Art Career 101

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ART CAREER 101

Chuck Ramirez, San Antonio

Jason Villegas, Houston

Kristy Perez, San Antonio

Margarita Cabrera, El Paso

Ethel Shipton, Laredo

Antonio

David Vega aka Shek Lerock

Adrian Esparza, El Paso

Cruz

Ortiz, San Antonio

Kelly OConnor, San Antonio

Robert Beto Gonzales aka Mantecatron San Antonio

Rigoberto Gonzalez, Harlingen/ Reynosa

1. Keep me guessing by leaving your website and event calendar un-updated, factually incorrect or uninformative, visually aneurysm-inducing and incomplete. Whether youre a gallery, a city agency, or an artist, when it comes to future openings and shows, dont keep it a secret. We need information not just from pre-event press releases, but available all the time. Let the experience of the artwork have all the narrative tension or surprise; you tell me what the hell is going on. Lay out what youll be doing and when youll be doing it for as far ahead as possible. Recently, Ive written a bunch of Fall Arts Guide-type stuff. its laborintensive; I survey every exhibition I can get my mental hands on via advance materials, I learn as much about it and its participants as possible, so I can describe my impressions, give some context and make recommendations. In the case of at least 2 SATX/ATX art festivals, there was no calendar, all the events were TBA, and there was no indication of what was

gonna actually happen or when. Im trying to help you out, Bexar County Ex-Convict Dance Therapy Theater Festival. I woulda put your show in my guide, Exploding Performance Artist. Give me the tools to do this. Dont make me try and gure it out and then complain I missed it, or send out a Facebook event days before the event, with no jpeg or link to outside material that might help me contextualize. I need to start thinking about your show before your show. There are a whole lot of variables an arts writer has to keep track of in order to cover a whole city or region. For each potential review, I think about the trajectory of the individual artists development, the overall curatorial vision of the gallery or exhibit space, whether a given collaboration has special features or a history, etc. I decide which show for which artist will reveal the most about that artist, that venue and that curation. I want to have this kind of overview, instead of just successive Facebook invites thrown at me two days before a thing happens. Information helps me divine what trends in modes of thought, or material execution, or collaborations characterize the ongoing process of contemporary art in San Antonio. Or in Austin. Informative calendars help me process whats going on and write

better about it, whether my article is about a one-woman show or queer art in Texas or women curators or institutional failings. Each review is based on an algorithm, kind of like on eHarmony, only with a lot more gay people. Make all your info easy for me to nd. In considering a potential review,I waste so much time trying to nd usable images, looking for stuff to read about the artists involved, looking to see their past work and trying to nd out when the fucking location is open or how long the show is up. 2. If I come in to look at your show, follow me around and tell me about each piece of art as Im looking at it, telling me which ones you really love. If youre not the artist, tell me how sweet and/or crucial the artist is. Then go nd the artist and her parents and introduce them to me. In Britts e-mail, he advised gallerists to Tell me something interesting about the art Im there to look at. Very true! Id add: but not in person, in situ, right as Im looking at it for the rst time. If Im trying to concentrate and take notes, your job is to make sure I have all the information I should have; artists names, a piece list, the artists bios

and/or artist statements, and to be available for questions. The telling me the interesting thing part should come in the advance materials; press release, event calendar, artist or curatorial statement, images images images. In the exhibition space, though, say hi and then leave me alone, thats my druthers. I dont mean to be rude, seriously, Im just working. It takes my full brain to focus on what Im experiencing and give it the attention it deserves, or merits. Let the art speak for itself, rather than trying to gauge or guide my reaction. Introducing me to the artist, whos all nervous and stuff, right as Im looking at their work puts them, and me, in a weird position. Now, if I have questions, itd be great if you were available to introduce me to the artists, tell me what hanging the show was like, etc. I really enjoy talking to artists, gallerists and curators about work. I just need a little space at rst. 3. Give up on me ever writing about you and assume Im not interested. Im overworked. In addition to working my favorite hustle here on Glasstire, I write for various other publications and for other clients so I can pay for healthcare and

