Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bio Camp Open Thread

In discussing Open Submission exhibitions the other day, I noted that many gallerists consider them negatives on an artist bio, which led to a discussion about what makes for a good bio, which led me to think about it quite a bit over the past few days, which led to no very solid conclusions I'm afraid, because, well, the best bio is always one tailored to its viewer. Each potential viewer will be looking for different things.

It's with that caveat (i.e., that these are things I look for and they may or may not help with residency programs, grants, other galleries, etc) that I outline some general impressions about what strikes me as a negative in reading a bio. I hope this leads to more discussion about what has worked or not worked for various artists (i.e., a positive open thread, with not too much complaint about how the system has its priorities wrong). The following are simply my opinions and not a reflection of the system, per se.

The general categories I normally see in a bio are
  1. Name
  2. Contact info
  3. Short biography info
  4. Education
  5. Solo Exhibitions
  6. Group Exhibitions
  7. Awards/Grants/Residencies
  8. Bibliography
  9. Collections
  10. Writing / Curating / Related Professional Activity

So what's good to include (and how) in each of these categories? What other categories are often left off but potentially important? Which categories are not that important?

In general it's imporant to remember that a resume is not chiseled in stone. You can edit it per audience, so don't get too hung up on a one-size-fits-all approach. Here's my personal observations on what's effective.

Name
This one seems simple, but I've seen aliases or confusing "aka" info here. Choose a professional spelling of your name and stick with it (i.e., if you use your middle initial...use it everywhere...if you don't want it everywhere, don't use it here). If you have the exact same name as an artist already getting attention, do consider a variation. That may not always be appealing, but it might help lessen confusion

Contact info
Address, phone number(s), email, website.

Short biography info
Born: include year (f*ck the agists) and city/country
Work/Live: city/country

I wouldn't include much more than that, and of course, you can lie about your age if you like, but be prepared to be caught out and have the person catching you trust you less. I've seen it happen.

Education
It's best here to keep it simple: School, degree, year. Unless your major is relevant to your current body of work, I wouldn't include it. I wouldn't include most residencies here either. Create a separate category for them. Education implies a curriculum you passed, not free room and board and studio for a set period of time.

Solo Exhibitions
This is information I turn to first most often. What I'm looking for is a track record that makes sense to me given what I think I know about this artist. What I'm also looking for is a track record that makes sense for our gallery. In other words, if an artist has only exhibited at blue chip spaces, I'll wonder why they're now interested in our emerging space. There may be a very good reason, but here's a good opportunity to edit your resume for your audience. Not every exhibition you have under your belt will be a positive here. You can get away with any combination you choose by using the header "Selected Solo Exhibitions."

I also look to see if an artist has exhibited in what I consider galleries of a kindred spirit. This requires the artist doing some research to pick the right ones to highlight. Check to see what art fairs the gallery does, and who also participates in those fairs that you've exhibited in. There's no guarantee you won't include someone the gallery doesn't like, but the odds of that are not so great you shouldn't focus on those here.

Of course all the above presumes you have a list of solo exhibitions, which for emerging artists is often not the case. If you don't have any solo exhibitions, then simply have one header "Selected Exhibitions." Don't draw additional attention to the nonexistence of solo exhibitions by using only a "Group Exhibition" header.

Also, choose one style for the details of an exhibition and use it CONSISTENTLY. Organize these by year (months are not important). If you're really, really keen on getting into a particular gallery, do your homework here too. Check the bios on the gallery website and see what style they use (is the title in quotes or italics, is the gallery name in all caps or not, is the city and state listed, or only city, etc.). Make your bio look how they make theirs look and you'll avoid making them think about what seems different so they only concentrate on what you want them to.

Group Exhibitions
Believe it or not, too many group exhibitions can be a negative, suggesting the artist is all over the place and probably doesn't have a body of work for a solo exhibition that hasn't already been seen in bits and pieces. It can scream "Overexposure." "Selected Group Exhibitions" is a better idea. And of course the ideas of tailoring apply here as well.

As I noted in the other post, I consider open submission exhibitions a negative here. Also, exhibitions in restaurants and the like should be left out. Gallerists are snobbish about the context of where art is appropriately seen. You can dislike that about them, but you shouldn't ignore it in preparing your bio for one of them.

Awards /Grants / Residencies
Again, organize these by year and keep the information simple. What and when.

