Taking AIM!: The Business of Being an Artist Today

Taking AIM!: The Business of Being an Artist Today

Edited by Marysol Nieves
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 316
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Taking AIM!: The Business of Being an Artist Today
    Book Description:

    Taking Aim! The Business of Being an Artist Today is a practical, affordable resource guide filled with invaluable advice for the emerging artist. The book is specially designed to aid visual artists in furtheringtheir careers through unfiltered information about the business practices and idiosyncrasies of the contemporary art world. It demystifies often daunting and opaque practices through first-hand testimonials, interviews, and commentary from leading artists, curators, gallerists, collectors, critics, art consultants, arts administrators, art fair directors, auction house experts, and other art world luminaries. Published in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Artist in the Marketplace (AIM)-the pioneering career development program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts-Taking AIM! The Business of Being an Artist Today mirrors the structure and topics featured in the AIM program's weekly workshops and discussions. Each chapter focuses on the specific perspective of an art world insider-from the artist to the public art program director to the blogger. Multiple viewpoints from a range of art professionals provide emerging artists with candid, uncensored information and tools to help them better understand this complex field and develop strategies for building and sustaining successful careers as professional artists. The book ends with an annotated chronology of the past three decades in the contemporary art field and a bibliography of publications, magazine articles, online sources, funding sources, residency programs, and other useful information for emerging artists.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-4925-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. [Illustration]
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xi)

    Three decades old and going strong, Artist in the Marketplace is a program so closely intertwined with the history and mission of The Bronx Museum of the Arts that like the institution itself it has endured the comings and goings of many cultural trends, several administration changes, and a number of strategic plans, budget cuts, and downsizings. More to the point, despite the fact that its model has been replicated many times over by peer institutions and colleges across the country, Artist in the Marketplace’s sheer longevity alone makes it hard for one to find in the art world a...

    (pp. xiii-xvii)
  6. Taking AIM: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    Most investment advisors would probably agree that aside from understanding the complexities of the financial markets, one of the key elements for success in the business world is the ability to forecast emerging trends—to identify recent developments and the potential opportunities implicit in these and, in the process, blaze new trails. The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ perspicacity and leadership in founding the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program thirty years ago to address the particular career management needs of artists demonstrates such heightened discernment and vision. Indeed, the founders of AIM seem to have had a prescient understanding...

  7. Talking AIM: A Conversation with Holly Block and Jackie Battenfield
    (pp. 9-19)
    MARYSOL NIEVES, Holly Block and Jackie Battenfield

    Although the intention of this book is not to document the history of the Artist in the Marketplace program but rather to capture its vital spirit and share its accumulative professional wisdom with a broader audience of artists and cultural producers, it’s useful to explore aspects of the program’s evolution over the course of the last three decades. To this end, I interviewed two individuals—Holly Block and Jackie Battenfield—whose years of service to AIM and guiding leadership represent (along with the contributions and vision of the program’s early instigators) a stalwart commitment and understanding of the program’s core...


    • Three Decades, Three Artists: Rina Banerjee, Kate Gilmore, and Whitfield Lovell
      (pp. 23-31)

      This discussion about the development of a career in art features three artists who took part in the AIM program during three different decades. Whitfield Lovell graduated from the program in 1984. Rina Banerjee is from the class of 1996. And, most recently, Kate Gilmore participated in 2003. The works of all three artists are related in the ways they approach connections between objects, spaces, memory, and meaning. Individually, they represent the breadth of methodologies, aesthetic persuasions, media, and interests of the artists who participate in the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ AIM program.

      What is immediately apparent from this...

