(IT’S THE TASTE OF BEING SLIGHTLY SICK INTO YOUR OWN MOUTH)
Note, 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.