Help me, Gallerina! I need an Artist Holiday Gift Guide
My Dearest Young and Poor Artist,
No matter what your position—wearing the hobo-artist lifestyle (see previous post), living off your parents for almost three decades, or working hard enough to afford a subscription to Frieze while dreaming your expat dreams of Berlin—common courtesy demands that you show your appreciation to those you care for and love. But be careful because bad gifts never go unnoticed. I almost broke up with someone for giving me a biography on Joy Division. I cringed as I tried to fold up the wrapping paper, thinking to myself that if this idiot really knew me, he would have recognized that I was into New Wave film.
Hopefully you’ll have better luck than that guy, if only by following the holiday gift guide listed below.
Your Lovely Gallerina
Holiday Gift Guide for Artists
Absolutely, under no circumstances should you pawn off your sketches and doodles to your friends as legitimate gifts. To you, they will be worth something in the future, but to your friends they’re napkin scraps. If your ego demands it and you must give your torn out notebook pages, make sure that your gift follows the rule of and. The rule of and requires that alongside a potentially worthless doodle—regardless of how heartfelt the gesture—you must give in addition to the self-made gift, i.e. the wolf-monster sketch and a first-pressing of Nick Cave’s From Her to Eternity.
The holidays are one of the causes behind SAD (seasonal affective disorder). One way to prevent this disease is to buy yourself presents while you’re shopping for others. If you’re patient or lonely, wrap the present and put it under the tree until X-Mas.
Unless you’re a famous artist, don’t give the gift of art. Do lawyers give the gift of law? Do doctors give their friends free consultations? Unless you’re giving art that’s valuable, follow the rule of and.
Holiday Gift Examples
1) Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Partner
Absolutely follow rule #1. Don’t give art. Your loved one sees what you’re working on all the time for free. Scarcity is one aspect of value.
2) Your Roommate
That moldy shower curtain needs to go. Give the gift of cleanliness. Or drugs. Follow your own discretion with which one will be appreciated more.
3) Your Mom or Dad
Even if Mom says once again that she doesn’t need anything this year, she is lying yet again. Your divorcée mom will appreciate the gift of a sexy artist more than art.
Gift tip: If you must, just think of your mom’s “new boyfriend gift” as interactive art.
4) The special curator or gallerist in your life
These two types will actually appreciate artwork from you, just not a scribble on a napkin. If you are worried about a conflict of interest, make sure that you’ve already finished a show with the gallerist or curator.
Gift tip: By no means give artwork to a curator or gallerist who has yet to include you in a show: you will look desperate.
5) Your art critic friends
Typing at a laptop can be done anywhere, so give the gift that keeps on giving—the gift of dual-citizenship. Whether you’re a sour-faced Dane temporarily living in the States or you’re planning to embark on a fellowship abroad, never underestimate the value of living and working in the EU, even for a short while, to anyone involved in contemporary art.
6) Your favorite professor/art instructor
Just a tip, don’t even think about giving your favorite teacher a gift unless you’ve finished all of your projects by the end of term. Just buy them a drink the next time you see them out.