Bibliography
Number one question I hear about this: should I put online reviews in here. YES. Even blog reviews, Yes. Press is press. What a gallerist is looking for here is 1) are people writing about your work and 2) who is writing about your work. Just because a talented writer writes about you online rather than in print doesn't change either of those.

Organize chronologically. Most distracting here for me is inconsistency again. Choose one style and stick with it. Your resume is a professional document, not a creative one. Be detail oriented, consistent, and clear.

Collections
Really only impressive if the collectors are well known. Otherwise, a negative IMO. I'd limit to museums and collectors with international reputations if you feel it's important at all.

Writing / Curating / Related Professional Activity
I'd be careful here. Unless the related activity somehow reinforces your studio practice or project, I'm not sure these items always help. A gallery needs to know the artist is serious enough about their art that they spend as much time as possible in their studio. If it's clear the artist is running all over the place being a curator, critic, professor, or whatever, that seems less likely. Having noted that, some such activities can be very impressive and, well, make an impression, so it's a bit of a tricky one. I'd suggest keeping this section simple and direct if it seems important to include.

But I've rambled on long enough here. What feedback have you received/given and what do you recommend?

56 Comments:

Anonymous bnonymous said...

I'm going out on a limb, but this strikes me as good, modest, sound basic advice. I guess the only thing I'd add is a note about design: keep it very simple and elegant, the way a bank would design something.

6/29/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger John Morris said...

Can't argue with much here. I totaly agree with no that an endless list of group shows is a negative and stop with the huge lists of collectors.

Also a rather sad thing on a lot of bios are things like charity/ benefit stuff. Things like "Night of a Thousand Drawings" I mean, it's nice and noble but a pure fluff item on a bio. I don't hold anything against the artists that include stuff like that. It just looks like they are reaching.

6/29/2006 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous auvi said...

From the perspective of a gallerist, do you think it is a plus or a minus if an artist teaches?
Plus, as in: to be hired to teach, the artist must have attained some high level ...?
Minus, as in: "those who can't do, teach" ...?

6/29/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Anonymous bnonymous said...

Here's another prestige-minded question prompted by auvi and john morris's posts. What do you think of listing benefits and auctions when they are in prestigious places, e.g., from a major city's top commercial gallery to a mid-level regional or small NYC museum?

6/29/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger John Morris said...

It seems like anyone who can does, so this can't be seen as a negative. I think.

6/29/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I wouldn't recommend any benefits or auctions because they normally don't carry any curatorial weight (i.e., usually any artist can donate their work).

The more selective an artist is about what they include, the more that translates to me as self-respect. Putting a benefit auction, where the work was on view for all of three hours, seems like a stretch as an "exhibition" and so whiffs of desperation, which isn't attractive.

Of course, if that's the only item on one's resume, it's better than nothing.

6/29/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous J.T. Kirkland said...

Ed,

Couple of questions:

1) Do you think the dates of the exhibitions should be listed? What about if it's in the future?

2) For group shows, should the curator be listed? Yes, if a widely recognizable name?

3) For curated benefits that are lengthy in duration (weeks, not hours), should that be noted in some way?

Thanks for the great post. Especially for giving value to online reviews.

6/29/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

JT,

Good questions.

1) Future exhibitions, absolutely. But again, only list year.

2) Yes, list the curator, even if not a big name. It's a matter of respect and the curator will appreciate it (and won't appreciate it if you leave it out).

3) Curated benefits are still in that camp of "you gave us that work for fee, so even though you're a big art star, we probably didn't have our first choice of work, and so it's very difficult to imagine the work itself was curated rather than just the names, which means it's not curatorially so signficant".

to me at least.

Online reviews still have a bit more hill to climb in many people's esteem, but that's changing. Don't be the last one on your block to include them.

6/29/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Anonymous bnonymous said...

In trying to keep my questions general (and useful to more people than just me), I find that I still am unsure about my specific worries! So excuse me for being overly specific. I have a lot of stuff on my resume, including solo shows at good commercial galleries in NY and my own big city, but not so much recently. Is it better to leave out some recent lesser listings of the kind we're excoriating or leave them on to show how busy and fabulous I am? It's much harder trying to establish an exhibition record the second time, I'm finding. It was pretty easy the first time around.

6/29/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

Edward -great idea for an instructive post and good advice. Many artists need this. I think one other thing needs to be addressed regarding CV's- what to do about Art Fairs? I see these on a lot of CV's these days as "exhibitions". That seems a stretch to me. Is there a consensus out there on this? Opinions seem divergent on the subject.

