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Art 'Lessons' Were Just a Start

July 09, 1994

I found Cathy Curtis' most recent column on her revelations regarding the demands and difficulties of curating a single art exhibit (originally scheduled to be shown at my Works Gallery in Costa Mesa in April) to be quite revealing and very amusing ("A Few Real-Life Lessons for the 'Graduate,' " June 21).

I suggest if Cathy really wants to gain the entire perspective on curating art exhibits, she needs to complete the entire gallery "experience."

First, invest $20,000 to $30,000 of your own money a month for the "privilege" of dealing with all those "real-life lessons" to mount an exhibition. If you don't sell any work, don't worry, Cathy, you lose your home or car (if you have one).

Second, work 70 to 80 hours a week, at the expense of your family and personal life, to deal with these nagging little problems, lighting and hanging the shows (all the "little" work beneath you), the transportation, the bookkeeping, the administration, and dealing with immense egos in this business without pay--only to gain some poisonous review of your hardwork by some self-appointed "expert" called an "art critic." Of course, this assumes the critic even acknowledges your show--which is rare.

Last, repeat this procedure for each show, as I did, 22 times a year, for five years until you are near bankruptcy. Then listen to that same critic bash you in the press for not succeeding, or being too mainstream, or showing work that might sell (heaven forbid), or of just not being up to her high standards--whatever those might be.

After you have gone through all this and more, then I believe you might be qualified to discuss the "real-life" lessons you have learned about the other end of the art world.


The Works Gallery

Costa Mesa

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