Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Your Help Needed

Posted in Interna by Suzanne on May 18th, 2008 | BBC Wikipedia

The Fascination of the Pool by Suzanne G.

"Many, many people must have come there alone, from time to time, from age to age, dropping their thoughts into the water, asking it some question, as one did oneself this summer evening.

Perhaps that was the reason of its fascination - that it held in its waters all kinds of fancies, complaints, confidences, not printed or spoken aloud, but in a liquid state, floating one on top of another, almost disembodied. [...]"

(Excerpt from The Fascination of the Pool by Virginia Woolf)

I don't talk about personal matters here very often and I hardly ever ask for anyone's help or any favours - two things that can pretty much be said about me as a person in general.

As a matter of fact, apart from my family and maybe three acquaintances, I haven't told anyone about me moving to Brighton. And just like how I sneak out of parties, vernissages and other so-called "social" events I feel uncomfortable and trapped in, I never said goodbye to anyone back home. I never liked being the center of anyone's attention and it seemed inappropriate to summon old friends I haven't spoken to in years and make a big fuss about my move.

So once I realised that what kept me there was nothing that wasn't either portable, recoverable, replaceable or - let's face it - a mere illusion, I booked a flight, packed my suitcase, and one chilly early morning, locked the door behind me and left.

I lived in England before and it has always been a country - maybe because of its insularity - that strangely reminded me of my home (as I wished it to be) - no matter how geographically and climatically different it is from mountainous Switzerland. There's something odd and archaic that binds these two countries together. Maybe because we're both geographically lacking (and forever subconsciously missing) something that the other one has in abundance (mountains / the sea). There seems to be an obscure magnetic force to explore one another. After all, the first ascent of the greater Swiss peaks have been achieved by mainly Englishmen (Sir Alfred Wills, Sir Leslie Stephen, Edward Whymper, et al.) whereas - on the other hand - explorers from Alpine countries have often been deeply intrigued and possessed by the idea of reaching the deepest parts of the seas (Jules Verne, Jean-Luc Jacques Piccard, et al.).

Errm... yes... I admit that this is a very fantastic and fanciful theory that definitely needs more evidence to be corroborated.

Blue & Green by Suzanne G.

Aaaaanyway, so I've lived here for two months now; sharing my everyday joys and problems with the person I love and things have been rather exciting and inspiring so far.

However, there's one thing that's far from perfect: I'm unemployed.

To this day, I've sent out over a hundred applications to galleries, art bookshops/publishing houses and museums in both London and Brighton and apart from 4 negative replies, I haven't gotten any feedback whatsoever.

It basically feels like my skills and knowledge of contemporary art (that doesn't suck) are not really needed here. Brighton is so focused on fast-food entertainment and trivial tourism that it simply has too few galleries, whereas London's art scene is being more and more L.A.ified and obsessed with hiring fashionable part-time models for their galleries rather than art enthusiasts like me.

I might be an communist idealist when it comes to how I wish the art world would work, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that it always nearly kills me to walk into galleries and see staff seemingly not care about the art they exhibit and/or lack any knowledge about the artists they represent. It hurts not to be able to work in a field I have vast knowledge of and that has eventually become the essence of my life.

I suppose I hoped that I'll eventually get lucky and find someone who appreciates my skills, but I guess that was rather illusory of me and it's about time to face the facts: I need to pay my bills and the rent.

So here I am, humbly asking you, gentle reader, for your help in finding me a job.

My ideal habitat would be a small-to-medium sized gallery dealing with lowbrow / underground / outsider / surreal pop art. I know that England is not the Bay Area, but I'm still hopeful that there are galleries in central/southern England that aren't overly commercial and that I haven't unsuccessfully applied to yet.

With six months' experience in working for one of the world's top galleries (Hauser & Wirth) - not to mention all the no-/low-budget film/art/new media festivals I volunteered for and will continue to do so - I'm used to long working hours without breaks, intravenous coffee, payment in art magazines, and co-workers at the border of madness and/or ingenuity - who am I to judge?

I have a keen eye for discovering young talents, I can carry twice my weight, I have a six-pack and I don't fart.

