Wednesday, July 18, 2012

BE NICE (and other art world tips)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM


You’re a dickhead. Don’t worry— we all are. I tell you this, because according to Ph.Dickhead POWHIDA, none of our art friends will ever, ever do us the favor. Says POWHIDA:

If you're an art world insider like me, a regular dick is someone you can lean uncomfortably close to at any social engagement and say "Shut the fuck up, dickhead," without worrying about your art career. An art world dick is someone you run into at an opening, greet warmly (maybe even give a brief hug) and stand there listening to their bullshit before politely excusing yourself and quietly telling your friend, 'I never thought that dickhead would shut the fuck up.’

So shut up, dickhead! That’s easier said than done for most of us, so I ran to the nearest art professionals for the proper shushing.

Don’t call anybody. Postmasters co-founder Magda Sawon tells me that she “truly appreciate[s] effort that goes into research prior to bugging people for easily obtainable stuff.” After email, gchat, Twitter, and Facebook, she believes that one ought to be prepared with a “vast amount of info” before resorting to a phone call. She’s right about that; instead, always Skype. In the throes of a SHIT-SHIT-MY-INTERVIEW-IS-IN-FIVE-MINUTES-panic, you can always Google what your interviewer/colleague/donor is talking about take notes!

Speak softly, Warhol. Don’t tell anybody you’re here. “In my experience,” says artist Man Bartlett, “the best way to hear about a person's work is word-of-mouth, and hopefully not that artist's mouth.” He means that he tends to learn about artists through friends and from the web. “...I'm often more likely to be interested in hearing the opinions of people I already know and trust,” he says, “Though randomly finding artists (especially via Tumblr) is always a treat.” Shush, Man! You’ve exceeded your daily word limit!

Don’t be flip. Hyperallergic founder Hrag Vartanian responded in an email that while most standard postcards end up in the trash, “[f]ollowing up via Twitter, email or phone, is also a good idea, but don't get offended if you don't get a response, since most of us get 100+ emails, press releases, etc. a day.” And don’t be “flip,” he adds. “Take your time and formulate a clear thought.”

Keep some humility on tap. “If I was easily embarrassed, I would be in another line of work,” says Robert Hult of Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery.

So in review: don’t ask for the bathroom, don’t touch anything, and for God’s sake, shut. up. And if that fails, then go ahead— be a complete fucking asshole. Make people drink reindeer piss. Sell them your poop. Throw cheeseburgers at a passerby. Make a scene of it. People won’t want to know you, but they might want to watch you.

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