The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone just thinking about becoming a professional artist, this indispensable resource will help you build your career and protect yourself along the way.
Unlike other creative professionals, visual artists don't have agents or managers. You have to do it all yourself, at least until you find gallery representation -- and even then, there are important business and legal issues you need to understand to stay in control of your career and ensure you're being treated fairly. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through these issues so that you can essentially act as your own manager and agent. They show you, for example, how to tackle business basics such as tracking inventory and preparing invoices; how to take legal precautions like registering a copyright and drafting consignment forms; how to use promotional tools like websites and business cards; and how to approach career decisions such as choosing the right venue to show your work.
In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Bhandari and Melber interviewed nearly one hundred curators, dealers, and other arts professionals, in cities across the country, about what they expect from and look for in artists. The authors also talked to a host of artists about their careers and the lessons they've learned navigating the art world. The book is full of their entertaining anecdotes and candid advice.
No matter what kind of artist you are -- or want to be -- this book will help you. Art/Work covers everything you need to know to succeed, saving you from having to learn it all the hard way -- and letting you spend more time making art.
"This book is a godsend...it should be required reading in fine arts curricula."
– Santa Fe New Mexican
"I'll bet this powerful little paperback finds a permanent home on the list of best business books for artists.... The contract, invoice and inventory templates alone are worth the cover price."
– The Artist's Magazine
"Together [the authors] make for a powerful combo, offering both extensive knowledge of the gallery system and the ins and outs of art law, for some well-founded tips on how to succeed in the art world...it's the perfect gift for anyone working in a creative field."
"This book is filled with the kind of nuts-and-bolts business advice every artist needs to read."
"Bhandari and Melber, both Brown University graduates, have drawn on their own experiences and interviews with 100 curators, dealers, and other arts professionals to offer advice on everything from preparing artwork for shipping to coping with rejection."
– Boston Globe
"Emerging curators, along with established curators who work with living artists, would do well to read it, as would art dealers and workers at nonprofit spaces or organizations.... One unique aspect of the book is the quotes in the margin -- from high-profile artists and well-known professionals who've been around the block. Shamim Momin from the Whitney Museum and Peter Eleey of the Walker Art Center talk about how they meet new artists and visit their studios, and Seattle gallerist James Harris underscores the importance artists' websites have when he looks for new work to show."
– College Art Association News
"...even those who have no interest in the art world may find Art/Work of use. Their instructions on how to pack objects for example, are so thorough, only the most dexterously challenged will find difficulty executing them. What's more, should this book reach the majority of working artists today, the quality of gallery staff life would improve by a level of magnitude..."
– Paddy Johnson for The L Magazine
Read an Excerpt
Art/Work CHAPTER 1 ———— The Big Picture
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