Help! I’m a Gallerina New to New York!

Good morning!

I hope this message finds you well and, most importantly, I hope you don’t mind me contacting you for some advice. I’m just a gallerina who follows your blog and I truly respect your thoughts.

I have a BA in Art History and I’ve worked the gallery scenes in Miami and Los Angeles for the past 7 years. I moved to NYC 2 weeks ago because my ultimate dream is to work for a gallery here. Every decision I’ve made in the past 10 years was to get me to this point today.

So my question is this: Why can’t I at least get an interview?

Is it because I’m new to New York? Is it because Miami and LA maybe don’t suffice as good experience?

I know I have to be patient but I’m feeling so rejected and discouraged. I won’t give up but maybe I need to change my plan of action; what do you think?

I’ve attached my resume if that helps make sense of things. I qualify for Gallery Assistant to Gallery Manager positions. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to read this. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

With regards,

Gallerina Without a Gallery

P.S. One more thing: I’ve sent 200 resumes to NY since January. I sold my car and moved out here so that’s why I’m so freaked out.

Dear Gallerina,

You’re seriously ballsy.  You left a steady source of income in LA in hopes of finding an equivalent art gallery position on the East Coast. LA, however, isn’t a bad place to come from at all; you can use this to your advantage. New York City is full of talented people who’ve reached plateaus in other cities.

The bad news: You’re starting over.  I worked as a museum curator in the Midwest, but honestly, nobody cares about that here.

I want to believe that if you’re talented and determined, then eventually others will notice your drive – but don’t look desperate and don’t become depressed.  Most people I know in NYC were only able to integrate themselves into the art scene after a year.  I hope you’ve got patience, but in all sincerity, I also hope you’re hot.

Face it; you’re a gallerina.  You need to be kind of hot – or at least thin – and definitely wily enough to deal with with demanding and up-tight clients. According to one of my anonymous art scene sources, if you’re hungry, you’ll look determined; if you’re fat, you’ll seem too complacent and like you don’t need the job badly enough.

Again, be patient. Give yourself some time because most likely nothing’s going to happen in a few weeks or a few months.  Hope for a gig by Miami Basel.

Selling your things is a big deal and trust me, I believe in the romantic ties humans have to non-human objects – like art.

Gallerina Job Tips 1.0

  • Don’t dwell on being unemployed.  The people you meet will need to know that you’re looking for full-time employment, but while you’re doing that continue to pursue independent projects and take time to see art. Everyone likes to talk about the projects they’re currently working on, but saying that you’re fully unemployed never looks good. In addition, the people you’re meeting will want to know that while you’ve had past experience that you can prove yourself fully capable in the present.
  • Don’t look outdated. Even if your resume’s great, a Hotmail account will make that Gallery Director make an “Ugh!” face.  It’s been years since you’ve looked for a job and a lot’s changed besides the flattened economic reality. Make sure you’ve got a Gmail account because you’ll need to seem forward-thinking and aware of the latest trends in art, tech, and culture at large.
  • Lie about your age.  NY values youthfulness, so if you can lie, do it.
  • Use your LA connections.  Email friends and friends of friends; nobody’s too busy to drop you a quick email.
  • Don’t compromise your career by going on a reality TV show.  Not everyone’s asked to go on a reality TV show about the art world, but it did happen to me within the first few weeks I moved to NY. You can never predict what’s going to happen to you in this city; one of the most thrilling parts about living here.  I didn’t go on a reality TV show because I care about having a career; nobody in the art scene would have ended up taking me seriously as a writer, curator, or gallerina.  I’m sure I’d have ended up on the invite list to an innumerable number of tedious parties thrown by Bravo. Give me a party with dirty artists any day, but TV-types are a bore.

I hope my tips help you – and other career-minded gallerinas – to stay strong when faced with NYU gradversaries.  If being a gallerina doesn’t work out for you in the city, you can always become an artist – or land some mild net fame by keeping a gallerina blog.

In all sincerity, I hope you stick it out.  Send me an email once you land a job.


The Gallerina With a Heart of Gold

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