharp show. One loved it. One loathed it. Has Tharp then succeeded as an artist?

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Lindsay Price

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