Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dead Woman Walking

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!


Jake D. said...

How many of these women (and men) there are in this business! I know a score of them in New York and even more in London. Really love this anti-gallery jihad your waging and like the other artists who have commented, I'm with you!

Anonymous said...



Lisa Rasmussen said...

I appreciate your smart honesty.
The gallery system is so old paradigm and needs a radical transformation. Why is there traditionally so much snobbery to the artist as well as to the audience and when you our a collector your ass is kissed. $ money, distorted money.
It makes people feel dis empowered and say" I do not know anything about art." I am powerless to respond. When art is so intrinsic to all us of us and we all have an intuitive response. "The artist is merely the channel" as Paul Klee stated.

Lisa Rasmussen said...

I was wondering as Blogger, would you be open to an interview with you via the Blog on Artismoving
As I read your Blog, I think you totally grasp the power and the importance of the internet as an artist today.
As well as the need to create a new paradigm for the artist/gallery/collector/ and audience on a global level.
Let us know

Lisa Rasmussen said...

Awesome Hazel!!
Thank you for agreeing to do an interview. We will e-mail you in the next couple days. You will add so much to the dialogue-art is moving...

artcanyell said...

I see similar attitudes from the lawyers at work now and then, i.e. they say stuff like the least enjoyable aspect of their job is dealing with the clients. This is a running joke amongst some but its not really funny. Its just vapid arrogance as they know that without the clients they would have nothing to do and no income. Its a pretty mediocre outlook when lawyers don't respect their clients and gallerists don't respect their artists.