    • Small Worlds: An Interview with Polly Apfelbaum and Amy Cutler
      (pp. 33-43)
      LYDIA YEE, Polly Apfelbaum and Amy Cutler

      Polly Apfelbaum and Amy Cutler began working in New York at very different times—the early 1980s and the late 1990s, respectively. Whereas Apfelbaum’s experience in the freewheeling East Village was one of showing in different galleries and “growing up in public,” Cutler made her mark in a group exhibition at the Drawing Center and joined Leslie Tonkonow just a couple of years after graduating from Cooper Union. Although their work emerges from different traditions—Apfelbaum blends elements of painting and sculpture, while Cutler’s practice is rooted in drawing—they share a number of mutual concerns: an interest in narrative,...

    • Art without Market
      (pp. 45-47)

      These days it’s becoming more and more difficult to imagine the production of significant art without an art market. However, it is very important to keep in mind that much of important modern and contemporary art was produced without the artists’ ever entering the marketplace, either because it was just not there—as in the former Soviet states, for example—or because artistic culture was militantly opposed to the art market, as was the case with the artist-run and alternative spaces movement.

      While some people mistake e-flux for an enterprise or a business, it was started precisely in opposition to...


    • Climate Change: East Coast to West Coast Curators Articulate the Evolving Curatorial Role
      (pp. 51-65)

      As of late, the role of the curator has been a much-debated topic in contemporary art circles. Once a specialized field deriving from art historical studies or museum studies, the post-academic career of a curator mostly concerned the discreet caretaking of a collection, educating, writing on art, and the logistics of exhibition development. For the most part, much of this activity remained behind the scenes, though there have always been the few industry “stars,” so to speak. The Latin root for “curator,”curare, which means to heal, also brings to mind the public service responsibility the curator has to both...


    • Art Criticismat Present: Five Voices
      (pp. 69-79)

      Like cultural critics in general, art critics have lately been contending with strong headwinds. The long unraveling of modernism, the rise of the curatoriate, and the current transformation of publishing media have presented serious challenges to serious art critics. Happily, some very perceptive writers are still at work, and their commentary is still indispensable.

      Here, five critics discuss the current state of criticism, their response to technological change, their openness (or lack thereof) to emerging artists, and their advice for young artists and for other critics. Together, these five writers have been important contributors to a range of publications: Eleanor...

    • AIM in Review: The Critics’ Perspective
      (pp. 81-85)

      Those who created the Artist in the Marketplace program recognized important, and relatively new, aspects of the art world in 1980: its increasing complexity and the differentiation of roles within it. Successful artists based in New York would henceforth have to negotiate not only with dealers, the small coterie that had been their professional face for decades, but also with curators, lawyers, critics, and others. To run a studio, the program’s founders suggested, required management skills that until roughly that time one could mostly avoid having. The title of the program, and particularly the use of the word “marketplace,” acknowledged...


    • Gallerists and the Marketplace
      (pp. 89-99)

      The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ invitation to contribute to the anniversary publication of its Artist in the Marketplace program recalls my experiences of the 1980s when the program was initiated and I took part in it as a guest speaker. My gallery began in 1988 and was shaped by a vision to create a hybrid space that could provide the New York art world with exposure to the international Latin American and Latino artists and art market. Secondary market revenues enabled me to jumpstart the careers of those artists I had worked with previously, as an editor, writer, curator,...


    • The Scoop on Miami
      (pp. 103-115)

      Miami’s recent history was not exactly propitious with regard to what Miami has become today. In a sketchy picture, remember the 1980s—the “Miami Vice” years during which construction, generously financed by laundered funds from the illegal drug trade, flourished. Then came Hurricane Andrew with its devastating effects in 1992; and in 1996, the city was awarded the title of the fourth-poorest city in the country. But in the 2000s the city picked up new steam, and although the current financial climate is far from brilliant because of the recent global economic downturn, the national perception has rapidly upgraded Miami...

    • Cultivating Young Collectors through The Contemporaries
      (pp. 117-119)

      There was no art hanging on my walls when I was growing up. In fact, my first exposure to art was not through a family trip to the local museum but through my time spent sketching muscle men, dragons, and race cars as a kid and competing for Scholastic and Kaleidoscope art prizes as a teenager. Growing up at the crossroads of Atlanta’s urban streets and rural backwaters, I assumed that collecting art was the exclusive domain of the Rockefellers and Guggenheims. Looking back on my childhood, I would have never guessed that I would one day found The Contemporaries,...


