Episode 67 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Make Lots of Money and Be Famous

Will You Make Lots of Money and Be Famous after Putting This Book into Practice?

Maybe you will and maybe you will not. But if you follow the book, you will learn how to be a professional artist, and no matter how things turn out, you will know that you tried and conducted yourself professionally and gave yourself a chance. That alone should give you an advantage in the marketplace. As an artist, Judith Braun once said to me, “I don’t want to look back at my life when I am eighty or ninety and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had tried to be an artist.’ I want to know that I did my best and have no regrets about it.”

There is also a burgeoning DIY movement in the arts now. It is generally meant to mean that now, many artists are “doing it themselves,” that is, they are working outside the gallery system, they are bypassing the traditional middle person in the equation and working directly with the public. That notion pertains to visual artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and many others that are in the arts.

There are many ideas in this book, but the main thing you can take with you is knowing that you conducted yourself like a professional, giving you the best possible chance at making it in the art world. There are examples of how other artists have  done it, and you can follow their examples or make up your own.

You should be reading this book if you want to see more of your art in the world, no matter where you are in your career.

If you have ever said to yourself, “I wish I could just make art,” then this is a book that can help you. If your dreams are large, like getting into the greatest museum in the world, or modest, like getting a local café, gallery, or collector to take

interest in your work, then you will find some wisdom in here to make your travels a bit smoother.

At the end of reading this book, you will have a map in your hand that outlines your strategy that is entirely your own.

If you are an artist at heart and want to let the world know how wonderful you are, then read this book, fill out the workbook, and you will be marching down a new road.

Is my art good enough?

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


Episode 61 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Sue Stoffel cont’d / Fundraising

Sue Stoffel interview continued.

Carey: And so the artists that they’re collecting, they’re not just necessarily known artists, they’re also emerging artists or unknown artists?

Stoffel: They’re all emerging artists. I worked with a lot of the galleries on the Lower East Side on Manhattan who were once the directors of the major Chelsea galleries now and who are going out on their own and starting their own stables and they bring extraordinary institutional memory with them. And have built up their own expertise and I work with them and it also depends on the taste of each client. I never show the same client the same work. I get to know how my clients live and how they live in their own residences. I do everything from delivery, installation, lighting, framing, insurance, tax planning, loans, everything.

Carey: Wow, that sounds like you’d need another degree to learn all of that. That was part of what you’ve learned in Arts Administration?

Stoffel: Yes, very much so, very much so. It’s a fantastic program.  It teaches you what everyone used to be doing by the seat of their palms. Curators used to become museum directors and now museum directors need an MBA.

Carey: And what school did you go to learn that?    

Stoffel: Columbia, here in New York.

Carey: I’d like to talk a little bit now about fundraising as well. I know you’ve worked with organizations to help with fundraising. I’m not sure if you’re doing that anymore, are you still helping with fundraising?

Stoffel: Yes, on a project basis. If I can buy into the project and it’s well conceived and they thought of a budget and they know how much it’s going to cost, I’m happy to make a few phone calls and say, “I think this is where you might have your commitment.”

But fundraising is – Anne Pastenak taught me that, fundraising is about fit. It’s about the project and about the funder, and you can only know that after having done it for a long time. So you have 3 sources of fundraising. You have corporate, you have government and you have private. And so you need to have a good healthy mix of all 3 of them in order to successfully fund any projects.

She also taught me that it takes dollar to raise a dollar. And so you need to have some kind of tools first before you go out to other sponsors and potential funders for grants and say, “Look I’ve got this. It’s going to cost me this, I need you to underwrite a third.” And sometimes they say, “I’ll write a third.” I’ll write a tenth,” but that’s how you get projects funded on a case by case basis.

Carey: Is it possible for artists to use this paradigm? I know places like Creative Capital and others are beginning to suggest to artists that they could run their studios almost like their own nonprofit and begin raising monies for their activity. Is that something you would encourage or do you think it’s possible this idea of artists’ fundraiser for their project?

Stoffel: I have never heard of that.

Carey: Organizations, like the LMCC (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) and some other new organizations that are coming up are offering artists fiscal sponsorships where they will act as the non-profit to accept the funds on behalf of the artist. So if the artist raises money or gets a commitment from a corporation or an individual to donate money to that project, it will go first to let’s say, in a case of the LMCC, to them and then they take a small percentage and write a check to the artist. Myself, and my wife and I are collaborative, when we raised some money we used Performance Space122 as our fiscal sponsor. Artists are using other organization as fiscal sponsors to essentially create their own fundraising platform.

