Just Say No

The enduring romance of the hedonistic artist ignores another, more compelling creative impulse — abstention.

An original work for T magazine, ‘‘Because I Have To,’’ by Duane Michals. Why do we so love the myth of the intoxicated artist?

By Wyatt Mason Photographs by Duane Michals
The Artist’s Life


A PREVAILING NOTION of the lives of artists holds that hedonism is a meaningful part of production. The slide projector on the subject has no shortage of famous faces: There’s boozy Faulkner, banging out novels and screenplays while pickled, and...

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