100 Promises for The Art World

Uncategorized May 29, 2006 No Comments

Artists agreeing to Art Life terms.

I _____________________ undertake the following:

1. I will never exhibit my art in a homewares store.

2. I will never agree to do a painting in the street just for money.

3. I promise I will never dress up in drag and think I’m changing the world.

4. I will never charge more than pub prices for beer or wine at an opening.

5. When writing a catalogue essay, I’ll try to stick to just talking about the art.

6. I will accept that some artists deserve to be a success.

7. I recognise that a review that does not coincide with my personal prejudices is not therefore bad.

8. Just because I go around to all the openings I will accept that it doesn’t therefore mean I know shit about anything.

9. I will buy Australian art magazines and I will read them.

10. I will stop saying artists of negligible talent are “hot”.

11. I understand that my partner has as much right to an opinion about my work as I do [no matter how ridiculous].

12. At the first sign of trouble I will blame the News South Wales College of Fine Art for anything even if I live in Perth, Darwin or Hobart.

13. I have come to accept that drawing a picture of a tree is not necessarily the same thing as saving one.

14. I will accept that an artist’s vanity book is not a “learned discourse”.

15. I will stop using the word “discourse”.

16. I accept that a familiarity with Bunnings doesn’t therefore mean that I am a sculptor.

17. I will agree that when an artist uses ready made materials they have appropriated from a found object shop, they could have done so as a conscious choice rather than just as an easy option…

18. I promise to stop denigrating video art.

19. I will accept that video art is dead already.

20. I will accept that since video art is dead already I will not get hysterically overenthusiastic about a “return to painting”.

21. I will eventually come around to the idea that video art is alive and well.

22. I will never ever call my show of drawings “Recent Works on Paper”.

23. I promise to actually visit an artist-run gallery.

24. I will no longer take catalogue essays seriously.

25. I vow I will not automatically always buy the blue painting in an artist’s show.

26. I will acknowledge that just because an artist is famous their work isn’t therefore good.

27. I will acknowledge that just because an artist is unknown their work isn’t therefore “cutting edge”.

28. I will no longer take articles in art magazines 100% seriously.

29. I will acknowledge the genius of art writers.

30. I will see a show before slagging it off.

31. I will admit publicly that just because I feel I have seen it all, it doesn’t mean I have.

32. I promise not to go “hmmm” when looking at a work of art.

33. When I say “I will come back later and look at the show properly” I really will come back and look at it properly.

34. When making up an excuse as to why I didn’t come to your opening, I promise to make it a good one.

35. I will accept that I am not a haunted soul who has seen too much at 22 years of age.

36. I will enter public art competitions in the full knowledge that I may not win it, and even if I do, you know, big deal

37. When I am leaving a gallery I will no longer say a cheery “thanks!” as I go out the door but scream “fuck off” instead.

38. I promise that I will not write outraged letters to art magazine writers just because that person didn’t accept that I am influenced by a prescribed list of artists that I can supply on request.

39. I promise not to threaten to kill someone in writing with my signature attached at the bottom of the email.

40. I promise that I will never again do a performance that includes me making horrible retching sounds with my throat.

41. If I am going to do a performance in a dress, I will make sure that either a] I am a girl or b] I look good in said dress.

42. I will accept that John Ruskin has been dead for over 100 years.

43. I will generously say that young artists are capable of maturing.

44. I will say that old artists are capable of change.

45. I will stop using the phrase “blue chip” as an insult.

46. I will finally realise that getting paid to write art reviews for a major city newspaper isn’t the “top job”.

47. I will say that [person’s name] truly deserved to made director of that .

48. I will understand that children and dogs are essential components of any exhibition opening.

49. I will accept that if I see children or dogs at an exhibition opening, I am in the wrong place.

50. At the obligatory after-show dinner in a cheap restaurant I will pay my share of the booze bill.
51. I will accept that I cannot be an enfant terrible much past 33 years of age.

52. When someone asks me if I’d like some free publicity for my efforts, I will take the offer seriously and not say “sorry, but I’m really busy this week.”

