Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Wheelin' Art

(Philip Guston, 1968)

This is a hunch I’m having: most gallerists might not know – or might not have the time to know – what they’re looking at. It’s up to the artist to give them the hook, the elevator pitch. That way, the gallerist can match it, promote it, promote the artist, to their people. The term “dealer” might really be more accurate than gallerist.

A girlfriend of mine has just finished writing a book. Now comes what they call the query letter, which consists of three paragraphs sent to agents. The letter has to not only recount the book and suck the agent in, but it must also couch it in a certain market, name parallel titles, other published books. It is the writer’s responsibility to give this information.

That actually annoys me. I thought it was the writer’s job just to write the thing. Guess not.

What I wonder is, what’s in it for the agent, the dealer, the gallerist? Really? You can like art, you can love books, and that’s wonderful. But, what would make you want to sell it? Part of me thinks power, fashion. Part of me hopes love itself. Part of me just doesn’t know. But, if I’m going to stay in the business, I guess I’ve got to respect them. God bless ‘em.

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