Also as someone who has trudged through many of these documents over the years, I think a good follow up post would be "How To Write An Artist's Statement". So many artists really struggle with this and as you probably know all too well, it really shows. I think many need some guidance on the subject.

6/29/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous onesock said...

Thank you for the pointers Ed. And I agree that different items and paths are more important in different contexts. I am sure that my resume would be more attractive to a university's art department than to a gallery, but that is the career path I am on. So it makes sense to ask oneself what he or she wants to achieve in say 5 years and develop a resume towards that goal.

What I find difficult is to indicate subtlety in a resume. For example, I am working on an installation in an indie record shop because the materials I am using and my method of presentation will carry more weight in that context. But I probably won’t include that item on my resume because it may seem desperate when all I want to do is create a new piece. These are not paintings made in a studio and brought to the place, I am making new work that, in this case, requires a space other than a gallery. But I have no idea how to convey that difference without it looking like a sad situation.


ALso, you mentioned overexposure, Would having a personal website be considered overexposure?

6/29/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Why is the artist's age important? I don't think requests for personal information are tolerated (legally or ethically) by other professions.

What about those with non-arts degrees? Do you care about the unrelated masters degree ten years ago? Do you care what's been done since then?

P.S. I don't put parties on my CV but I still attend gallery openings of my friends. I might not put open exhibitions on my CV, but if the director or curator of a recognizable non-profit gallery or museum juries an exhibition, I'd be foolish to pass up the chance to meet good people and expose my work. Doing something and putting it on your CV are two different things.

6/29/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous J.T. Kirkland said...

Ed,

Thanks for the quick response.

1) Here's a better example. It's June 29, 2006. If I have an exhibit in Dec. 2006, but don't list the date, it will look like, or possibly suggest, that it has already occurred. Is that a big deal or no?

2) OK... looks like I have some updating to do!

3) Point taken.

Thanks!

6/29/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger John Morris said...

Yes, online press is press! For me being out here in "fly over country". It's important.

The Art fair question is a good one

6/29/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Lots of questions. Forgive me if I can't answer them all. If you think I missed an important one, please ask it again.

Why is the artist's age important? I don't think requests for personal information are tolerated (legally or ethically) by other professions.

No one will make an artist put their age on the resume Henry (and it is, of course, voluntary...an ethical gallerist wouldn't ask in person), but it does suggest to me that they're hiding something if they don't when the vast majority of artists do, so it's a negative. I don't usually spend much time thinking about it, but it sparks a synapsis in the "negative" column of my brain. Putting one's birthyear on art is very very common in museums. It provides cultural context. Again, to me, the only concievable reason for not including it is one is hiding something.

What about those with non-arts degrees? Do you care about the unrelated masters degree ten years ago? Do you care what's been done since then?

Only if it informs the work. If, for example, one's work is anthropological in nature, a degree in Anthropology, even 20 years ago, is relevant IMO.

Is it better to leave out some recent lesser listings of the kind we're excoriating or leave them on to show how busy and fabulous I am? It's much harder trying to establish an exhibition record the second time, I'm finding. It was pretty easy the first time around.

I hear ya, bnonymous. There's a sense of lost momentum that strikes readers as negative. On the other hand, if you exhibited in a good gallery and then in a restaurant, I'd let them assume you were on hiatus rather than include that venue. Busy and fabulous are not synonymous.

What I find difficult is to indicate subtlety in a resume. For example, I am working on an installation in an indie record shop because the materials I am using and my method of presentation will carry more weight in that context.

You can handle this with phrases like "ongoing site-specific project" or whatever in parentheses. It also doesn't hurt in such instances to figure out how to produce some sort of catalog, and drop that into your bio, so it signifies the prestige of the project.

ALso, you mentioned overexposure, Would having a personal website be considered overexposure?

Not to me. Not at all. It's marketing.

art fairs

Unless it's a solo project at an art fair (and a rather prestigious one at that), I'd say leave 'em out.

6/29/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a really helpful topic.

I have three questions. The first I think I know the answer to, but I'll ask anyway and it would be good to get the opinion of a gallerist (if you can Edward).

1. If you have a review of a prestigious group show that you were in from a prestigious Newspaper but you weren't mentioned by name would you include it in your Bibl.? The real question I guess is: is the bibliography only for writing about you as an artist or can you include writing about a show you were in. Does this seem desperate and overreaching?

