I want your souuuuuuuuuul… and a £25 submission fee, and a massive commission fee, and some other fees that are hidden in the small print, and…
I’ve been helping several correspondents do detective work on some artist farming businesses who’ve tried to pick them up recently. My definition of artist farming is taking money from artists for vaguely defined services or for promises of success or sales that are deceptive and otherwise not as advertised. These schemes and businesses promise a lot but usually achieve little or nothing positive for the artist; they may indeed damage an artist’s credibility and their prospects of being taken seriously. They certainly don’t have the interests of artists or art buyers at heart in any way. All they care about is milking as many naive marks as possible. In Britain the same little pack of bandits seems to have about 90% of the artist farming business sewn up, they’re all friends with each other and they all co-validate each other’s lies and puffed-up CVs, linking to each other with bogus endorsements, spurious logos, sketchy web sites and narratives of success that don’t hold water.
Since it’s surprisingly quick and easy to get the measure of a company online, I thought I would share some methods to either put your mind at rest that the company is legit and the person you’re dealing with is who and what they say they are… or not, as the case may be. Where so-called “art opportunities” are concerned, the latter usually turns out to be the case.
Ten international galleries want you, like a vampire bat wants sleeping cattle. Premio Ora (“Premium Hours”) says that the “basic registration fee required as partial coverage for organizational expenses” is €60 to enter three art works for consideration. Poor things, only covering their organisational expenses partially. Each additional image after the first three is only €5 and luckily for
them you, it’s possible to enter an unlimited number of works.
Yes, it’s another sketchy “opportunity” for artists to enter a competition where they pay for the remote opportunity of possibly getting an unpaid gallery show, i.e. something that an artist should usually be paid for, or at the very least should not have to pay for in order to be considered. I’m providing links here for the purpose of verification; I wouldn’t suggest visiting any of them unless you want to know which international galleries are involved in this farrago and I would therefore recommend in the strongest possible terms that you don’t ever have any dealings with whatsoever.
A bona fide artist who is having an exhibition at an art gallery is not a “winner” and does not pay all the costs of transporting and exhibiting their work. Any artist who does so is a customer, and they should have their service– i.e. in this case their work shown in the gallery for two weeks– provided to them without quibbles and without all this pretence of meritocratic selection or curatorial oversight. Continue reading
DERP. This is the closest Anita can get to the human expression known as “smile” when she’s wearing her rigid Anita flesh mask.
Hello darlings, mwah mwah mwah, thank you so much for coming– I thought you were still in Dubai for the arms fair! Art collector and spender of her husband’s dirty money Anita Zabludowicz (see Apotheosis of the idiot) has excelled herself recently with her Art Diary [sic] about a trip to India. Never has an art diary had so little to do with either art or diaries. Or a basic level of literacy, empathy and emotional fluency. Apparently it makes her sad that the poor people in India don’t smile. Cheer up, bastards. She needn’t get on her high horse, anyway. I’ve never seen a photo of her– and she has herself photographed constantly– where her face even seemed physiologically capable of smiling. She also says:
“The locals could not do enough for us, they only wanted to please us and this was their reward, I wish us Brits were more like that.”
Lovely little brown people, adorable! A bit dirty, though. I think you’ll find that they’d prefer their reward to be money and not having to live in servile destitution and desperate squalor, Anita. I’m pretty sure Gandhi is still available on DVD; I suggest you watch it. On behalf of every man, woman and child in all the nations of the United Kingdom, I also apologise wholeheartedly for us not being subservient or powerless enough for you, Big Z. Don’t worry, though, your husband’s cowering accomplices in the Conservative Party are making some progress towards rolling back all our hard-won freedoms and accomplishments. It’ll be just like India, not even India now but India a century ago! “I say, Lady Zabludowicz, frightful bad luck… was aiming for the tiger and one of your bally rickshaw-wallahs got in the way. Blasted his head right orff. Send my condolences to the widow, and so forth. Now, where’s that blasted tea?” Continue reading
Parker Harris is “one of the leading visual arts consultancies in the UK“, responsible for a number of well-known schemes or competitions including the Jerwood Drawing Prize and, er… the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Most of them require an entry fee, and the fact that these competitions proliferate and stick around is de facto proof that they’re a nice little earner. So for the next few minutes let me be your Countdown-era Carol Vorderman (minus the sketchy ads for predatory debt consolidation companies who put people’s homes at risk, the sketchy ads for fish oil, etc, ad nauseum) as we do the maths on the “opportunities for artists” currently on offer. Continue reading
OR: THE TURING TEST FOR ARTISTS
The pioneering cyberneticist Alan Turing proposed a test for machine intelligence: if a person can’t tell the difference between the text output from a machine (or its software) and a real human, then arguably that machine could at the very least be considered a fair simulation of intelligence even if not intelligent as such. This concept may also be familiar in the form of the famous scenes of the (fictional) Voigt-Kampff test that’s administered to distinguish humans from replicants in Blade Runner.
We may be close to the Voigt-Kampff threshold for artist statements, which are notoriously full of shit. Jasper Rigoles has programmed a fairly convincing generator that takes input from a form and outputs an artist statement in international artbollocks English. About the only things missing are a few key, trite bullshit phrases that are almost always in bad artist statements, e.g. “… works between [major art hub] and [major art hub]“.