Artists suffer enough indignities at the hands of gallerists, they don't need to take shit from their assistants as well. I once knew a young girl, fresh out of college, who was in her first year of looking after the floor of a small, city gallery. At first, she came across as quite smart, energetic and eager to help. Then, after a couple of weeks, she started to pretend she was a real gallerist. Every time we talked, she aped the snotty, patronising 'tude that her boss assumed every time artists were around. Nearly ten years younger than me, she took to calling me hon' – with the same, wearied tone a mother uses when placating a wayward child. She also thought it was OK to call me Haz, even though my closest friends wouldn't dream of it. When I questioned her about something to do with the way my show was being handled, she'd argue (like I'd never done a show before) or she'd tell me, "Don't worry, hon', got it under control" – although within minutes it'd become obvious that it wasn't.The poor little twerp thought she had a foot on the first rung of a career in the art business. She'd learned all the wrong things from the gallerist who employed her and now she knew it all. Certainly she knew more than the bloody artists, dealing with whom really was the messiest, least enjoyable by-product of her vocation.
One day, someone like her will step over the line with me. Then, when she – or he – tries to play 'put the artist in her place', I'm going get all Jackson Pollock on their ass. There's something to be said for a little '50s, abstract expressionist-style ass-kicking now and then. The spirit of Cedar Tavern lives!