Art for the People

A poem by Gary Beck

(Originally featured in the unpublished collection Too Harsh for Pastels.)


Before abstract painting
people didn’t always know
what the picture meant,
especially the Impressionists,
but they generally figured it out,
or didn’t worry about it.
After all, culture seeking
is a middle-class phenomenon.
The rich do not pretend
to understand art,
only acquire self-enhancing,
important works of art
often at prodigious prices,
applauded at auction
by the cheerleaders of greed,
clapping for record prices.


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), and Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications), as well as Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, and Fault Lines (all published by Winter Goose Publishing), plus others. His upcoming Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will also be published by Winter Goose Publishing.

Beck has also published novels, as well as one short story collection, with another collection forthcoming.

His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.

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