I Break My Weed Up to Purple Rain: A Reply to “Help! I’m a Gallerina New to New York!”
After reading your letter, I have several questions for the Gallerina New to New York:
Why do you call yourself a gallerina, a pejorative and near derogatory term? It’s just a gendered description of a position in a field that has too long favored the detached debutante or backbiting opportunist over the ecstatic, generous laborer.
Why is your ultimate dream, meaning your final destination, the pinnacle of success? To work in a gallery in NYC? Are you aware that the scene is fossilized and that the work you seek is on the edge of extinction? Are you lollin yet?
And why do you need to belong to a gallery? If you’re so qualified and so at the edge, why aren’t you doing independent consulting and making your own moves as far as starting your own gallery? If you have been so diligently working, surely your rolodex is bangin and you could, with a swift couple of texts, have a kick-ass show at some Bushwick warehouse with hella cred in like, an hour.
I’m in full agreement with The Gallerina with a Heart of Gold re: starting over. You’ve built up a social/professional empire in other cities, but yeah, that currency isn’t accepted, unless of course, you use some of those connex you’ve got to get you connected. NYC is (duh) overrated and just as many people who have left for NY have just the same left NY for other cities with much more reasonable costs of living. The smartest of the latter pack have kept their connex intact and are probably welcome back—meaning, you def know some people who know some people.
Be a little more creative. I shouldn’t have to tell you that as you work in a creative field, but lord knows I’ve told lots of people who spend an hour in front of a mirror in the morning and 8 hours behind the desk of a fucking contemporary art gallery that they need to like, “BE CREATIVE,” as if that could never have occurred to them—it’s bananas.
This line made me puke: “Face it; you’re a gallerina. You need to be kind of hot—or at least thin—and definitely wily enough to deal with demanding and uptight clients.”
Lezbehonest: most communication happens over the phone or over email so like, you can and should be cordial, be nice, and just as charming over these lines as in person. Make eye contact and be confident. That prettiness shit is true amongst a very particularly douchey world of clientele, but like, what’s your interest in perpetuating that stereotype? Smart people don’t trust people who have enough time/energy to devote to like make up and shopping for heels. Smart people devote those weekly/daily hours to like, pursuing intelligent and creative endeavors. Fuck all the haters—lots of bigger girls can run mad game over some of these bony-ass stuck-up looking babes.
This line is straight up rude: “If being a gallerina doesn’t work out for you in the city, you can always become an artist.”
If you live each day looking at artists as the products/producers/hardlaborers, you’ll kinda get fucked. Artists are much more wily. Many (though not those with trustfunds—spare me the hate mail you know it’s tru) are used to adapting their standards of living. Perhaps you should start brewing coffee at home, perhaps you don’t need a 9 dollar salad twice a day, and perhaps you could start biking and shopping at thrift stores instead of vintage boutiques.Get by first. Stop selling what you don’t need to. I mean, you didn’t need a car in NYC anyway unless you live way out in queens or some shit so like, don’t gripe. Read Tom Hodgkinson’s “How To Be Idle”, date someone for their intellect instead of their looks, be fucking friendly and nice to people who don’t seem “important” cuz there’s lots of clever people getting by in really interesting ways. If you set your sights to such a specific idea of being a gallerina, you’re sure to get bored in a couple of years if not months, be stuck having boring sex with some douchey dude in a Gucci suit and wondering why you aren’t more excited about your life.
And for fuck’s sake, stop saying gallerina. It makes you sound despicable. Don’t call yourself anything. Burn your resume. Make art not out of an act of desperation but because you actually have something of value to say/show, even just to yourself. Read Chris Kraus, do more psychedelics, listen to R. Kelly unironically, and loosen the fuck up. And don’t think of yourself as above anything or anyone. Gallerina makes you sound frail and frankly a little bitchy, so like, read up on alternative spaces, subscribe to e-Flux and think about moving around your very limited scope instead of plowing your frail and bony ass right through the middle—you’re liable to get stepped on.
And if you want to sip on some of this haterade sometime and do some fun free shit, text me—just don’t put my name as “Patrick DirtyArtist” in your phone or I’ll flush that shit into the Gowanus and egg your house. And please don’t write this off as the condescending ranting of an out-of-control hater—I break my weed up over a worn-out copy of Purple Rain just like everybody else.