53. I confess that I am no longer an “emerging artist” if I am represented by a major gallery.

54. I promise I will remain an “emerging artist” so long as it qualifies me for funding.

55. I will finally admit that buying works on paper is a waste of time.

56. I confess that owning Aboriginal art does not make me spiritually “in tune”.

57. I will stop stealing mailing lists.

58. I will accept that everyone steals mailing lists.

59. I understand that at 40 years of age, I have emerged as an artist as far as I ever will.

60. I promise to stop resorting to paraphrasing music/movie quotes when in a tight spot…

61. But “what are they going to say when I’m gone? Are they going to say that I was a kind man, that I was a good man, that I had plans, that I had wisdom??? Bullshit man…” etc, etc, etc.

62. I will thank whatever corporate sponsor the gallery director wants me to thank and I will be happy about it.

63. I will accept that plastering the entire city with posters featuring my own face is not a wise career move.

64. When Gallery Director A gets a job at Gallery B when Gallery Director C moves on to direct the public collection of Museum X, I will accept that that’s just the way things go around here…

65. I will come to accept that Gallery Board Member Z was there because they truly believed in the overall good cause of said gallery and now that they have retired I will cease my endless campaign of disinformation…

66. I understand that when I am travelling on a grant that my funding does not cover in-room porn movies.

67. When I am given the plumb job of curating an annual exhibition featuring exciting young artists, I will actually leave the office and see art for real.

68. When arranging someone to launch an artist’s exhibition I promise to choose someone who actually knows something about the artist and/or art.

69. I will find the person who thought up the idea of getting that celebrity to launch that show and pat them on the back with the words “good idea!”

70. I will no longer invoke the name of a French philosopher to justify my boring art.

71. I will accept that all art is the emperor’s new clothes and so what anyway.

72. I will cease to claim that a boring landscape/portrait/still life is “classic”.

73. If I start putting my art on t-shirts, I will accept that I have stopped being an artist.

74. I will stop ingratiating myself with the directors of galleries I have no chance of ever exhibiting at.

75. I will admit that I am underwhelmed by art from China.

76. I will find out why the performance artist crossed the road.

77. I will try not to bring every conversation back to my art career.

78. I will send out invitations to my show exactly two weeks in advance of the opening, no more, no less…

79. I will accept that it is not acceptable to pretend that my art career is as good as my partner’s.

80. I promise to never refer to a gallery owner as a ‘gallerist’.

81. I will remember that artists show in galleries, horses live in stables.

82. I accept that there is nothing wrong with making a living from art.

83. I also accept that not making a living from my art is not the same thing as being a failure.

84. When involved in a group show I will turn up at the end of the exhibition to take down my own work.

85. I vow that my artist run gallery will open on the hours stated clearly on the invitation.

86. I promise never to let the concept of opening hours for my ARI distract me from my social commitments.

87. I accept that a gallery that has exhibitions that are on for one night only [i.e. just the opening party] is really nothing more than an excuse for a party.

88. And when I am minding an exhibition in an artist run gallery, I will not try to turn the gallery into an extension of my bedroom/lounge room/shooting gallery.

89. I accept that artist run galleries make a profit from alcohol sales, so when I ask if I can provide my own booze at opening I will understand that it’s just the same as asking if it’s ok to steal.

90. I accept that the last time anyone put punch in a garbage bin and expected people to drink from it was at a place called Jonestown.

91. I accept that I cannot expect to hang my work on the best wall in a group show just because I turned up the earliest to the hang.

92. Now that I have been included in a group show at the [major art gallery]I promise that I will just relax and enjoy it.

93. When asked for the details of my work for an exhibition catalogue I will provide those details in a timely manner.

94. When asked for a JPEG, 35mm transparency or other reproduction of my work for inclusion in a catalogue/magazine I promise to not just stare blankly into space.

95. I will not pack my CV with made up exhibitions, publications or distort the truth of those crappy student shows I was in just to make it all seem a bit better than it really is/was.

96. I will accept that being a curator is a tough job that no one appreciates.

97. If an exhibition of art from overseas is shown in an Australian gallery I will not blame the local curator for the shoddy late career of Pablo Picasso.

98. I will accept that the reason my career is in the toilet isn’t because of Federal Government arts policy [or lack thereof].

99. I will realise that my early work was crap, but there’s still hope for me yet.

100. I promise that I will never stop complaining.

The Art Life

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