    • The Leibowitz Questionnaire
      (pp. 123-143)

      Editor’s Note: Artist Cary Leibowitz conducted this informal survey of a cross-section of art professionals about their views on the events, artists, exhibitions, and ideas that have helped shape the contemporary art landscape during the past three decades. What follows are the often candid, as well as thought-provoking, responses of this diverse group of individuals. We are grateful to all of them for their participation and insights.

      Q: The most significant event(s) that have affected the art world since 1980?

      A: Art fairs, expansion of auctions into gallery activity, and [the] Internet. Collectors building their own private museums and not...


    • The Journey from the Studio to the Collection: Six Interviews with Art Advisors, Corporate Curators, and Others
      (pp. 147-161)
      BARBARA TOLL, Allan Schwartzman, Ana Sokoloff, Candace Worth, Franklin Boyd, Pamela Auchincloss and Liz Christensen

      Art doesn’t fly off the walls of galleries right into collectors’ homes anymore. With the proliferation of exhibition spaces—uptown, downtown, Chelsea, Lower East Side, SoHo—it has become difficult even for professionals to know where to best spend their time and their money. Art consultants, advisors, and, sometimes, even curators provide a way into the labyrinthine art world by scouting out worthy work and showing it to clients for a fee. Those fee arrangements vary. Some advisors charge a percentage of the value of the work for their knowledge and access. Some work only on a monthly, hourly, or...


    • The Art Fair Effect
      (pp. 165-171)

      In Europe, Art Cologne (founded in 1967), Art Basel (founded in 1970), and ARCO Madrid (theFeria Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, first held in 1982) had already been cultivating unique international stages for contemporary art by the time a small East Coast fair emerged in New York in the mid-1990s. The spiritual predecessor to the Armory Show, The Gramercy International Art Fair, began as a creative response by four contemporary art dealers to a market downturn. Founders Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, Matthew Marks, and Paul Morris invited other dealers and gallerists to show their artists in individual rooms at...


    • Funding Artists: An Inside Perspective
      (pp. 175-193)

      When artists graduate from studio art programs, they join the more than 2.5 million other self-identified artists striving to maintain an art practice while supporting themselves (and, often, families).¹ Recent graduates are suddenly, and with very little ceremony, independent. Art world superstars notwithstanding, the majority of artists make a living not from the sale of their art but from art-related or other jobs. How their careers progress depends on how well they sustain their creative practice despite uncertainty and seize opportunities that luck throws in their path.

      One aspect of career sustainability is grants. Funding by foundations or by government...


    • Between the Lines: Residencies, Commissions, and Public Art
      (pp. 197-213)

      SARA REISMAN:Having worked for many years as an independent curator, I find the process of developing exhibitions to be creatively thrilling, and I hope my excitement and sense of possibility are equally shared by the artists with whom I’m working. Sometimes there are artworks and artists whose practices don’t fit squarely into an exhibition, and at other times artists—like curators, critics, and other cultural producers—need time to regroup, research, develop ideas and money to make new work, or to just live with less of the noise that is both inspiring and distracting about living in New York...


    • Art World 2.0
      (pp. 217-231)

      In less than twenty years, the Internet has become the main circulatory system of society and commerce globally. If data is not moving through it and into our devices, we can begin to feel cut off from life itself. In August 2010, the Nielsen Company reported¹ that Americans spend a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent in the prior year (a 43 percent increase). Americans spend a third of their time online (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal e-mail, and instant messaging. In June 2010, Americans spent...

  19. Selected Chronology of World and Art Events, 1979–2010
    (pp. 233-257)
    (pp. 259-278)
    (pp. 279-285)
  22. List of Contributors
    (pp. 287-294)