Help me, Gallerina! I need an Artist's Holiday Gift Guide

Dear Gallerina with a Heart of Gold,
The holidays are upon us—that time of year when love and capitalism commingle so neatly in the form of gift-giving. What are your suggestions for the perfect gift from a young, poor artist?
Karen Tuhard
My Dearest Young and Poor Artist,
No matter what your position—wearing the hobo-artist lifestyle (see previous post), living off your parents for almost three decades, or working hard enough to afford a subscription to Frieze while dreaming your expat dreams of Berlin—common courtesy demands that you show your appreciation for those you care for and love. But be careful because bad gifts never go unnoticed. I almost broke up with someone for giving me a biography on Joy Division. I cringed as I tried to fold up the wrapping paper, thinking to myself that if this idiot really knew me, he would have recognized that I was into New Wave film.
Hopefully you will have better luck than that guy, so here’s some trusted rules to follow as well as a holiday gift guide. Read more after the jump.
Your Lovely Gallerina
not an artist – artists don’t wear khakis

Holiday Gift Guide for Artists

Rule #1

Absolutely, under no circumstances should you pawn off your sketches and doodles to your friends as legitimate gifts. To you, they will be worth something in the future, but to your friends, they’re napkin scraps. If your ego demands it and you must give your torn out notebook pages, make sure that your gift follows the rule of and. The rule of and requires that alongside a potentially worthless doodle—regardless of how heartfelt the gesture—you must give in addition to the self-made gift, i.e. the wolf-monster sketch and a first-pressing of Nick Cave’s From Her to Eternity.

Rule #2

The holidays are one of the causes behind SAD (seasonal affective disorder), so don’t let it get to you. One way to prevent this disease is to buy yourself presents while you are out shopping for others. If you’re patient or lonely, wrap the present and put it under the tree until X-Mas.

Rule #3

Just because you’re an artist, this doesn’t mean that you can give the gift of art. Do lawyers give the gift of law? Do doctors give their friends free consultations? Unless you are giving art that is valuable, follow the rule of and.

Holiday Gifts for:

1) Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Partner

Absolutely follow rule #1. No matter how socially liberal your partner, you can still give them a gift that most of the world can’t afford. If you went to Miami Basel this year, I hope you didn’t forget to buy them a trinket while the markets are still down.

2) Your Roommate

That moldy shower curtain needs to go. Give the gift of cleanliness. Or drugs. Follow your own discretion with which one will be appreciated more.

3) Your Mom or Dad

Even if Mom says once again that she doesn’t need anything this year, she is lying yet again. Your divorcée mom will appreciate the gift of a sexy artist more than art.

Gift tip: If you must, just think of this gift as interactive art.

4) The special curator or gallerist in your life

These two types will actually appreciate artwork from you, just not a scribble on a napkin. If you are worried about a conflict of interest, make sure that you have already finished a show with the gallerist or curator.

Gift tip: By no means give artwork to a curator or gallerist who has yet to include you in a show: you will look desperate.

5) Your art critic friends

Typing at a laptop can be done anywhere, give the gift that keeps on giving—or at least until divorce—the gift of dual-citizenship. Whether you’re a sour-faced Dane temporarily living in the States or you’re planning to embark on a Fellowship abroad that allows for a spousal allowance, never underestimate the value of living and working in the EU to anyone involved in contemporary art.

6) Your favorite professor/art instructor

Just a tip, don’t even think about giving your favorite teacher a gift unless you have finished all of your projects by the end of term. Just buy them a drink the next time you see them out.

This entry was posted in don't be a crying gallerina, etiquette and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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