Another week, another list of artist opportunities that needs to do their homework (the offender this time is Axis), instead of thoughtlessly sending out and tacitly promoting a link that leads artists into this maelstrom of horrendous design, vague promises and demands for money:
Galeria Zero have all the warning signs of a venture that no credible, sensible or professional artist should go anywhere near. They also apparently operate as do-arting.info [sic] and ArtExpo-London2012.com, this latter in a blatantly misleading riding-on-the-Olympic-coat-tails kind of way: where are the LOCOG brand enforcement police when we need them? Red alert when we see a so-called opportunity for artists that has:
- Terrible, sloppy design, which may be the reason for vital information being hidden away in illogical places. Or maybe they don’t want you knowing any vital information? You decide. It’s absolutely certain that no reputable gallery has link bait pages like this one.
- No names, no provenance, no connections to credible artists, galleries or professional organisations of any kind. Just vague, generic snapshots of anonymous white spaces that could be anywhere or not even related. A bare address in Amsterdam. They’ve actually paid for a masking service on their WhoIs internet registration records so nobody can track them down too easily. Again, there are sometimes good privacy reasons for doing so but in this kind of context one would not be unjustified in fearing the worst. You should always be able to find out who you’re dealing with and what they’ve done before.
- Broken English, even in the sections that are supposed to be about London. Not being very good at English isn’t a crime, of course, but it does seem to be a hallmark of these scammy, spammy sites.
- Tantalising, exotic locations that an artist might reasonably want to visit and put on their CV. And Ghent. Bad snapshot photography of sparsely attended gallery spaces that could be anywhere, or indeed nothing to do with the current opportunities on offer.
- Vague, non-committal application process that isn’t even clear about what one is applying for, what the decision making process consists of, and what kind of dialogue or support one can expect whether selected or not. And of course no clear or upfront mention of what exactly it will cost you, or even that it will cost you anything at all, apart from this skeletal page that mentions sums of “€500-€1500″. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said this, but I’ll say it again: a professional relationship between a gallery and an artist does not involve the artist paying to exhibit their own work. You should be paid, not paying.
Artists, please do yourself and all of your colleagues or peers a favour by not putting money in the bank for these people. They won’t get you anywhere and no professional in the arts has any respect for them, nor for anybody who deals with them. And organisations who send out opportunity listings to artists, I know that your information is compiled in good faith from information that’s made available to you… but it only took me a few minutes to arrive at the opinion that GZ are probably not legit. I’m tired of seeing these dodgy businesses being promoted to artists by people who claim to have our interests at heart. Do your homework, please, for the sake of the artists you’re meant to be serving. At least look at the links you’re sending out before you actually click the mouse to send them.