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ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career

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Find Out What They Didn't Teach You in Art School The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone j Find Out What They Didn't Teach You in Art School The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone just thinking about becoming a professional artist, this indispensable resource will help you build your career and protect yourself along the way. Unlike other creative professionals, visual artists don't have agents or managers. You have to do it all yourself, at least until you find gallery representation -- and even then, there are important business and legal issues you need to understand to stay in control of your career and ensure you're being treated fairly. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through these issues so that you can essentially act as your own manager and agent. They show you, for example, how to tackle business basics such as tracking inventory and preparing invoices; how to take legal precautions like registering a copyright and drafting consignment forms; how to use promotional tools like websites and business cards; and how to approach career decisions such as choosing the right venue to show your work. In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Bhandari and Melber interviewed nearly one hundred curators, dealers, and other arts professionals, in cities across the country, about what they expect from and look for in artists. The authors also talked to a host of artists about their careers and the lessons they've learned navigating the art world. The book is full of their entertaining anecdotes and candid advice. No matter what kind of artist you are -- or want to be -- this book will help you. Art/Work covers everything you need to know to succeed, saving you from having to learn it all the hard way -- and letting you spend more time making art.


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Find Out What They Didn't Teach You in Art School The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone j Find Out What They Didn't Teach You in Art School The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone just thinking about becoming a professional artist, this indispensable resource will help you build your career and protect yourself along the way. Unlike other creative professionals, visual artists don't have agents or managers. You have to do it all yourself, at least until you find gallery representation -- and even then, there are important business and legal issues you need to understand to stay in control of your career and ensure you're being treated fairly. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through these issues so that you can essentially act as your own manager and agent. They show you, for example, how to tackle business basics such as tracking inventory and preparing invoices; how to take legal precautions like registering a copyright and drafting consignment forms; how to use promotional tools like websites and business cards; and how to approach career decisions such as choosing the right venue to show your work. In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Bhandari and Melber interviewed nearly one hundred curators, dealers, and other arts professionals, in cities across the country, about what they expect from and look for in artists. The authors also talked to a host of artists about their careers and the lessons they've learned navigating the art world. The book is full of their entertaining anecdotes and candid advice. No matter what kind of artist you are -- or want to be -- this book will help you. Art/Work covers everything you need to know to succeed, saving you from having to learn it all the hard way -- and letting you spend more time making art.

30 review for ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    some fairly good advice and a good resource to have on hand, some of the quotes make me feel like never making art again, just to not risk running into any of these egomaniacs who run galleries, particularly whoever the hell was writing from connor contemporary in dc. ugh.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bev Frisk

