Illustration by Petra Larsen.

Illustration by Petra Larsen.


Etiquette for Artful Living


Dear Babs, Why are gallerists and curators so obsessed with seeing artists’ very newest works? I like some of the work I’ve done in the past three or four years, but it seems this is considered too old. Why does something that’s supposed to be timeless have an expiration date? I can’t keep up.
—Anderson, San Diego, CA

Dear Anderson, Dealers are business people; we need to keep reminding ourselves. Your old stuff has presumably been on the market, hence the new stuff is where you find buyers. They might be interested in the older work once they’ve established a relationship, but it’s always the newest work that will interest the dealer, and the public, and in the end, the collectors. If I’m visiting a gallery and see only older work displayed, I would question why they are not showing the artist’s latest and what the artist is working on now. This doesn’t necessarily discount older work by any means. But if this is an excuse to not create newer work, then you have a bigger problem than just dust.


Dear Babs, Why do gallerinas—you know those pretty young women that greet you, or more often than not, don’t greet you when you walk into a gallery—have to be so rude? It’s a big beautiful world and who knows, I could be a millionaire wanting to buy the whole show out!
—Tiffany, Los Angeles

Dear Tiffany, You got me. I’ve always wondered why people are rude for no reason, ANYWHERE, not just the art world. I could take a stab at maybe why. Their parents are rude too and so they never learned manners? They are so deeply angry inside that they can’t bear to be pleasant? They are so narcissistic that they are even unaware that they are being rude, and perhaps don’t even see you? The beauty they possess is something they regard as superiority so they are obligated to disregard other human beings? Being rude is actually really cool? I think you get the idea. It’s so effortless to be nice, I think. I feel sorry for those who cannot.