2. What about being in the collection of a very famous artist. Would you include that? Only if the artist is know as a collector too?

3. What about including the names of other artists in a group show if they are impressive and you are not. Is this lame?

6/29/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Great post, as always, Ed. It is really good to hear what is important to include and what is not, especially from a gallery owner.

Just wondering, if a resume doesn't have curated shows or a list of collectors (uh like mine) for example, does this immediately turn a gallery director off? Can the art still save the day in that case? Well if the director likes it, of course.

6/29/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous bnonymous said...

Okay, here's another little category I'm curious about. Should award nominations be listed? If you make the final round of a grant? A fictional for instance,

Awards
2005 Finalist, Artist's Grant/The McGuggarthur Foundation
2005 Nominated, Artist's Prize/Minneapolis Museum of Contemporary Art

6/29/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous jamesleonard said...

Edward_

There's a sense of lost momentum that strikes readers as negative. On the other hand, if you exhibited in a good gallery and then in a restaurant, I'd let them assume you were on hiatus rather than include that venue. Busy and fabulous are not synonymous.

Momentum. I get why you are encouraging us to pare down our bios. What's the balance between conveying momentum and padding?

With images: When someone asks for 8-12 slides, you pare it down to the best with 8 great images being better than 8 great and 4 mediocre. But you obviously need at least 8.

What would your rule of thumb be for number of items on one's bio--especially on the group show front? One a year, one every other year? Three a year? I realize it will depend on the length and robustness of each individuals exhibition career, but is there at least an average exhibition activity that you tend to look for?

Thanks in advance.


As a counter to your advice, a friend whose ex-spouse is now doing quite well in the art world openly talks about her husbands years establishing himself. He shamelessly put together DIY shows, curating himself in, installed works wherever he could get permission, did juried shows, etc. She claims his philosophy was one of getting the work out there no matter what. For him, it seems to have paid off. What are your thoughts regarding this shotgun spamming vs. being selective? If we are too selective don't we risk dooming ourselves to an old-maid's fate of always an exhibition-goer and never an exhibitor? (I'm thinking about how todays advice meshes with your "Foot in the door" thread from about a year ago.)

Anyways, many thanks for yet another thread of practical advice.

6/29/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

1. If you have a review of a prestigious group show that you were in from a prestigious Newspaper but you weren't mentioned by name would you include it in your Bibl.? The real question I guess is: is the bibliography only for writing about you as an artist or can you include writing about a show you were in. Does this seem desperate and overreaching?

That's a toughie. I'm leaning toward "leave it out," but I understand the inclination to include it. I think it depends on how rich one's Bibl. is otherwise. If there's plenty of articles where one's name is listed, I'd say leave it out.

2. What about being in the collection of a very famous artist. Would you include that? Only if the artist is know as a collector too?

Depends on whether the artist is local or not. My first thought upon seeing that would be that the less famous artist worked as an assistant or was a student of the more famous artist and gave him/her the work as a present. Not very prestigious.

3. What about including the names of other artists in a group show if they are impressive and you are not. Is this lame?

I think it is lame, yes.

6/29/2006 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Awards
2005 Finalist, Artist's Grant/The McGuggarthur Foundation
2005 Nominated, Artist's Prize/Minneapolis Museum of Contemporary Art


Another toughie (these are very subtle questions...not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a bit unexpected).

Here again, I think it depends on what else one has on their bio. If you have a long list of awards, the nominees and finalist ones aren't so necessary, so I'd leave them out.

6/29/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What would your rule of thumb be for number of items on one's bio--especially on the group show front? One a year, one every other year? Three a year?

Three to four a year seems healthy and not overexposed. More than that, I'd edit. Of course, if you're having a banner year and they're all in prestigous locations, then go for it, but keep in mind a sense of balanced progress.

6/29/2006 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Ed! I really appreciate the helpfulness of this thread.

6/29/2006 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger John Morris said...

OOps, I can't agree with that. I think that being in good artist's collections looks good. I know it's a judgement call but, I think early on it's a good thing. One problem I have with this is that it's sort of handing out personal info on the artist and I think one should ask first.

6/29/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous bnonymous said...

This has been very helpful. I'm sitting here, revising my resume per your advice. I took a lot out, and I think the result is more forceful. I've been away for a while, but taking out some of my recent piddly crap makes my bigger couple of items look much better! Thanks! I wish back when I had a dealer he'd been this helpful.

