Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Productivity in the Studio Part 7


1.Figure out which bodies of work you have available. Think about your work thematically.  Make folders of images based on themes, media, potential show title... I currently have a rotating series of 4-5 different, thematic bodies of work ready for proposal.

2. Identify your audience.  This is hard for me, but in general, I have learned that my work belongs in academic galleries and alternative artist run spaces..  How did I learn this?  Lots of rejections!

3.  Read the mission statements, research past shows of the potential venues.  Does your work fit with their vision?  If it does...

4. Write the cover letter to the curator by name, if you can find their name.  Give a very brief history of your work, a paragraph about the show you propose, and why you think it is a fit.  For instance: you can mention which academic departments and/or classes would benefit; how the community would benefit; offer lectures and/or workshops.
If you are writing to a commercial gallery, cold, show that you know their vision, mention artists they show with whom you see compatibility.  If you have been referred, mention (with permission) who referred you.

5.  Proposal document:  in this document you outline the parameters of the show.  e.g.  I propose an exhibition, titled EROS AND THANATOS, a large scale mixed media installation comprised of....  Simple and direct is fine.

6. Artists Statement-  a general artists statement or a statement specific to the work being proposed.

7. Biography- a short, pithy history of your career

8. Professional resume for your art career.  NO JOBS please.   This document should emphasize exhibitions (solo shows especially, then group shows), collections, grants and fellowships.  I do list publications , education and professional organizations...but toward the end of the document.  

The purpose of this resume is to demonstrate your trustworthiness as an artist.  By demonstrating an exhibition history the curator can see that:
         a) you continue to work hard
         b) other people have noticed
         c) you can be relied on to fulfill your obligations

9) Images:  the very best photos you can get of your work, arranged in the order you want them viewed.  You are building a virtual exhibition before their eyes.  A good show has a visual logic and pacing.  It is rather like reading or performance: think about what you want your audience to learn and pace it in a way that allows them to take it in.  Lightbox or Adobe Bridge are great programs for arranging sequences of images.  Otherwise, you can arrange print outs on your work table.

10) image list: give them what they ask for.  At the most basic: title-media-size-year completed.  Often you can give a small description, which will allow you to contextualize the image within the whole proposal.

11) Press tear sheets: If it seems appropriate or if requested, you can include a selection of press written about your work. Don't worry if you do not have this yet.

12) Keep track of your proposals and applications.  

I have an Excel spreadsheet with columns for:
         due date
         expected results date
         title of show
         venue with address
         how I applied ( online, their website, email, snail mail)
         date of exhibition
         a list of images sent

I also keep folders in my computer for each show.

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