All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

Art/Work

CULTURE

Art/Work

by CH Contributor
on 27 April 2009
art-work-2.jpg

by Ariston Anderson

Few arts institutions teach the fundamentals of business and law for visual arts majors. Enter Art/Work, a new book by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber. Bhandari is the director at NYC's Mixed Greens Gallery while Melber’s background includes practicing art law at a major New York firm and representing artists at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Together they 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.

Of the many topics covered, the book includes the proper way to submit to a gallery, how to attract a curator, the importance of having a website, how to host a successful studio visit, how to edit work and install shows, how to apply for grants and much more. They give real examples of consignment agreements and even include an art fair survival guide. Packed with hundreds of quotes from artists and curators, vital advice on how to make the most of your career fills each page.

Presented in a simple, comprehensive language, it's the perfect gift for anyone working in a creative field. We caught up with Bhandari and Melber to learn more about what makes Art/Work an essential in every artist's toolbox.

Why is your book Art/Work timely now, when the art market is increasingly down?
JM: We wrote it to help artists in good economic times and bad. With a shrinking art market, there are fewer commercial options, making it more important than ever to know how to approach gallerists—and how not to—as well as apply for grants and residencies and find alternatives for showing your work when you do not have a gallery.

What’s the best advice for an artist to organize their time into productive work?
HB: No matter what kind of artist you are or what kind of personality you have, studio time should be prioritized above all else. We recommend that artists figure out when they are most productive in the studio and try to fit a day job around that time. Administrative tasks like inventory and applications shouldn’t be neglected, and some amount of time should be spent supporting the local artist community and receiving feedback. The amount of time spent on each component is up to each artist, but all three should be considered studio time. We know some artists who are very regimented and treat studio time like a job, with certain hours set aside to create, others earmarked for paperwork and time set aside to visit with other artists and attend exhibitions. For many other artists, scheduling is more fluid.

What is the number one thing artists should know when it comes to copyright?
JM: Given how much borrowing, appropriating and re-mixing goes on in the art world, artists should know what "fair use" means—and what it doesn't mean. Despite what a lot of artists are told, for example, it is not true that you're automatically allowed to use someone else's image as long as you "change it by 30%." The rules are more complicated than that and you shouldn't wait until the AP threatens to sue you for copyright infringement before you read up on them—we have good resource links on our website.

What advice do you have for artists who are constantly being rejected by galleries?
HB: Do a little self-reflection and think about your goals, your work and your ideal audience. Check to see if the galleries who are rejecting you have those same goals and interests. If they don’t, you’re submitting work to the wrong places. If you really want that commercial gallery, put in the time to get to know them and their artists. The number-one way that galleries find new artists is through the artists they already have.

How has the web changed the role of the gallery? Has it become a valid space to showcase work?
HB: I’m a little biased in my answer to this question because I’ve worked at Mixed Greens for the last nine years. We’ve always thought the web was a valid space to showcase artists and expose their work to a larger audience. While that was considered a wild and somewhat tacky idea in 1999, it’s widely accepted now.

Why should every artist buy this book?
We wrote Art/Work to be practical, user-friendly and relevant to every stage of one's art career. Art/Work helps new artists develop good habits from the beginning and keeps them from accidentally shooting themselves in the foot. For more experienced artists, Art/Work is a guide to advancing their practice and getting their work shown. Even successful artists with multiple representation will find in Art/Work a sophisticated resource for drafting consignment forms, negotiating commission agreements and understanding how their gallery relationships compare to other artists.

Art/Work is available for purchase from Amazon or Simon and Schuster.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools
Loading More...