6/29/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger chrisjag said...

Thanks Ed,
Great advice! This might be a little off topic, but what about the "artist's statement." I have no love for this, and have seen them presented less and less, (but understand why many like them). What is your take on this?

6/29/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OOps, I can't agree with that. I think that being in good artist's collections looks good.

It does to me too if it's clear that the artist selected the work for their collection and not that they were given the work as a present.

what about the "artist's statement."

I think we should save that for another open thread. There's too much to discuss about that to do it justice here.

6/29/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous bio hazard said...

Ed, this is great, and very generous of you to host today's discussion. Here are some questions:

1.) In addition to my urban gallery shows, I've had a couple of solo shows recently in college galleries in small out-of-the-way places. Include, or not?

2.) Good galleries versus not-so-good; I had a solo show years ago in a well-known gallery that I've learned has a not-so-great reputation. How do I assess whether this would be an asset or a liability on my bio?

3.) Okay, the age thing. I've been really torn on this one because of all the anecdotal evidence of people being screened out. So I've left the dates of my birth and education off my bio, and also wiped out years of exhibitions, some of which were in medium-good places (nothing blue chip, though). But of course, as you said, it's pretty obvious when those things are left off why the person has done so. On the one hand, those shows are accomplishments, and one would hope they'd be a plus. But on the other hand, I don't want my accomplishments to interfere w/ my potential (you know, not young enough). I could of course lie about the dates, but that feels really wierd (and it's a slippery slope). So here's the question. Given the fact that there's no easy universal answer, which resume would keep your interest more (this assumes you like the work), a short one with the bio dates left off, or one that showed dates and more accomplishments for an obviously not young artist?

6/29/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger DilettanteVentures said...

This is a very difficult topic for us. We have an EXTREMELY unconventional practice - no gallery shows ever. All of our work is time/site specific and exists at the extreme margins of the professional art world. In a sense, our vitae probably reads like a joke to the "real" art world - with "exhibitions" on cruise ships or bingo parlors, being in collections like the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting and the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame, and "curating" an exhibition venue on MySpace. The problem, of course, is that it is a serious "joke." Any thoughts as to how such a resume might be read by someone on the inside? How should one package these activities knowing that they look like "reaching," but they're the core of your activities?

6/29/2006 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

In addition to my urban gallery shows, I've had a couple of solo shows recently in college galleries in small out-of-the-way places. Include, or not?

Most definitely. Those are generally seen as academic confirmation of your work.

Good galleries versus not-so-good; I had a solo show years ago in a well-known gallery that I've learned has a not-so-great reputation. How do I assess whether this would be an asset or a liability on my bio?

Gallery reputations have two sides. The quality of the work they exhibit, and how the treat their artists and other dealers. If the first is sound, then go ahead and include it, no one will hold it against you about the second one. If the first one is questionable, then it depends on when you exhibited there. Exhibitions early on in one's career are OK to list...later, when presumably you should have had better instincts (easier said than accomplished, I know), I'd consider leaving it out.

Given the fact that there's no easy universal answer, which resume would keep your interest more (this assumes you like the work), a short one with the bio dates left off, or one that showed dates and more accomplishments for an obviously not young artist?

More accomplishments for not young artist. But you may not find that universally applied.


DilettanteVentures,

The problem, of course, is that it is a serious "joke." Any thoughts as to how such a resume might be read by someone on the inside? How should one package these activities knowing that they look like "reaching," but they're the core of your activities?

Your best packaging might be more emphasis on the critical acclaim for your projects. Make sure the Bibl. is prominent and as full as possible. That will tell the reader to reconsider their knee-jerk reactions to the locations.

Other than that, and in contradiction to what Tyler advises (see the great interview with him here; in particular question 6), I'd say an artist statement might help here.

Unconventional practice often benefits greatly from a high-profile champion as well. Someone whose credibility and endorsement will stump initial rejections. Not sure how you convey that easily in a bio, but an impressive stamp of approval will tell the reader to look again.

6/29/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I would ask DilettanteVentures who they are trying to communicate with that doesn't know the work? Certainly the first thing a gallerist or curator would look at is the work. After that the odd CV would make perfect sense.

I don't think you should consider these things in isolation. It is a package and the visual material (or work samples) are the primary means of communicating. The CV is a background check, so to speak.

If you do this type of work a portfolio that has long explanatory captions for each picture would be appropriate and welcome. If the viewer isn't getting it by then, a complex CV won't help anyway.

