Tag Archives: artist farmers


5 Dec

IMG_6858Those of you who are interested in the antics of “top tastemakers” Debut Contemporary should visit Charlie Tuesday Gates and read about her CON ARTIST demonstration/infiltration at their Christmas party. She’s brave (and firmly within the law– she very shrewdly checked with the police first!), righteously angry, funny, and among other things you will learn:

  • About Debut’s “CEO” [sic] Samir Ceric and his failed “airline” that wasn’t really. According to company records at Duedil.com he is 39 years old and has TWENTY-THREE known defunct businesses behind him. Therefore if they were spread out evenly throughout every year of his adult life this would amount to at least one defunct business for every single year since 1992. He retired from only three, i.e. in only three cases does it appear the company outlived his involvement. The closed companies include two (Globace Ltd, and the interestingly named Salon Gallery Ltd) flagged in the database as having, quote, “possible adverse information” about the financial risk and general advisibility of dealing with these companies. There’s another one– Graduate Art Fair Ltd– that is also dissolved but seems only to be recorded at Companies House and not on the Duedil database.
  • How Ceric also claimed to be a board member for the British Council (with screengrab proof of the since deleted page. Addendum: actually amended– page is still there but it now says he just attended a workshop, alongside at least one known crony of his from elsewhere) and how that didn’t go down at all well with the British Council… because he wasn’t a board member. Not even close. He also seems to be doing the “who’s going to check this magazine or quote actually exists?” press clippings trick.
  • How DC tried to reel Gates in even though she turned up to her interview with a dead fox in a suitcase… then persisted in citing her as one of their success stories for a year after she’d told them where to go. (A correspondent tells a similar story here about her asking them to remove a spurious testimonial and an unauthorised image from their promotional literature three years previously.)
  • How, when the police were called to remove Gates and her crew, the police apparently agreed that Ceric might well be liable to prosecution based upon the information available about him.

and, last but not least, as CTG says:

  • “You can’t buy your way in. There is no shortcut to fame and glory.”

Anyway, her post is far funnier and more inspiring than my boring summary so I suggest you go and read it.


And to The Hospital Club, The Guardian, and various other supposedly reputable people or organisations who shouldn’t really in good conscience be having anything to do with Debut Contemporary instead of taking everything they say and do at face value… having carried out the basic and not very time consuming homework you should have done before you endorsed Debut Contemporary I’m sure I can speak for Charlie Tuesday Gates and myself when I say: you’re welcome.


20 Nov


TOPTASTEMAKERSNote, November 2013: I’m republishing this from the currently unavailable Market Project site*, where it was first posted about eighteen months ago. I’m doing so on the occasion of Samir Ceric from Debut Contemporary being named by the Hospital Club and Guardian Culture Pros as one of the most “innovative, interesting and influential people” in the arts in Britain.

* It’s now un-unavailable. Read the original here.

Even leaving aside that all these top ten or top hundred most influential/powerful/richest/whatever lists are absolute fucking bullshit and they say very little about a person’s actual merit or achievements but a great deal about them having the right kinds of friends in the right places, I would venture to suggest that if anybody wants to turn it into a contest then I’m more influential than he is, because sometimes in a week I’ll have more readers here than I would if I wrote for Frieze or any other art magazine every month for a year. And who do people come to when they think they’ve been fucked over by the likes of Debut Contemporary? Me. His desperation is palpable to anyone who isn’t wilfully blinding themselves to it.

I’m definitely more “interesting” and “innovative” than him, if only because my expressions of personality aren’t entirely reliant upon having a wacky wardrobe full of clown clothes. Read more about Debut’s recent shenanigans and their (dis)information catalogue here.

When I initially wrote the article, I was just annoyed by the fact that people were actually falling for what looked to me like obvious bullshit, and by the general air of insufferable arrogance, pretentious snobbery, smugness and greed that I think hangs around the entire enterprise. I had no idea it would go viral and attract hundreds of comments, many of them from former Debut clients sharing their horror stories of bullying, intimididation, lies and threats. In a wider sense it acted as a lightning rod for concerns from real art professionals (i.e. not the likes of Ceric) that the exploitation of young and naive artists was out of control. Regular readers of this site will know that Debut are not the only culprits, but in my opinion they are probably the worst– and the reasons why they are the worst are not just because I say so or express an opinion about it. They were and are very well documented if anybody bothers to look, or listen to all the people who feel they were deceived. I suggest you start by Googling the artists Charlie Tuesday Gates and Theresa Bruno for a start. You can also very easily check Ceric’s track record of limited companies and other business ventures, which for now it suffices to say is nothing to be proud of.

As you will see, I and my colleagues were also honoured to attract some patented Debut Contemporary-style intimidation for daring to oppose them or say anything bad about them. What follows is not the original article verbatim, but a digest of the most cogent parts.

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25 Apr

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.

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