What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
I would say, you have to love it. In creative industries (art/fashion/design/film/media), you deal with a lot of personalities, and drama, and frustration, and it can be quite poorly-paid at the beginning. So you really have to have a passion for that art form to sustain yourself through that. You have to really believe art is worthwhile and life-changing and meaningful and that you’re a part of this grand ecosystem. Otherwise, just go to law school!
What makes a person hirable?
Thank you notes!
What is something you encounter often with employees that tests your patience?
When someone doesn’t have “a system.” It can be writing everything down in a notebook, or color-coding your ical, or keeping stuff in the Notes app, or whatever, but you have to have some sort of tracking method for information and notes from meetings and everything else. The art world is an information-dense environment (with names and artworks and contacts and events), and I see people get overwhelmed because they don’t have a clear way of sorting and finding all their information. It doesn’t matter what your personal system is, but you have to have one.
What is the most frowned upon trait for an employee?
I would say, not keeping up with the industry and publications. If you’re working in the art world, you should be reading ARTNews.com and Artnet.com every day and skimming over Art in America and The Art Newspaper, the Arts section of the New York Times and listings in the New Yorker and New York Magazine. With the Internet, there is literally no excuse for not knowing who the players are and having a basic understanding of the major institutions and the yearly calendar (Frieze happens in October, Miami in December, etc.). You don’t have to have a doctorate in art history, but it’s not OK to work in the art world even as an entry-level employee and not know what the Armory Show is, or who Roberta Smith is.