Here, IOZ questions the sellout soul-crushing that may have led to artist Mike Kelley's suicide.
Nutellaontoast comments, "It's a little known fact that the original Sistine Chapel was painted on the underside of a bridge..." I.e., "Michelangelo sold out, too."
Indeed, many (most?) artists remembered by mainstream history are nothing but that; the best ones, who weren't willing to sell out their talents and souls to religious this or lordly that, are vanished, so far as it appears from here.
The question then is, does recognition--current or historical--hold the only value? Should you give up (or at least despair) if the Pope isn't paying you to churn out absolutist propaganda, or if you aren't at least subcontracted into the art direction department to spruce up the new-model GM vehicles in Transformers III--or to lend your brush to bring color to the latest orcs v. humans battle story or video game to teach basic resource allocation tactics to the next generation of low-ranking military officers?
Or, is this all a trick on the lot of us? At the end, will everyone on the A-list and in your 8th grade history text end up in Hell, and everyone who refused to sully the world go to Heaven? Maybe Kelley realized the truth and redeemed himself at the very end. Suicide as art, a la Hide.
If you do end up in Hell, your punishment is an endless lecture series chaired by Jackson Pollock, in which generations of great thinkers explain, one after the other, why Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical sketches and military blueprints were the crux of human civilization at the time.