Fortunately it’s safely imprisoned behind the Times paywall and therefore not available online to the great unwashed but Alex Pearl- who will probably appreciate me pointing out that he’s not usually in the Sunday Times’ demographic- sent on pictures of a horrifying article about what it takes to be a successful artist or curator these days. The answer is to be an old Etonian or an heiress, basically, just like every other prestige profession.
Some nuggets from the article:
I feel totally vindicated in what I’ve been saying for a while, that moneyed idiots and celebrity offspring who don’t have the intelligence to actually work at anything and barely know how to operate a doorknob are increasingly rebranding themselves as curators or the founders of fashion boutiques, or both. This is cooler than the more traditional trustafarian options of artist or musician, because being an artist or a musician still involves doing SOME work, even if you’re Lord Grouseraper’s son or you have the amoral, acquisitive business sense of Damien Hirst. If there’s one thing these people don’t understand or have any truck with, it’s lifting a finger to do anything pragmatic. Usually there’s a whole slew of things they don’t understand, actually, but that’s the main one.
“… he jangles a Cartier-bejewelled wrist in the direction of a Banksy.”
Tyrone and Jamie (son and stepson of minor Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood) run Scream gallery in Mayfair and it turns over £5-10 million a year. Jamie: “Artists are the next footballers… it goes back to Warhol, Lichtenstein- when artists started doing cool shit.” Note to self: MUST START DOING SOME COOL SHIT. Ty: “When it comes to art history I’m like Hello? My skill is with people.” Profound. Note to self: ADOPT THIS PHRASE AS A GENERAL EXCUSE FOR IGNORANCE.
“It Girl” Tamara Beckwith opened The Little Black Gallery in Chelsea with a business plan sketched literally “on the back of an envelope.” I’m guessing the envelope itself was more than large enough to contain not only everything she knows about art, but also everything she knows about ANYTHING.
Ivan Massow, former chairman of the ICA: “Young trustafarians are attracted to the art world because it seems fashionable. They’ll have friends who will buy their work- and friends with galleries they can sell it through.”
Artist, Old Etonian and Edinburgh College of Art graduate Ian Bruce: “There’s an internal culture where anyone who wants to get into the art world needs to work in a gallery or as an assistant for free for some time first. And who can afford to work for free in London? A whole load of well-connected, wealthy, privileged young people. So that’s who you get working in the art world- and when they start to have some success, who do they know but more well-connected, wealthy, privileged people? Meanwhile, if you’re an artist without means or connections, you look to the Arts Council, who are cutting funding. It’s terrible- a real shame.”
Artist William Roper-Curzon (Charterhouse, Prince of Wales Drawing School) is also refreshingly candid and sensible in acknowledging that his family have no real idea what work is and that he wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for his family’s wealth and his own rich friends.
“A recent survey showed that 60% of music-chart acts were privately educated, it is tempting to wonder if art will go the same way.”
Hello? My skill is in getting annoyed.