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ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career Paperback – March 24, 2009

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ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career + The Artist's Guide: How to Make a Living Doing What You Love + Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; Original edition (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416572333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416572336
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This book is a should be required reading in fine arts curricula." -- Santa Fe New Mexican

"I'll bet this powerful little paperback finds a permanent home on the list of best business books for artists.... The contract, invoice and inventory templates alone are worth the cover price." -- The Artist's Magazine

"Together [the authors] make for a powerful combo, offering both extensive knowledge of the gallery system and the ins and outs of art law, for some well-founded tips on how to succeed in the art's the perfect gift for anyone working in a creative field." --

"This book is filled with the kind of nuts-and-bolts business advice every artist needs to read." --

"Bhandari and Melber, both Brown University graduates, have drawn on their own experiences and interviews with 100 curators, dealers, and other arts professionals to offer advice on everything from preparing artwork for shipping to coping with rejection." -- Boston Globe

"Emerging curators, along with established curators who work with living artists, would do well to read it, as would art dealers and workers at nonprofit spaces or organizations.... One unique aspect of the book is the quotes in the margin -- from high-profile artists and well-known professionals who've been around the block. Shamim Momin from the Whitney Museum and Peter Eleey of the Walker Art Center talk about how they meet new artists and visit their studios, and Seattle gallerist James Harris underscores the importance artists' websites have when he looks for new work to show." -- College Art Association News

"...even those who have no interest in the art world may find Art/Work of use. Their instructions on how to pack objects for example, are so thorough, only the most dexterously challenged will find difficulty executing them. What's more, should this book reach the majority of working artists today, the quality of gallery staff life would improve by a level of magnitude..." -- Paddy Johnson for The L Magazine

About the Author

Heather Darcy Bhandari is a director of Mixed Greens Gallery in New York City. She has curated over 40 exhibitions at Mixed Greens while managing and advising a roster of nearly two-dozen artists. She also regularly curates independent shows. Heather lectures at career-development programs at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, Georgia State University and Hunter College. Jonathan Melber is a litigator at a prominent arts-and-entertainment law firm. He represents artists, galleries and collectors, as well as a host of creative individuals and companies in the entertainment world.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a great resource for graduating students and working artists alike.
Art/Work gives artists of every level the tools they need to make it in the highly competitive art world.
Charlene Anderson
The quotes from professionals peppered generously throughout give great tips and insight.
Cat Rocketship

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Irving on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm an emerging artist who's been shooting for the past couple of years. I've done some shows in the non-profit realm, but only in the past few months have I been actively trying to figure out the ins and outs of the gallery scene.

For months now, I've been scrounging for the most basic information: How do for-profit galleries operate? What kind of contractual/financial obligations are required? How do you properly document your work? I've gone to workshops, interviewed artists, and dug through a lot of junk on the internet...

Only to find that everything I needed (and lots more) was in this book.

This is the definitive how-to book on running a fine art business (from the artist's side), specifically in regards to working with galleries. They don't offer any secret formulas for success, but instead dish out best practices for presenting yourself as professionally as possible.

What amazed me most was the depth of subject matter this book covers. It offers everything from sample legal forms to explicit instructions on how to pack your work for shipment. They use a very open and honest writing style throughout. Instead of coming across as preachy or snobbish, the authors sound more like a good friend letting you in on the secrets of the industry.

An interesting device they use throughout is to include relevant quotes from art professionals on almost every spread. These tie in directly with the subject matter of each section and represent the perspectives of artists, curators and gallery owners. It's one thing for the author to say what he or she thinks, but another thing when you get other voices add to the mix.

My only complaint about the book is a very minor one.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Heather Leigh on March 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a useful resource because of its simplicity. It's easy to flip back and forth to find templates for things like consignment agreements and the like. I would agree with another reviewer, however, that the book is biased having been written by young gallerists working in New York for only the past decade or so.

It offers a picture of the way galleries on the East Coast function at the moment. This is evident in the many quotes along the margins by few artists but more often gallery owners. I found some of these comments to reveal a disparaging - even snotty - tone about working with artists, despite the fact that artists are the people who create the work keeping them in business. It is helpful to know that these attitudes exist because you may have to face them in your career.

Look for other more encouraging resources in addition to this book. I recently picked up "How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Out." In tone, this is a much more empowering book and it has a great many more resources contained within its pages and appendices. The author, Caroll Michels has been working with artists throughout the country (not just in the distorted East Coast art scene) since the 1970s. The book has been through several editions and has clearly been updated and expanded to reflect the changes to the art world. In that sense, a greater depth and breadth of experience is brought to bear on the topic.
How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul
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170 of 208 people found the following review helpful By GroveCanada on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's all very well to write a book for artists, but if you are working for galleries, you may have a bias.

This bias is actually a Huge problem...

In the art world, when an artist gives a work to a gallery on consignment, the gallery is not putting any cash into the artist's hands...

Traditionally, this meant a ONE THIRD COMMISSION to the gallery if the work sold...

No cash outlay for any commodity on the open market, only gives a fraction of what a retailer might get if they bought the commodity wholesale...

In fact, if a product is bought at a wholesale price, the retailer has tremendous powers to mark up the price- this is how the art market has become such a wild ride...

Now, back to the book...The book talks about 50%...But the authors have not the age or perspective or wisdom in business to understand the ethic of 50%...

50% is the wholesale price of the art work...At a 50% discount to the gallery, the gallery should be BUYING the work outright...

No other product sells for half price unless it has been purchased wholesale...

Those that know art & the art market know that one third was standard. They know that 50% without cash down is exploitative...They know that young artists don't know any of this...

Galleries have been getting away with this scam for the past decade because since 9/11, artists have been desperate to accept any offers, no matter how ridiculous, many idiots actually paying to show...

Is it right to take money from an artist to pay for their own show? No. But people do it.

Is it right to get a half off price from an artist without any cash payment? No, but people do it...

This is a flaw in this book. A fatal flaw.
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