Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Introducing Industrial Strength Booth Away

[Created by a desperate Art Dealer friend of mine during the recent fairs]

Are you frustrated by bored housewives with business cards who come into your booth and lecture you on how you should install the art?

Do artists with large portfolios insist on spreading out their work, only to then argue that this one small piece wouldn't take up too much space on your wall?

Do collectors demanding 45% discounts keep coming back, snickering, asking if you're ready to deal now?

Well, my art dealer friend, fret no more, because Booth Away Spray is now available in a new Industrial Strength. Ecologically safe and guaranteed to send packing even the most obnoxious dealer trying to poach your clients from your space at any fair. At only $39.95 a can, it's a bargain at twice the price!

One spray is all it takes to make toddlers who kick your sculptures from their strollers, onion-breath blowhards who insist your artist is ripping off their cousin Arnie's work (although Arnie never exhibited and now works as a corrections officer in South Carolina), or tourists who insist on taking 56 photographs of each conceivable angle of each work magically evaporate and then reappear in outer Mongolia.

Indeed, it's the product with 101 uses...(dealers, feel free to share any you can think of)...

Consider this an open thread on, among other things, needing a vacation.



Blogger kalm james said...

So Ed,
How were the fair’s...really?

3/11/2009 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

We did OK, actually, even better than Miami, which is still not as good as we had done last year, but given the state of the world, rather encouraging.

3/11/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Bromo Ivory said...

Love the article - the fairs exhausted me (in a good way), I can only imagine their effect on gallerists!

Glad to hear the encouraging news about how you did! I am hopeful there are going to be signs of life in the greater economy soon, well at least bottoming out and starting to recover.

3/11/2009 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Now here's a product to tide you over during the recession! You could sell this stuff by the case.

With a different label you could use it on other dealers who poach your artists. And with a different label still, it could be used by artists who see their their galleries, collectors or publishers poached by desperate parvenues.

Or you could change the label to Three-in-One Away and start selling it by the case. Hey, and make a holster for it. If the economy gets worse, it will be as ubiquitous as cell phone, and used just as often. A deluxe model will come with a phone and texting capability.

I'm guessing it's a garlic-based liquid, laced with roach-killing petroleum ditsillates, and a soupcon of hydrogen hydrogen peroxide to remove blood stains.

3/11/2009 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

wow, this could be easily be editioned (hint, hint) -- maybe in three different scents? don't forget to charge extra for the holster.

3/11/2009 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Bromo Ivory said...

Joanne - I was hoping they'd also make specialized sprays for other ventures, too. I have a feeling this would be a best seller nearly anywhere these days! Especially "Bear-a-way" for those bankers out there.

3/11/2009 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like one for when I do open studios. I would use it on all those "I'm a painter too" people who ask me to explain in minute detail how I do my work and then walk away mad when I avoid the question.

3/11/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

Art fairs (more like art farts these days) are designed to attract the people who don't usually go and see art, so really if someone hates people so much, they should simply not participate. I wouldn't.

Cedric Casp

3/11/2009 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I like Joy's suggestion of different scents. I'd also suggest a Clear-the-Air spray, a metaphysical air freshener, for awkward silences and difficult situations.

Ed, you realize a limited edition set of sprays will become a collector's item.

3/11/2009 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure I understand anon. why would you have an open studio if you are not going to talk about your work? you definitely need a vacation.

3/11/2009 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

this is the hipster-chic non-blinding practical alternative to mace -- can we do a handy purse-size edition? we need to act fast before Tracy Emin comes out with her own version. To go with her hand bags.

3/11/2009 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

so really if someone hates people so much, they should simply not participate. I wouldn't.

Now, now Cedric...don't take it so seriously. We're simply blowing off a little steam after what is a very stressful event. It's not just dealing with the public that makes it stressful, but setting up in a relatively short period of time, de-installing even more quickly, and running what amounts to a second space while you're still running your first space in a market that isn't as rewarding as it had been.

Nothing wrong with the occasional release, in my opinion.

You are right that dealers wouldn't participate if it wasn't worth the effort...that doesn't mean each moment is as satisfying as all the others though. Not all people are as pleasant to deal with as most's not accurate to describe objecting to the overblown behaviors of a few as "hating people."

3/11/2009 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

OMG! we could do hand bags to go with the spray!

3/11/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a housewife has a business card, is she still a housewife or a businesswoman?

3/11/2009 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It depends on whether she's actually running a business or not. That means, to my mind, that she actually has clients. Everyone has to start somewhere, of course, but when you're just getting started it does behoove you to assume you might not know everything about the business.

Don't get me started... :-)

3/11/2009 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Pretty Lady said...

Is there a spray to get rid of predatory middle-aged men who quit their jobs at 58 to explore their Creative Selves, and who show up at the open studios of single female artists, scaring away the actual collectors, to talk for hours and hours about their horrible 'art' and their horrible 'poetry' and all the other artists they know who are doing cool things at hair salons in Jersey City and Red Hook, and try to slobber all over your face when you finally get them to leave?