    Such a good resource for professional working artists in many different capacities. This book covers everything from shipping artwork to taxes. It has commentary from professional curators, artists, and more in the margins which is really helpful as well to read real world experience along with technical advice applicable to many artists trying to work independently or for an organization. I was required to get this for a class at Portland State covering the different professional areas of artis Such a good resource for professional working artists in many different capacities. This book covers everything from shipping artwork to taxes. It has commentary from professional curators, artists, and more in the margins which is really helpful as well to read real world experience along with technical advice applicable to many artists trying to work independently or for an organization. I was required to get this for a class at Portland State covering the different professional areas of artistic careers and what acquiring funding looks like as well which is a tricky thing to learn about just starting out as a young artist. If you know someone trying to get their foot in the door in galleries or other art spaces this is a fantastic book to have on hand. It is in my permanent art book collection. Being an artist can be daunting because many people will doubt you if they don’t have a personal connection or investment in the arts. It can instill a person with confidence to read about people doing art collecting or creating at a high level of success. Having books like this that document a variety of professional opinions on the day to day work of artists is so valuable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This is such a great resource for artists, even if you've been around the block, or just graduated from art school. The authors have a lot of experience dealing with both artists and the art world, which gives you an insiders look on what works and what doesn't. I really enjoyed the quotes inside that correspond with the points they are making. I think this will definitely help me with my career, and I'm glad I bought a hardcopy so I can refer back to my notes and highlighted passages. This is such a great resource for artists, even if you've been around the block, or just graduated from art school. The authors have a lot of experience dealing with both artists and the art world, which gives you an insiders look on what works and what doesn't. I really enjoyed the quotes inside that correspond with the points they are making. I think this will definitely help me with my career, and I'm glad I bought a hardcopy so I can refer back to my notes and highlighted passages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    I stopped this book a little over half-way through. It is both helpful and completely uninspiring; one of those texts that will leave you disillusioned about the art world, and make you forget all the reasons you covet art in the first place. Recommended for artists seeking galleries, notoriety, or art as a business. Very useful, objective tasks for achieving success-- a lot of opinions woven throughout that I found so dry and unstimulating that I questioned my role in the art world altogether. T I stopped this book a little over half-way through. It is both helpful and completely uninspiring; one of those texts that will leave you disillusioned about the art world, and make you forget all the reasons you covet art in the first place. Recommended for artists seeking galleries, notoriety, or art as a business. Very useful, objective tasks for achieving success-- a lot of opinions woven throughout that I found so dry and unstimulating that I questioned my role in the art world altogether. This is probably telling of my success (or lack therof) in it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    I am a professional artist and I recommend this book to all other artists trying to figure out how to show and sell their work professionally. This covers all the non-art things an artist needs to know about interacting with galleries and museums from personal approach to legal paperwork to how you ship and pack art. They have legal templates, cautionary tales, and tips of all kinds. More importantly you get advice from different curators, gallerists and other art professionals on each topic cov I am a professional artist and I recommend this book to all other artists trying to figure out how to show and sell their work professionally. This covers all the non-art things an artist needs to know about interacting with galleries and museums from personal approach to legal paperwork to how you ship and pack art. They have legal templates, cautionary tales, and tips of all kinds. More importantly you get advice from different curators, gallerists and other art professionals on each topic covered. It's organized in way that makes it easy to find the piece of information you are looking for fast, so you can use it as a resource, not just a cover-to-cover read. This book will save you from rookie mistakes that will make galleries not take you seriously, get your art damaged or even stolen, etc. The classic gallery mistake so many artists starting out make is to take their portfolio gallery-to-gallery, which the book equates with going into a bar and asking each person in there if they will marry you right now. Other mistakes things like dropping off art _anywhere_ without getting a signed form describing the work, it's value, and who owns it with a picture of it. I know artists who never saw their work again and were never paid. These are painful rookie mistakes. Art/Work is just a great go-to guide for _everything_ about the non-art parts of being an artist. Some people (and unfortunately many artists) think all artists do is play around in the studio and enjoy making art. The truth is there are a lot of other things we need to know how to do that aren't always covered in art school. This book is your go-to for all that. I'm finally getting museum collections and I still refer to this book regularly. Can't recommend it enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    This book was incredibly useful to me. After art school I felt like I learned how to make art, but next to nothing about how to have a career as an artist. Of course, unless you wanted to teach at the University level or work at a coffee shop for the rest of your life. This book laid out some very basic things that are helpful in understanding the nuts and bolts of pursuing a career as an artist from graduation to gallery representation. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyon This book was incredibly useful to me. After art school I felt like I learned how to make art, but next to nothing about how to have a career as an artist. Of course, unless you wanted to teach at the University level or work at a coffee shop for the rest of your life. This book laid out some very basic things that are helpful in understanding the nuts and bolts of pursuing a career as an artist from graduation to gallery representation. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who has been to art school, and is having a difficult time making sense of why they did that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    As an artist who is about to graduate from grad school and was terrified of what to expect, this book definitely calms the nerves and is a MUST have for any artist - new or someone who has been at it for years. It clears up the processes, gives you good practices, and has overall incredible advice for almost any situation you'll encounter. Best of all, you learn to cover your butt in case something unfortunate happens! Invaluable!! As an artist who is about to graduate from grad school and was terrified of what to expect, this book definitely calms the nerves and is a MUST have for any artist - new or someone who has been at it for years. It clears up the processes, gives you good practices, and has overall incredible advice for almost any situation you'll encounter. Best of all, you learn to cover your butt in case something unfortunate happens! Invaluable!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Mostly skimmed through this since there were SO many quotes making it tedious to read. It is also geared for the US market with taxes and copyrights and way too much info on galleries which is not useful in this area.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Raquel

    Quite simply a collection of essential basics for professional art practice you should have been taught at art school - but weren't. Written from a US perspective however still very relevant for artists working anywhere in Europe and internationally. Quite simply a collection of essential basics for professional art practice you should have been taught at art school - but weren't. Written from a US perspective however still very relevant for artists working anywhere in Europe and internationally.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katya Slonenko

    How do you diversify income streams to sustain a healthy art practice? How can you find an alternative to the gallery system? How do you review a license agreement? What are digital marketing best practices? Also included are new quotes from over thirty arts professionals, updated commission legal templates, organizational tips, tax information, and advice for artists who don’t make objects.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Smith

    A practical must for working in the creative field. I've pulled this out for years when apply to residencies, jobs, making resumes, hosting shows of open studios. It's all here. No fluff, just what you need to know. Plus some encouragement for those working in the field. A practical must for working in the creative field. I've pulled this out for years when apply to residencies, jobs, making resumes, hosting shows of open studios. It's all here. No fluff, just what you need to know. Plus some encouragement for those working in the field.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    This book is very helpful for anyone wanting to pursue becoming a professional fine artist. I read the second addition and it was helpful with modern aspects caused by the internet. I hope the authors continue to create up dated versions as technology continues to change how things are done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ill.gamesh

    If you want to make art your livelihood, this book is essential. It's dry reading, and the authors say up front you don't have to read it cover to cover (like I did). I appreciate their effort to make the material as enjoyable and readable as possible. If you want to make art your livelihood, this book is essential. It's dry reading, and the authors say up front you don't have to read it cover to cover (like I did). I appreciate their effort to make the material as enjoyable and readable as possible.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book is indispensable if you are looking to make a business out of your artwork and practice. I regularly refer back to this for formatting business paperwork and keeping track of the things I create. Artists are historically bad businesspeople, and this book works hard to bridge that gap.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Josue Perez