I also worked many years as a legal secretary and PA and am very familiar with everyday office work that demands a great deal of organisation, versatility, responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Moreover, despite being very efficient and fast at solving problems, I have the patience, intuition and (scientific) endurance of a yogi when dealing with difficult people or tasks.

So if you happen to know anyone in the Brighton/London area in need of a highly dedicated, enthusiastic gallery/art bookshop/
museum assistant with a deep passion and hunger for arts and a vast knowledge thereof and who - despite not having a BA or an equivalent degree - has spent almost 1/3 of her life in academic circles studying - amongst others - archaeology, ancient history, art history & media studies - please get in touch with me via comment or email so that I can send you my CV and testimonials.

Thank you kindly for your attention - every tip is deeply appreciated.

- S.

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18 comments to " Your Help Needed "

  1. Gravatar

    Jessica says:

    Oh how I wish I had some pull in this regard but I'm just an unemployed carpenter but I haven't found any galleries in your area that I've wanted to stalk show with.

    I'll write a few e-mails and maybe something will turn up...? *knock on wood*

    By the way, if you find a chest of gold doubloons by the beach and decide to open your very own gallery, I'm there!

    May 18th, 2008 at 11:22 pm

  2. Gravatar

    mmgilbert says:

    I read and was moved by your note regarding work.

    You may be looking in all the wrong places. You already have a job. In fact, you have several. I recognize that what you want is a paying job.

    But, that critical issue aside for the moment, what are your current jobs?

    This site and your ability to review and, if you wish, to promote art is one of them.

    Another, judging by your photographs, is that of an artist. Your work is very good.

    Yet another is your writing. You write like a demon. Your writing is serious, engaging and wildly inventive.

    Other current occupations are probably combinations of the above but they are nonetheless important. For instance, promoting work that you believe has promise can be very satisfying and more lucrative than perhaps either of us might imagine.

    While you may not want to be the center of attention, you already are, at least to your loyal following.

    Rather than taking a flunky's job in a gallery, please look inward at yourself and the rather amazing empire that you have already concocted. I am told that Frank Zappa once said, "Art is making something out of nothing and getting paid for it."

    You have the first part right. Instead of grovelling for the weekly envelope as so many of us must, please consider turning your considerable intelligence and talent to figuring out how to earn a living doing what you so obviously love.

    mm gilbert

    May 19th, 2008 at 12:48 am

  3. Gravatar

    meagan says:

    I agree with everything mm gilbert said Suzanne, please consider trying to make money from this website, so many less talented people make money this way!!! I know you don't want to :(


    May 19th, 2008 at 12:52 am

  4. Gravatar

    clare says:

    please don't get all down on LA - they have a lot going on in the lowbrow category and a lot of other contemporary art.

    and SF!

    and NYC!

    and Seattle!

    and Vancouver!

    and Italy!

    and Japan!

    brighton = WTF?


    May 19th, 2008 at 4:30 am

  5. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    You don't really seem to understand my point, Clare. By "L.A.ification" I meant to describe the sudden focus on the fun factor and the fast-food character of art. Opening receptions have become some kind of weekend entertainment where drinks and beautiful people are provided. I never criticised any L.A. galleries - that's just your interpretation of my text.

    I've been to a lot of opening receptions worldwide and trust me, the people who actually look at the works while attending a vernissage become fewer and fewer.

    Brighton has always been a place filled with independent artist communities. A little corner where talented people could work away from the hectic of London. I don't know whether you ever heard of the Bloomsbury Group or Charleston (near Lewes, which is just around the corner), for instance.

    Yes, it's true that the general quality of work produced here might be more focused on crafts than on the classic academic arts, but who are we to judge? All I know is that I'm surrounded by inspiring people who don't brag about their artistic skills. Just because an "art scene" is more reclusive and a little less loud and aggressive, it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. My remarks clearly only concerned Brighton's "official" non-support of the arts, not the masses of talented people living and working here despite (or maybe because of) the lack of support.

    Art doesn't need to have a rock star status and shout in your face to have an impact. And that's exactly why I wrote "L.A.ification".