I quit doing open studios because of those people.

3/11/2009 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

PL, one of the joys of being a dyke is telling those slobbering old fools to bug off. (Maybe in your next life?)

Did you have your bambina yet?

Related to the housewife/businesswoman issue: Would you consider a post on art consultants of the suburban kind? It seems you have something to say. I certainly do. And I'll bet your millions of other readers do, as well.

3/11/2009 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Bromo Ivory said...

I was married to an artist at one point, and she did open studios (San Jose, CA), the biggest issue one year is that some person wandered in off the street and was drunk, and tried to play with her power tools! I ended up intervening at my ex's request and escorted him out of the building - I think the spray ought to work for people like that?

(Oh and Joanne, my ex was a fan of yours!)

3/11/2009 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I think one thing the general public should realize about attending such events, including open studdios, is that the hosts have heard it all before, probably dozens of times. SO think twice before trying to crack a joke. And if you can't think of an incitefull question to ask, thats ok too. Just mention the weather or something or get to the point?

Myself I;m always curious about somehting but I feel intimidated to ask because often the response is some canned talking point speech.

This artist is the most important because they were first and they do this better than anyone and they are just spectacular.

God its just horrible. Art fairs and open studios are definitely not the best place to be "real" with people. Too bad.

3/11/2009 06:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re:"not sure I understand anon. why would you have an open studio if you are not going to talk about your work? you definitely need a vacation."

Maybe I didn't explain myself...they don't want to know about my work, they want to know exactly how I do my work because they want to do it in, I love your work...I want to do what you are doing...I have been searching for a style and I like yours...or my daughter just graduated from college and is looking for a style and yours looks good...and on and on...

3/11/2009 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

On the flip side of that though, anon, is that signature style is not a guarantee of seriousness or even success anymore - plenty of people occupy the same territory as a quick scan of the art fairs will make painfully obvious.

Often within three miles of each other or less, artists in isolation come out of the woodwork and meet you wil horrified surprise. That means four, even five more months underground!

Its like someone or something is in the air, causing you to do things in proscribed ways that you try to resist, futiley, but in your agony, you make a mark. A fly stuck crawling through the amber neon night.

If that is not the case, then I'm sorry to have bothered you. None of this matters. Its a joke. ha ha.

And many more will arrive to keep you company. I hate them all.

I understand the competitiveness - both in them and in you. I am right there with you.

Unless you feel this is a projection, which it may be. But honestly, even Winkleman is competitive. He IS competing, after all.

But like the real world, technique will not get you to more than entry level. I can't see a single process sustaining a career.

Most sculptors change the way they weld earl and often, sometimes five times a day.

Half of what I have ever learned about computers is out of date. Obsolete. At least!

Art is not some static motorized chair lift that haunts the halls. It is a raging beast that slams its heavy carcass against the stairwell of the infrastructure.

If everybody would collectively pull their heads out (as I believe Saltz insinuates with loving kindness - it could just be me though) we could realize a much more interesting and less visually and conceptually impoverished "conversation" as some would call "the art world".

Blind ambition and greed poisons the air, salts the fields and blocks the rivers when artists, collectors and dealers or a whole tribe of monkeys claim their artist as the sole heir to all, shitting on everything from on high. Or focusing on a few, without regards to generative currents within the organism.

That's how we got to minimalism right? Cut off the flora and the kids give you nothing but baby food.

What if they say I did it later so I don't matter? Some copycat wannabee, career over. Cross broken. Hall pass revoked.

But I wont stay dead.

Artists can be so cruel. Me included. It looks like amateur hour. Do they even read Artforum?
When was the last time you danced?

My god! And what if they say I'm not pulling as much weight as the ox? And what if I must tithe three fourths of my yield to the lord of the realm?

And what of all the others, toiling away in parallel? Each with their own hot knife? Would they give up in disgust? Or eagerly anticipate your next move?

Would the critic write about it as if it was a movement or derisively turn their back on such a shallow, crafty, meaningless trend?

Like op art, for example, which has been rehabilitated.

Finally, I think the absence of the "next move" in any significant way indicates a move away from army men and more cowboys and indians.

But you saw that coming.

Hey, I don't know, I think copyright serves a purpose, but if you think I haven't been there and pissed all over it just like Picasso did (that's why they hated him), you are sadly mistaken.

Hiding your process is like staying clothed at an orgy.

But also, I don't have a dealer, or even a lot of product, so there you go.

Sensei says, A brain well cooked will make a treat.

3/11/2009 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

I think I want to do an installation in an art fair, and it's just that when you come to my booth, it's a big black cube which you can't enter. Name it Booth Away.

Cedric Casp

3/12/2009 02:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why the new york art world can't accept that some people can have a life (ie. being a housewife, have kids and want to take them to art fairs) and still participate actively in the art community. Is it that hard to understand? My child is not going to kick your fucking sculpture, and if he did I'd pay for it. Don't you realize the amount of amazing emotions a 4 year old child can experience at an art fair?

