60 tips and recommendations, including tricks and amusing anecdotes, collected in a sort of handbook for all young professionals (and not only) in the art sector.
Christoph Noe, art consultant and co-founder of Larry's List, has recently published How to not fuck up your art-world happiness : a mini-manual built on the basis of first-hand experiences, which teaches in a light and decidedly concert way how to keep a healthy mind while living and working in the art world.
A sincere contribution by the author, born with the aim of allowing readers not to lose faith in the art world, always remembering the importance of not being absorbed entirely by it.
Short, engaging and direct. Christoph Noe implicitly assumes the role of the dearest friend, the trusted adviser who guides us to survival in the art world, making us smile with gimmicks to note down and put into practice.
In a short interview, the author tells us why and how this book was born.
Why did you feel the need to write this book?
I am not, or rather was not, satisfied with the current state of the art world scene. So I started putting some thoughts on paper that had been passing through my mind for some time. Naturally, these are observations based on 10-15 years of work in the art scene, so I want to clarify that they did not 'appear' overnight but are the result of reflections and elaborations. I had them in my head and I gave them a voice.
I had a feeling they would resonate with other people's.
After all these years I still believe a lot in art, and in culture in general. But I believe that when you are not satisfied with how employment is going in the sector, there are different options for reacting: you can limit yourself to whipping yourself, you can be ironic or, even, you can leave. For now I don't want to leave, I don't want to leave the art world (at least, not yet!). So I did this, maybe naive but at least I tried: I wanted to give the artistic community a collection of reflections that I hope will also be useful to change some things.
Remembering to keep a clear mind is therefore something fundamental when working in the art world.
Actually no matter what industry you work in, making sure you can maintain a healthy mind is always important. Allowing work to suck us in, letting it run our lives is unhealthy, we should always find ways to stop and ask ourselves, “What am I doing? Am I doing it right?”
Unfortunately it is a condition of awareness that is difficult to achieve; being 'run over' by unsustainable situations and rhythms, without stopping to reflect on ourselves and on what surrounds us is not always so immediate. I believe that it is essential to be able to observe yourself from the outside, for a weighted self-analysis.
3 tips for working in the art world?
There are three crucial messages for me:
- Enjoy the diversity that the art and cultural scene has to offer. Not everything is categorizable and not everyone you meet on your way will share the same passions, lifestyles, tastes or inclinations.
- Always remember that art is not an economically quantifiable good. If you assume that you want to exploit this work for economic benefit only, I fear you are missing out on countless other beautiful aspects that art has to offer.
- Finally, keep in mind how much our work (in the world of art, ed) is of a fundamental contribution to the creation of the cultural substrate. Never forget it, we are often the first to fall into superficial behavior.
In the world of art, is it possible to place a certain distance between private life and work?
It might be a solution to staying clear-headed, but it's so nice to be able to work in an area that you are passionate about.
However, if possible, it would be good to be able to keep your distance. To give you an example: in my free time I would often rather go to the gym than see another art exhibition!
What is the right perspective to appreciate art?
It's hard to answer. Probably the best emerges from a gaze that observes with a mix of curiosity, open-mindedness and critical thinking.
A fun suggestion among the 60 mentioned?
My first piece of advice, of all, is just don't go to an art party! Although, I admit, since I wrote this I can't go to any parties anymore, or everyone would see that I'm breaking my own rules. Well, sometimes rules can be broken.
How do you manage to collect 60 suggestions, did you take notes even during the situations you experienced firsthand?
Yes, it's all the result of notes I've made in recent years; from here the drafting came almost naturally.