How the IRS Defines Art

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In an essay on Narrative.ly, Alison Gerber recounts the rather harrowing IRS audit of Minneapolis artist Venus DeMars:

Sometimes the line between professional and amateur is a clear, bright one. But in the United States artists are, for the most part, just artists, moving in and out of day jobs and commercial work, employment and unemployment, windfall and drought: professional artist, serious artist, working artist, real artist. Around here, these are fighting words. They mean so much in part because we don’t agree — can’t agree — on what they mean.


Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →