Monday, April 4, 2011

Art dickhead exchange

So a quick set-up. My personal email ( was given by a friend to a guy who runs a gallery a couple towns over. I don't know the guy. He wanted "works with paper" for a big group show. My thoughts are "sure, I'll be in the thing" and we have a super casual back and forth via email about how much space I need, what I have, etc. I'm a little surprised he doesn't really ask me anything about my stuff (including what it looks like) until a few days ago. I send him a couple shitty JPEGs of my cube (where it sits in my garage) and some collage/trash garland I've been working on. A few days pass and I get this fucking email:

Danny, [the name on this email account is Danny Dentata]

After seeing your presentation, of the work you want to put in the show, I'm not sure who sent you an invitation.

You haven't gotten back to me, so I am going to make a decision based on the following questions.

Who is the artist you know, that is in this show?
Is this your best and recent work.
Do you have a portfolio, resume and references?
Have you been to art school or taken any art classes?
Do you know how to professionally present art work for consideration in an exhibition?
Do you care about how your work is presented in a show?
Does your work have any content or does it just sit on top of trash?
Do you have names of all the galleries and shows that you have been in?
Have you shown here.
I your name Dentata or Cashman?
Do you have a web-site?
What is a porkatron?

I can not answer any of these questions with what you have shown me.

I'm sorry to inform you that I am taking you off the list of artists that will be in this exhibition.

Art Dickhead

So, I realize that it's not a big deal, but really, what a dickhead.
Here is my response. I had a good time honestly answering all his questions.

Let me answer some of your questions.
A*********** ********* is the artist who gave you my email address.
Whether this is my best work is something I cannot really say, but it is part of a the most recent batch of things I've been working on.
I do not have a portfolio, I do not have a resume, but references would be easy for me to come up with.
I have not been to art school, and I have not taken art classes.
I have not presented work for consideration in an exhibition, I have always been asked.
I care about how my work is presented, but i think the work stands on it's own and I prefer it to exist in non-traditional/non-gallery contexts.
I don't see what the connection between having "content" and sitting on a pile of trash is. I don't have a studio, and space is limited in my home. I work entirely with recycled materials, often what people might see as trash, and I don't see any problem with keeping my pieces "close to their roots," so to speak.
I've shown work at the Dirt Palace in Providence, R.I., 3 different shows at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton, and I just had my first solo show in the gallery in Feeding Tube Records in Northampton. There might be something I'm forgetting about, but not in your space.
My name is Daniel J. Cashman, the email you were sent was my personal email address.
I have website, but unrelated to my art.
Porkatron is a disgusting word I came up with.
I was just about to call you when I received this email, glad I didn't call.
I am not a professional artist, or an aspiring professional artist. I am a guy who makes collages and collage sculptures.
I was responding to an invite to be in a big group show, and before you saw images of my work the interaction we had seemed casual and friendly.
The reason why I do not have curator-friendly images to shop around is that I think such a thing would convey very little about the pieces I make.
I was giving you images trying to convey a sense of the space I might need, not so that you could determine how much "content" was being provided.
I understand that my stuff might not fit in everywhere, and I'm fine with that. Tens of layers of collage on a cardboard box is not the same as a tasteful print.
Regardless, your insulting attitude towards me in these questions is exemplative of the bullshit I try to avoid by bypassing traditional art-world channels.
Have a good show,


Tessa said...

Way to call him out there at the end of the letter. Seriously, Gallery owners can be downright douchebags when it comes to this sort of stuff.

I say: rent a moving truck, fill the back with your work, and drive it around town like a portable gallery.

Hello to You and Yours said...

way to go
I feel better now

hammy said...

Wow - by the sounds of your tepid illustration of what you do, I really can't see why you're shocked by this response.

This guy wants to curate a gallery show. For better or worse he wants to represent artists who can display their work in the context of a gallery.

You've already stated that you don't believe your crap belongs in a gallery -ergo- your stuff obviously doesn't belong in his gallery space. If you can't even give him a 'nice' picture of your crap then no one can help you -you obviously display no respect for your work so why should he.

However the fault also lies in your pal who recommended you for their poor judgement.

Either get serious or get over it.

Danny Trashcan said...

Hey Hammy,
You misunderstand me. First off, I'm not shocked by his response. I just think he's being a dickhead. Secondly I'm not saying I think my stuff doesn't belong in a gallery, I just prefer to show it in non-traditional settings. Often that means not in a traditional gallery, sometimes it does. I don't mind showing my stuff in such places.
Thirdly, I think the idea of "respect" for a piece of art/work/crap is highly subjective. I am perfectly happy with my work, even if I store it in a garage on top of some cardboard.
The guy asked me to be in his show, not the other way around. Because of this, there isn't much for me to get over. I am serious, but your brand of seriousness I find quite boring and a deterrent to the existence of vital or relevant art.

CF said...

Who can argue with you Dan? You've always known who you are and what you're doing, this guy is hard to respect by any standard. It sounds goofy to say, but i think it's true... some people, especially "art" people, don't really understand what being creative is.

dbr said...

Dan, if you're gonna call out assholes on the Internet, you might as well name names so the rest of us know who to scorn and avoid.

Hammy, you probably don't realize how stupid you sound with that droolingly patronizing '-ergo-' crap. Danny's no dummy. Figure it out.

zach phillips said...

Are you in possession of at least one decent dress shirt? If you are offered complimentary shrimp, would you place it on a complimentary plate?

Cloaca said...

zach, those lines sound like they came from the expansion pack lyrics for the "once in a lifetime" song/boardgame. man i gotta buy that.

c. said...

hey dan, i guess you can add flywheel to gallery spaces you've shown work at too. mucho credibilidad