Stoffel: I have a question back at you then. Is that fiscal sponsor responsible for the end product?

Carey: No

Stoffel: Did they oversee the end product?

Carey: No, I mean, they obviously want something to happen. Let’s say in the case of me working with Performance Space 122,, I’m responsible for communicating with that funder about the progress of it and what ultimately happens with it. The funder is really using Performance Space 122 as a way to donate to a 501(c)3 (a registered non-profit) so they get the appropriate tax off.

Stoffel: Correct.

Carey: This is similar almost to Kickstarter which is like the 501(c)3. They’re not responsible for the end product and of course there is sometimes problems with project completion.

Stoffel: I did know that the LMCC place takes sponsorship but I thought there was only the quid pro quo or they would be given studio space or …

Carey: No. Now they’re just doing fiscal sponsorship because essentially it’s book work. It’s their bookkeeper, that is committing to accepting donations on the artists behalf and creating a separate section in their book to keep track of this project but artist that doing with local churches, it could be anyone with a 501(c)3 really     

Stoffel: I’d like to know more about that, that’s an interesting model.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.


Episode 43 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Where do they begin?

Hoptman: I agree with you.

Carey: I’d like to talk to you about all the artists that are graduating now. There are artists emerging into this world, thousands every year and many of them are attracted to New York or as near to it as they can get, and we can see this kind of expansion outside of New York as well. Just meeting a curator or applying for shows or becoming part of the art world is very much a mystery to a lot of artists—where do they begin? Where do you think an artist should begin in terms of moving, etc.?

Hoptman: It’s a good probing question because it comes around to the beginning of the conversation, and I have the same answer. I think artists begin making a world for themselves among other artists. And any way that you can become a part of that, if you can commune with other artists, that’s where I think you’re going to find your ideological or your artistic home.

There are lots of ways to do that. You can become involved in a post graduate program like the Core program or Skowhegan, or even a less ambitious one like the one I mentioned that the Bronx Museum still runs—the AIM program, which is one that’s not necessarily a residency so you don’t have to go live somewhere.

I think that you can go to graduate school. I know that that’s been de rigueur now for at least twenty years for professional artists. Most professional artists that I see have master’s degrees, although it probably started in my generation. Because artists that are a little bit older than me don’t have those master’s degrees. They didn’t feel it necessary.

It’s very similar with curators, there are curatorial programs all over the place. When I started working I knew I wanted to get an art history degree. I never knew that I needed a curatorial degree. So I’m kind of an old school curator in that way. I’m a historian, not a curatorial studies person, but yes you find your community that way.

I think that the communities are much more permeable now. The museum community, the commercial art world in New York City, the non-commercial art world in New York City, the kind of commercial art world if you want a hybrid, too, and that kind of judgment I don’t think is so much a part of people’s lives anymore. I’m very happy about that because that was just awful, I think, personally. What an awful way to look at art and make this snap judgments and it was an awful way for artists to have to submit.

I think now art dealers, for example, at least over the past ten years, have been on the hunt for artists. So I think the burden of finding artists are more on these people who realized that there was a very lively market for emerging artists.

What’s going to happen now? I don’t know if my art dealer colleagues are running around looking for the next big thing, but I certainly know that curators are very focused on emerging artists, what to look for in new talent, and are very interested in finding and gathering information. So I don’t know, I mean, I have to ask some young artists, but I think that I wouldn’t say it’s easier. It’s just some of the burdens that were there before aren’t there anymore.

Carey: Right, and you mentioned smaller communities as well as going back to school for graduate programs. I’m thinking also of many artists who are graduating from their MFA programs and are still wondering how to act with a curator and reach those types of programs.

Hoptman: Yes, I mean, there’s the Core program down in Houston and others like it, things like that, residencies. I know lots of artists do that. I think the art schools are thriving now because so many people are interested in teaching.

It used to be, on the East Coast, it used to be problematic, at least in my time, but now I think almost every artist that I know would probably kill for a teaching a job in New York. It’s a wonderful way to be in touch with all the sort of new ideas that are coming up and also have academic stimulation, if you will.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.


Episode 41 – The Art World Demystified by Brainard Carey / Artist in the Marketplace

Laura Hoptman interview continued…

Carey: You talked about doing three hundred studio visits, and I’d like to talk about that a little bit because I’m interested and I think everyone is interested in how you selected those artists. How did you choose three hundred artists?