    Highly recommended to anyone in the business of selling/creating art. This book gives great insight into how commerce in the art world works and equips artists with the tools they need so they don't charge blindly into it. Highly recommended to anyone in the business of selling/creating art. This book gives great insight into how commerce in the art world works and equips artists with the tools they need so they don't charge blindly into it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    Excellent resource! I give it 4 stars only because the pages of quotes (albeit decently insightful) were a bit excessive.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Mosley

    A useful guide to the business practicals of art and self-marketing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brandan

    A resourceful guide for the aspiring artist.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jabeen

    An extremely helpful book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    E N

    covers a lot of important stuff an artist should know

  21. 5 out of 5

    Taryn

    This is the book on how it all works that I’ve been searching for. https://www.tarynokesson.com/2021/09/... This is the book on how it all works that I’ve been searching for. https://www.tarynokesson.com/2021/09/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Arpita Choudhury

    A useful book if you are delving into the fine art world. Some of the guidance was obvious and they completely skipped over the importance of social media.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    Quite informative. I'm looking forward to reading the updated edition when it releases in July. Quite informative. I'm looking forward to reading the updated edition when it releases in July.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    ART/WORK should be read with a pen and pad of paper handy, as well as a measure of intestinal fortitude to help you stomach the TRENDY/HIP title, whose attitude occasionally carries over to the text. By and large extremely helpful, Bhandari and Melber only really fall down in their assumption that anyone reading the text comes to it fresh off an art school education. That premise causes them to skimp on the specifics in a way that can be, to say the least, maddening. Still, it serves admirably ART/WORK should be read with a pen and pad of paper handy, as well as a measure of intestinal fortitude to help you stomach the TRENDY/HIP title, whose attitude occasionally carries over to the text. By and large extremely helpful, Bhandari and Melber only really fall down in their assumption that anyone reading the text comes to it fresh off an art school education. That premise causes them to skimp on the specifics in a way that can be, to say the least, maddening. Still, it serves admirably enough as both a tool to focus intent and a reality check for aspiring artists.

  25. 5 out of 5

    KT

    As much as I want to criticize some of the bad quotes from people... I think the overall advice of this book is good. It is crazy to me that art schools do not teach many of the things explained in this book. If you are young and just starting out, I would read this before college even...It teaches you how to protect yourself and how to make consignments, gallery agreements, etc. Very important information to know if you want to avoid being taken advantage of. I think if you've been in the biz, As much as I want to criticize some of the bad quotes from people... I think the overall advice of this book is good. It is crazy to me that art schools do not teach many of the things explained in this book. If you are young and just starting out, I would read this before college even...It teaches you how to protect yourself and how to make consignments, gallery agreements, etc. Very important information to know if you want to avoid being taken advantage of. I think if you've been in the biz, it's a little redundant but it is a helpful reference.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kian

    If you're lost in the world of art business and do not have any idea how selling artworks to galleries and other institutes works then this book is for you. It tells you all the necessary steps, dos and don't and introduces you to a basic marketing tricks. I criticize it for giving too many advises from artists, curators and gallery owners. It has an easy language and you can read it quite fast. If you're lost in the world of art business and do not have any idea how selling artworks to galleries and other institutes works then this book is for you. It tells you all the necessary steps, dos and don't and introduces you to a basic marketing tricks. I criticize it for giving too many advises from artists, curators and gallery owners. It has an easy language and you can read it quite fast.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Knapp

    This book has a great deal of current, useful information and it is written plainly, and even with a bit of humor. It is easy to understand and includes resources for more information. Anyone who wants to become a professional artist, or any professional artists who need help developing and maintaining relationships with their galleries, should read this book. It would be a good idea for gallery owners to do the same as well in order to help understand where their artists are coming from.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I must admit that the fact that I HATED the university course I had to read this for, so it may have colored my opinion of the book. But the quotes on every other page, and the layout of this book made it tedious to say the least. Slogging through that, though, there is a lot of good information for someone who wants to work as a gallery artist.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Drew Coffman

    An interesting concept for a book, and though certainly geared to artists trying to create a name for themselves, certain bits were applicable to all artists in general. Sadly, the book is bogged down by legal aspects, forms, and (bafflingly) a ton of quotes. It's more of a manual than it is a book, but perhaps it's a manual that many need. An interesting concept for a book, and though certainly geared to artists trying to create a name for themselves, certain bits were applicable to all artists in general. Sadly, the book is bogged down by legal aspects, forms, and (bafflingly) a ton of quotes. It's more of a manual than it is a book, but perhaps it's a manual that many need.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tyrannosaurus regina

    A lot of useful information on both sides of the artist / gallery relationship, though large chunks of it were U.S. specific in ways that were not necessarily relevant for me. A real heavy hand with the quotes, give a wide variety of views. Essentially, there is no one right way to handle things that everyone agrees on.

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