    May 19th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

  6. Gravatar

    Barnaba says:

    I tried and failed, but I know of many others that have succeeded. I wish you the best of luck!

    May 19th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

  7. Gravatar

    Pam says:

    Hey, Suzanne: I wish I could be of some help... Have you tried: http://www.portal-gallery.com or museums like http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/about/virtual_tours/museum.html
    or http://www.soane.org/ ? Very best of luck to you!


    May 19th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

  8. Gravatar

    Lmaria says:

    i dont know what to recommend but wish you luck because i love this blog and the art you post.


    May 19th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

  9. Gravatar

    mo says:

    dear little beloved one.
    what mm gilbert said is damn right.
    (not your desired solution .. mhhh)

    i know that it's more comfortable to have a tiny job in a boring gallery that to be an artist :-)

    but i believe in your photographic work. i believe that the selfportraits which you have created could be the beginning of something great. remember cindy sherman.

    so i think you should try to find a gallery for yourself to show these pictures.

    start with the ebay-series :-)
    title: for sell.

    big cuddle from there where the mermaids always sing the sad songs and the ants susurrate with thousand different voices.


    May 20th, 2008 at 8:28 am

  10. Gravatar

    Kirsten Anderson says:

    Hi Suzanne-
    You sound like me. Perhaps you can scrape some dough together and open a gallery yourself. That's what I did about a decade ago. You are so clever and have such a discerning eye that it could possibly work! (I generally discourage people from opening galleries but I think it's possible you'd do great).
    Email me if you want to talk about it.
    Roq La Rue

    May 22nd, 2008 at 1:58 am

  11. Gravatar

    Thomas says:

    I also see you running your own gallery, Suzanne, and have for quite some time. With the others here, I restate my admiration for your talent, intellect and abilities. I believe you can do it. (But no shame in the meantime if you take a "day job." We all have to pay the rent.

    May 23rd, 2008 at 6:19 am

  12. Gravatar

    Suzanne says:

    Thanks everyone for your help and your kind words. They're deeply appreciated.

    Regarding Jessica, Kirsten (*takes a deep bow*) & Thomas's input:

    As a matter of fact, I have often thought about opening a gallery, but with no money at all to start with and with no managing background whatsoever, it's just a bit too risky for me unless I earn/inherit/steal/win a critical amount of money first; and this will take time. I'm basically broke with no financial security to fall back on. It's strange.. it's actually always the first thing that pops into my mind whenever I pass by a recently closed/moved shop in Brighton: How magnificent it would be to just buy/rent the place and turn it into a gallery. Oh well...

    @ mmgilbert & mo: I find your suggestion very kind and deeply flattering. However, it's obvious that I'm not a professional photographer and that it would take me years and years of studies to become one. And that's not false modesty. Just look at all the awe-inspiring photographs some 16-year-olds on Flickr produce these days. And good for them! Moreover, it might not look like it, but I hate taking self-portraits. But - just like sport - I find that despite the love/hate relationship, it helps me relax and let go of things. And when it comes to writing, I'd have to stick to the German language because I constantly get a feeling of inadequacy when writing in English and I hate it just as much as taking pictures. And while I have a deep passion for the beauty of words and their etymology, this isn't really anything I could ever make my profession, because the genre of linguo-archaeology had to be invented first, I suppose. ;)

    @ Pam: Thank you so much for the link to the Portal Gallery - I have written to the others, but haven't known of this one yet.

    So again, thank you all so much for your feedback.


    EDIT: There are 75 google hits for "linguo-archaeology"... o_O

    May 24th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

  13. Gravatar

    Vanwall says:

    Good luck, Suzanne, I hope you find something soon! Sorry I don't know any placements in the UK for such a talented girl, but something will turn up, I'm sure. Don't sell your talents short in any way, either - you write better and shoot better than most and that's a fact.

    May 27th, 2008 at 7:15 am

  14. Gravatar

    mo says:

    //it’s obvious that I’m not a professional photographer and that it would take me years and years of studies to become one//

    if everyone would think like this, there would be no artists on this earth ;-)

    i wish you good and strong pixies on your way.
    yours mo

    May 27th, 2008 at 11:07 am

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