socks and shit. Every arts writer I know is in the same boat. There arent enough of us. I know its easy and tempting to think that if I havent written about you, Ive forgotten talking to you about it, or have blown you off. Please dont assume that. I know youre not getting the coverage you should. Keep doing the work, think long-term. And thanks for your patience. 4. Guilt trip me. Good motivators to get me to look at something: tell me of a new change, a particularly difcult challenge, some history about why or how youre doing this artwork, or show, or season. Keep me in the loop, in general. Talk to me in person (but not while Im focused on something), send e-mails, all that. After I write something and youre not included or feel slighted, dont send me an e-mail telling me Ive broken your heart and you feel like jumping off a balcony. I got such an email this week. It riled me like crazy. It came from a person and an institution I like a lot, and have written about, and will write about again. Upon reading his email, I immediately felt shitty. And

anxious. Then guilty. Then ANGRY! Thats manipulative as hell! And manipulating me puts me on the defensive! Fool, if your shit were more interesting, maybe I woulda included it! Or maybe I just forgot. So then I worry about my sanity, and why Im doing this job anyway. Then I look at my bank account and get angry again. Now Ive moved on to acceptance, as regards to this email. Ill write about this place again. But attempts at manipulation settle in the subconscious. I may start avoiding you or your art space or your work almost subconsciously as a result of the whole indignant guilt manipulation thing. 5. Fail to self-promote or generate your own visibility. My friend the artist Richie Budd said to me once that artists who wait to be discovered, a la the whole van Gogh-revered-afterhes-dead model, are sitting on their hands. WORD. In the words of Rene Ricard in The Radiant Child, (Artforum, 1981, that link will give you the whole text but the images are mostly broken): Everybody wants to get on the Van Gogh Boat. There is no trip so horrible that someone wont take it.

Nobody wants to miss the Van Gogh Boat Were so ashamed of his life that the rest of art history will be retribution for van Goghs neglect. No one wants to be part of a generation that ignores another van Gogh. And yet looking at art history we see that these other guys were pros. They started when they were kids. They sold their work. They worked on commission. There is no great artist in all art history who was as ignored as van Gogh, yet people are still afraid of missing the Van Gogh Boat. Dont put me in the Van Gogh Boat, yall! Come out, come out, wherever you are!Don't be like him! Except, you know, painting. Go ahead and paint.

damn thing, but revealing yourself via Facebook, Twitter, internet art as an interesting thinker can only be to your benet. 7. Ask me to write something for free. Times are tough. I know that artists and nonprots and publications are operating on tiny, evaporating budgets. So am I. Whatever you do, do not approach me about writing something for free while also using #4. This kind of thing leads me to write the following actual Facebook update, from Monday:I am done with being guilted into professional obligations, doing stuff for free, not making a living, and just all the bullshit that goes withwhat I let people get away with. No more manipulating me into being your PR arm, whoever. Straw on the camels back freelance business day.

OK, related: 6. Decline to social network; look upon zee Internet as crass or something, and conduct business as though were in 1927. Or 2007. Listen, Facebook can be a good way to get yourself prioritized. For example: put images of your work on Facebook! If Im cruisin around and see a gallery of photos, Ill look at it. Post links to your Flickr account or personal website. Dont go crazy and make every status update in all caps about every

Im not proud of that outburst actually, but I werent lyin. 8. Talk sh*t to me about another artist, curator, or gallerist. Now, if youre an artist complaining about a curator, OK, or a curator complaining about a city arts administrator, cool. If somebody is engaging in an abuse of power,

say, or is exploitative or dishonest, this is kosher to talk about. That may even be need-to-know stuff, for me. But to trash someone who could be construed as a peer or colleague or competitor because they behave in a way you dont like or youre trying to inuence my opinion, your mean-spirited dishing makes me look at your art (whether youre making it or showing it) differently. Or to have to make extra effort NOT to look at your art differently, which is a burden. That shit your grandma said about gossip revealing as much about you as it does the person youre talking about? True