6/29/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Or, what Tim said...

6/29/2006 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous bio hazard said...

Ed, thanks for the very helpful answers to my questions, as well as the link to the interview w/ Tyler.

Thursdays With Edward!

6/29/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous auvi said...

Edward,
sorry to repeat the question.
Curious to hear your thoughts:
The artist teaches at a university.
As a gallerist, does that sound "hot or not" ?

6/29/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The artist teaches at a university. As a gallerist, does that sound "hot or not" ?

This is one of those instances where the work really matters. If the work is great, more power to them. If the work shows potential but isn't quite there, then this isn't always encouraging, as one has seen far too many artists consumed with academic careers to the detriment of their ability to get into the studio.

6/29/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger fisher6000 said...

Edward,
Thanks for the advice!

First, just to see if I am digesting this correctly, the goal is just to present yourself as a fabulous, confident artist whose career is progressing steadily. Don't make yourself look desperate, unsure of yourself, or like you are hiding something.

Questions:

What about shows from towns somewhere else? What if your whole resume is from Bent Knee Junction, TX, (for example), and you move to the Big City? How much Bent Knee stuff stays on your resume? The show at the Bent Knee Museum but not the galleries?

6/29/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous JL said...

Henry: Why is the artist's age important?

Edward_: Putting one's birthyear on art is very very common in museums. It provides cultural context.

It can be very frustrating to try and track down the year of birth of an artist, a work by whom has been donated without standard biographical information. It's especially annoying when that artist has a website with a bio, or their gallery's website has a bio posted, that omits this information. Sure, you can always email or call; but you shouldn't have to, and sometimes it's difficult to get a response.

6/29/2006 08:31:00 PM  
Anonymous martin said...

oh my god edward, this is a drag. what happened to artist of the week?

6/29/2006 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Capt. Bookman said...

This is a great thread - I've already updated my resume because of it.

Ed - about 1/6 of my studio practice entails artists books. Earlier in my career A number of instititutions bought my books, (or books I collaborated on with one or two other artists). These are big important collections (Yale, MoMA, Smithsonian, etc). Should I specify they are BOOKS - or can I just leave it simple. I ask knowing that a institution buying a painting is a far more difficult task to achieve than selling books.

6/29/2006 08:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

I am always frustrated when reading cvs of an artist and I'm trying to remember when I saw some of their work or when was published some catalog until I realize they are not mentioned.

I always enjoy when I find on an artist website a full, detailed list of what they have done, almost like a catalogue raisonnee, listing the works and where they have been shown.


I understand how everyone is about
"give me the big meal" but..is there anyone else that enjoys when an artist has an "archive cv" available upon request?

Is it always that bad?



(or maybe I mean portfolio..I like artists who list the best works chronologically and THEN mention where it was shown)


Cedric Caspesyan

6/29/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about the newbie artist, without any shows - group or solo...where would they start?
wendy

6/29/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

I'd be interested in the Bent Knee, TX answer...my bio is similiar only I haven't moved to the big city!
Does an artist not living in a big art city have a chance?

6/29/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Anonymous jenagain said...

Quick question about listing the online reviews...should we include the link to the review or simply list it with the author,where and when only?

BTW many thanks for the wonderful practical advice-I too, have changed my cv.

6/29/2006 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have noticed that if a thread talks too close a relationship to the gallery, or has too much personal bent, then the replies are right down. I thought the artist of the week was good. There was the 'curator of the month' too, the first a beauty, and very smart and interesting.

6/30/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I have noticed that if a thread talks too close a relationship to the gallery, or has too much personal bent, then the replies are right down.

Not sure what you mean by that...can you elaborate?

I thought the artist of the week was good.

Thank you...it was also very time consuming.

I'll try to resume it in a week or so.

There was the 'curator of the month' too, the first a beauty, and very smart and interesting.

Thanks again...but those got so little comment I didn't know if folks were interested. I'll revive that as well.

6/30/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What about shows from towns somewhere else? What if your whole resume is from Bent Knee Junction, TX, (for example), and you move to the Big City? How much Bent Knee stuff stays on your resume? The show at the Bent Knee Museum but not the galleries?

It's understood that artists living outside big urban centers still desire to exhibit their work locally. Leave the gallery exhibitions in. Just don't include so many it, again, looks like you're all over the place.

Quick question about listing the online reviews...should we include the link to the review or simply list it with the author,where and when only?

