ART/WORK

Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career

ART/WORK

Find Out What They Didn't Teach You in Art School

The most comprehensive guide of its kind, Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in an art world so competitive one dealer likens it to "The Sopranos, except nobody gets killed." Whether you're an art school grad looking for a gallery, a mid-career artist managing a busy studio, or someone just thinking about becoming a professional artist, this indispensable resource will help you build your career and protect yourself along the way.

Unlike other creative professionals, visual artists don't have agents or managers. You have to do it all yourself, at least until you find gallery representation -- and even then, there are important business and legal issues you need to understand to stay in control of your career and ensure you're being treated fairly. Heather Darcy Bhandari, a gallery director, and Jonathan Melber, an arts lawyer, walk you through these issues so that you can essentially act as your own manager and agent. They show you, for example, how to tackle business basics such as tracking inventory and preparing invoices; how to take legal precautions like registering a copyright and drafting consignment forms; how to use promotional tools like websites and business cards; and how to approach career decisions such as choosing the right venue to show your work.

In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Bhandari and Melber interviewed nearly one hundred curators, dealers, and other arts professionals, in cities across the country, about what they expect from and look for in artists. The authors also talked to a host of artists about their careers and the lessons they've learned navigating the art world. The book is full of their entertaining anecdotes and candid advice.

No matter what kind of artist you are -- or want to be -- this book will help you. Art/Work covers everything you need to know to succeed, saving you from having to learn it all the hard way -- and letting you spend more time making art.
  • Free Press | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416572336 | 
  • March 2009
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About the Authors

Heather Darcy Bhandari
Coke Wisdom O'Neal

Heather Darcy Bhandari

Heather Darcy Bhandari is the Director of Exhibitions at Smack Mellon, a nonprofit exhibition and studio space program in Brooklyn, New York. Its mission is to nurture and support emerging, under-recognized mid-career, and women artists in the creation and exhibition of new work. She is also an independent curator, adjunct lecturer at Brown University, and a consultant to several for-profit and nonprofit arts institutions. Heather lectures and participates in portfolio reviews and panel discussions across the country. She is on the board of directors of visual arts at Art Omi (an artist residency in Ghent, New York) and the advisory boards of artfcity (an online, art-related publishing platform) and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn. She was on the board of NURTUREart for nearly a decade. For the last fifteen years, she was a director of Mixed Greens gallery where she curated over one hundred exhibitions while managing a roster of nearly two-dozen emerging to mid-career artists. Heather received a BA from Brown University and an MFA from Pennsylvania State University. Her career began at contemporary galleries Sonnabend and Lehmann Maupin, both in New York City.

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Jonathan Melber
Coke Wisdom O'Neal

Jonathan Melber

Jonathan Melber began his career as an arts-and-entertainment lawyer in New York, representing artists, galleries, collectors and a host of creative individuals and companies. He eventually left his legal practice to join the art e-commerce startup 20x200 as head of business development, later moving to LA to run content acquisition business affairs at Hulu. Today, Jonathan handles monetization strategy and digital licensing for Turner’s entertainment networks. Jonathan graduated from Brown University with a degree in philosophy and received his JD from New York University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. 

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