Hoptman: That’s a very good question but I have a kind of a boring answer. We can talk about it in another way; for that particular job, the Bronx Museum had and still has a program called AIM, which is an acronym for Artist in the Marketplace.

It’s a program for emerging artists where every week they come to the museum, meet one another, and learn practical information on how to survive as an artist in New York. How to do your taxes. At that time, how to make a portfolio or a slide or something to send galleries. The museum arranges meetings with curators, other curators, as well as gallerists, as well as tax people, it’s all kinds of things and at the end of this nine-week program you have an exhibition at the museum.

So when you leave the museum—this was the thinking at least at the time and maybe still now—you leave that museum with kind of a community that you met. Some sort of life skill for artists, and that could be an addition to your résumé with a catalog.

So the time that I did most of my studio visits is the year and a half that I was there. I was making an exhibition that commemorated the twentieth anniversary of this program. I think it’s now thirty years old. So I visited the alumni of the AIM program, plus a group of the emerging artists. It was a kind of matrix. So how do you choose? Well, I have had one tried and true method my entire career and that is that I ask other artists. I’m actually married to an artist. I’ve been married to an artist for fifteen years. I always rely on artists to tell me what other artists to go look at.

Carey: That’s very interesting.

Hoptman: Doesn’t everybody do that?

Carey: Well, everyone has different methods it seems. Some people do say that they do both. They have artists to rely on. Other people will talk about meeting other people when they’re out. It’s an interesting question, because one of the things that I’m finding from talking with different people in the art world, especially the people who’ve been in it quite a long time, is how the world has so radically changed from the seventies, and even the early eighties, and now. We’re talking of so many more artists and a very different landscape. Even without the recession, financially, for artists it’s a very different . . .

Hoptman: But—I’m sorry to break in, but the first thing I would think of was the idea that we’re in a post studio landscape, and particularly in New York because it’s so expensive to establish a studio here. So there are a lot of people who have a post studio practice. During the boom, there were a lot of artists that you would visit and very often there would be no work at their studio. You will be looking at it through reproductions because they had, for better or for worse, brought it to their gallery for sale, so it was rarely there.

I think that over the years what’s changed for me in terms of studio visits, is that at certain moments, it has become a kind of a meeting as opposed to a kind of a discussion over objects.

Carey: Let’s talk a little bit more about how it’s become more a meeting than a discussion over objects.

Hoptman: I remember when I first met Gabriel Orozco—and I met him under other circumstances, I met him in an elevator. We kind of became friends. When he lived in the East Village he used to meet people in one particular place, Café Veselka, that Ukrainian restaurant. That used to be the place where we went to visit Gabriel and others.

The same with Rirkrit Tiravanija, an artist who I have known ever since I was at the Bronx Museum. He was one of my three hundred studio visits that early time. He was the first project that I did at MoMA when I got there. I remember how we talked about it and Thompson Square Park was where we sort of worked. So all three of those guys were sort of post studio and that was my first experience of that. Not going into a basement or a studio, a place where there are things like paintings to see or something.

As the 1990s became the 2000s, and as the art market heated up so much, the studio visits became more and more in a way sort of bizarre, because you really were trying to chase the objects. More often than not you didn’t find the objects in the studio with the artists, you found them in the backroom of their gallery or some other exhibition space, mostly commercial exhibition space.

I mean, even at art schools I remember very, very well up until four years ago going to art schools and having cases of some people not even having very much work. If I wasn’t there for their MSA exhibition they could, some of them could have already dispersed into the commercial ecosystem. It’s weird. I mean even to talk about it is weird.

Carey: Has that changed also since then?

Hoptman: I’m talking about very recent history now. I can’t tell you absolutely whether it has or not, but I can see some changes. I go to a lot of art schools and I really treasure that ability. People ask me to go to places all over the country and also to postgraduate programs like the Core program—I just came back from there, in Houston.

I think, as of this year, I do see a kind of changed atmosphere, a sort of less charged atmosphere in the studios of younger artists or emerging artists, if you will. There’s more stuff there. There’s less of a push to get it out of there. There’s less of an object orientation that shouldn’t be a surprise to people who are looking at contemporary work. There’s less painting. I’m a painting curator, but the ubiquity of painting became almost lugubrious. For someone like me that’s hard to say, because I never thought I could get enough of it.

I noticed in art schools now there’s a little bit of a chilling out, which I think is really positive. You know, that artists whose practice might not have been conducive to painting or making paintings.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here.