Depends on the link, but in general pages of long, user-unfriendly URLs are bad. Most sites have navigation to their archives. If the link is cumbersome, I'd put the title, author, date and main URL of the site and let the reader find it.

6/30/2006 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a full time artist for 2 years now and have exhibited for 7 while doing something else full time so at 40 I am fairly new to this. I have several solo shows listed from headquarters of a few known and well known companies and some non profit galleries such as art centers, JCCs, and other art organizations. Given these are my only solo shows should I leave them in or should I take some or all of them out? In addition to these I have been included in several prestigious national juried shows (in NYC) and have participated in several curated group shows in non commercial galleries. I have also been included in a couple of shows in small commercial galleries. Obviously I am not represented yet and hope to be someday.
Many thanks for a very helpful discussion!

7/07/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous eva said...

Gee I have questions too.

What if you do curate a lot and fairly successfully (or writes, etc.)?

But are also in the studio a lot, working?

Is there a way that this can be communicated? Must one delete what one does for other artists?

7/08/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

What if you do curate a lot and fairly successfully (or writes, etc.)?

But are also in the studio a lot, working?

Is there a way that this can be communicated? Must one delete what one does for other artists?


it all depends. A bio is one method of making an impression. If the impression your record of curated exhibitions makes is a good one, leave them in.

I'm hard pressed to think of more than a few artists whose curatorial record relates to their work though, and that is the primary subject of a bio (the foundation of and the world's response to the work). "Extracurricular" activities that don't reinforce the message that the world's response toward the work is strong only muddy that message.

Again, though, that's just my opinion.

7/08/2006 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,

Thanks for all of the info. I'd just like to ask for a bit of clarification on the education bit. I have an undergraduate degree in political science from an Ivy League school and an MBA from one of the top programs in the world. My work is neither political in nature, nor is it related to business. However the latter degree would in theory make me a better manager of my career and promotional efforts and don't both demonstrate an intelligence and perhaps cultured worldliness that a gallerist would be interested in? An MFA is out of the question financially but without this am I really not to include my impressive, though unrelated education? Of course I understand the work should speak for itself, but isn't intellectual capacity something gallerists would be interested in in tandem with the work?

2/03/2009 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger J. Wesley Brown said...

Thought you might find my most recent post interesting. It refers to this post.

Bests _ W

http://wecanshoottoo.blogspot.com/2009/02/re-boom-is-over-long-live-art.html

2/16/2009 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kentee Suone Pasek said...

I keep coming back to your blog time and time again. It has been so much help in writing my resume for my portfolio. Thank you! I have done a lot of juried exhibitions with Howard Alan Inc. They do not have awards at their shows. Under my award category my awards take place between 1989 to 1991. Do I even list them on the resume in 2009 or is it best to keep them out. Thanks again for all of your great information.

3/02/2009 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. Good info here. Q: I realize the artist needs to make a good impression, and when purchasing art I always look for a curriculum vitae that focuses on exhibitions, collections, and education, but what about when the bio is nothing more than a list of all the famous people they've met during their lifetime, worded in such a way as to imply that these celebrities, most of them deceased btw, commissioned art work, and meanwhile the artist is hiding behind a website (it's him) that appears to be a legitimate local art dealer? Thanks!

10/18/2009 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Monica Seggos said...

Hello Edward:

I was referred to your post by Jackie Battenfield in her book "The Artist's Guide". I am so emerging as an artist that I only have one art related item to list on my cv. I am submitting an application w/cv for an artist in residency program. Would it be appropriate to submit a recommendation with my application by the curator of the previous residency program I did? Thank you so much for your time. all the best, Monica

8/05/2010 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edward,

Thank you for your advice.

After reading all comments; I have two questions. What is your recommendation to an artist that has been working for more that 10 years, has created hundreds an hundreds of art work (serious stuff, in several mediums) and is starting to for the first time approach the gallery scene.

What if you don't have a degree, how do you present yourself to a gallery in a resume?

11/12/2010 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

HI Edward,

Thank you for consolidating what may actually be an unlimited amount of information.

My question is similar to the above, but with the addition:

What if you don't have any shows / exhibitions to speak of? In other words, you are new to the art world, completely?

After 2 unrelated degrees and 20 years of work experience, I am brought back to that scary question recent college graduates ask themselves: "How can I have work experience if I never worked?"


Thank you

9/14/2013 02:53:00 PM  

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