While I’m more than happy to share my curatorial knowledge and experiences, there are so many galleries and curators out there doing other things that I find fascinating, so, I thought I’d do a series of Q&A’s with other curators. Here’s the first installment, in which I ask questions of artist and curator Iviva Olenick, LA Gallery Owner and curator, Om Navon Bleicher, and critic, and curator Shana Nys Dambrot.
If you could give artists one piece of advice about the submission process, what would it be?
Iviva: Research the venue. Find out where it is and ask yourself if you can get there reliably and if you like their previous shows. Ask friends if anyone has worked with the venue and get their feedback. Carefully read the curators’ statement and consider whether your work fits or you’re trying to mold it to fit because you’re more interested in exposure than the concept being presented or explored. Curators can smell when it’s the latter. Consider how your works fit within contemporary art discourse. Or don’t. Ignore what you think might be trendy and submit a cohesive selection of works that best support your artist statement as it relates to the curators’ statement of purpose. Be thoughtful and put time into your submission.
Om: Follow up monthly until you get a yes or a no. So many emails and submissions we sometimes loose track. Take no for an answer if you get a no though. Move on to someone who’s a better fit.
Shana: Edit wisely. You may think you’re helping yourself by say, making all four images be from different bodies of work, but the truth is, that mostly comes across as confused and jumbled and hurts each of them by eliminating the fullness of their context. Better to narrow to a single series and include several examples, so the person has a real sense of your talent — proof there’s more than one good picture in a single series makes a stronger impression than an al a carte sampler.
What’s your number one pet peeve when dealing with submissions?
Om: Phone call submissions.
Shana: Incomplete or unclear information. Not only basics like size and medium, but you’d be surprised how often artists don’t have even a few straightforward sentences about what they do, much less a proper statement or the like. It’s so helpful to just have a short description for a bit of context as way to help me understand what I’m seeing — even more necessary when the process involved jpegs instead of studio visits.
What’s the best thing that’s happened to you while, or because of, curating?
Iviva: Having one of the artists who participated in our first ever curated show at The Brooklyn Cottage, Crafting Home, sell multiple single line drawings, which were a form of visual journaling. If I’m correct, these were her first sales. She later told me that our studio visit compelled work she made for a show in Philadelphia. Helping provide external validation for her work was gratifying.
Om: It worked! Also every recent meaningful relationship and my dear wife I’ve met as s result of shows I’ve curated.
Shana: I don’t know if this counts as happening to me, but my favorite thing is when artists respond to each other’s work. David LaChapelle once bought an Austin Young from a show I’d put them in together. Sometimes they go on to work or show together elsewhere. I’ve even had people meet and fall in love! Those kinds of connections prove to me I’m onto something.
All three have things happening constantly; please go check out their sites, instagrams, etc, to find out what they’re currently working on.
I’ll be doing more curator round ups in the future, let me know if you have questions for curators!
CALL FOR ART:
And speaking of curation, as shocking as it seems, it’s time for me to start putting together Stitch Fetish 5, at the Hive Gallery, LA in February, 2017 (where does the time go?), my yearly show of stitched, felted, quilted, hooked, textile erotica. If you’re interested in submitting, the full call and details can be found on my website.
If you’re in the states, have a lovely holiday weekend, and if you’re not still have a great today, and a fantastic monday!!