3/12/2009 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think someone should consider putting their name on the national waiting list for a sense of humor implant.

No one is asking folks to not bring their kids to fairs (we love the response of kids to the art) satirical, obviously hyperbolic examples were offered as humor, remember humor, don't you?

And by the way, I have to ask...

My child is not going to kick your fucking sculpture, and if he did I'd pay for it.

Do you kiss your kid with that mouth?

it's a big black cube which you can't enter.

It's been done Cedric, which doesn't mean you can't do it better, but...

3/12/2009 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

On the subject of Art Fairs... if a gallery invited you to show with them and share the cost of the booth fees in exchange for a lower commission, would you do it? Just asking b/c I was recently approached by a gallery in Argentina to show my work at SOFA Santa Fe and I am thinking it over...

3/12/2009 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

Don't you realize the amount of amazing emotions a 4 year old child can experience at an art fair?

THAT is something that will come back to bite you in the ass, O Ye Parents who would drag their 4 year olds to art fairs.

3/12/2009 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Who did the black booth you can't enter? Sierra? Fantastic!

Parents who bring their 4 years old kid to an art fair are torturing them. Try Disney World.


3/12/2009 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Casp said...

Ok I remember now an artist who made a big white cube, and you could hear techno music booming from inside (but there was no way to enter). How could I have forget? Let me remember who it was...(late 90's).. Michael A. Robinson!!
(wow, the internet is truly magic: keep archiving, artists!)

I wouldnt be surprised of a Tony Smith large black cube, but that's boring innit?

Cedric C

3/12/2009 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Slippery slope, Donna. They're already saving a ton in shipping charges by having you, a U.S. artist, send your work to Santa Fe.(And let me guess: They're expecting you to pay for the shipping, right?) And they want you to chip in for the booth, too? Uh, how do you say No in Spanish? Right, "No."

I'm all for artist/dealer partnerships, but this one seems exploitative.

3/12/2009 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Donna Dodson said...

Thanks, Joanne. Might as well wait for the right opportunity to come along. -Donna

3/12/2009 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

Take a moment to consider the opposite side. I receive dozens of desperate requests from artists for studio visits, dealers to stop by for openings or their art fair booths.

I’ll paraphrase a call from last night: “hello my name is ….I just arrived in Brooklyn from India, and the entire Subcontinent is talking about you. Is there any way we could meet, or that I could get you to come by my studio? Your work is fantastic and I would love to start a dialog…...” Believe, me I recognize smooze, but I think it’s part of an artist’s job to go out and interact with the public. Artists are like societal therapists, kicking babies, drooling middle aged wannabes and card carrying suburban art consultants are all part of our community, they should be embraced not disparaged.

3/12/2009 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...


I'm just taking in the phrase, "The entire Subcontinent is talking about you." Wow!

OK, now . . .

(The art consultant issue is another thing. Consutants work on behalf of the client in getting work from the artists, whereas dealers, we hope, work on behalf of the artist to get work to the client. There's a big difference there. Speaking from personal experience, I can say that the times my work has come back damaged have been when art consultants have taken it from a gallery to make a presentation. Not to disparage all consultants, but they don't have a relationship with the artists. To most, we're merely producing a commodity that goes with the curtains.)

3/12/2009 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

The whole sub continent? Impressive indeed.

Be sure to ask for an artwork (because you love it so much) and do try to get a consulting fee.

"The commercial, which began airing Thursday on cable TV channels, plays like an air freshener ad. A smiling pitchman extolls the virtues of a black spray can labeled "clean coal." But when a suburban housewife uses it, the can spews a black cloud that gives her family coughing fits. The ad ends with the line, "In reality, there's no such thing as clean coal.""

3/12/2009 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

What's da problem? Yous bloggers don't know smooze when your hear it?

(The entire Subcontinent talking and $2 will get you a subway ride.)

3/12/2009 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Oh, we know schmooze, but still, how many folks get to hear "The whole Subcontinent is talking about you." The Bollywood folks, yes. Anish Kapoor, yes. Ghandi, bien sur. The guy on the bike? Amazing.

Enjoy the schmooze is my point.

3/13/2009 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Gina B said...

Okay, I'm sorry but if you don't get annoyed with people after sitting at an art fair for four days, there's something wrong with you.

I feel like the holier than thous in this thread have never worked in any customer service capacity, and fairs/trade shows can be the most grating.

I only say this having not had experience at an art fair, but experience at gift fairs and food fairs, while working to support my art habit. For every one customer or account you're there to see, there are 20 looking for free stuff or to hear themselves talk and 50 more who walk by or check out your booth with a disapproving eye. It is totally annoying soul-less waiting punctuated by brief periods of activity. I'm sure art fairs are better, if you're really into the art, but still...

Anyone who has difficulty understanding that has probably never worked a day outside academia or Daddy's trust fund.

3/14/2009 10:29:00 AM  

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