Saturday, March 3, 2012

Phony Biennale "Invitations"

We recently received an email recently from an artist who had gotten an "invitation" from the two businessmen brothers who run what they call the "Florence Biennale." She was proud and excited they were offering her the chance to be in their Effetto Biennale, a newer venture. (It translates to "Effect Biennale.")

She had initiated a Kickstarter project to raise money to participate and wanted us to contribute. We replied that we couldn't help her out, that it was a vanity venue and she had not been singled out for her artistic accomplishments but, along with who-knows-how-many-others, for the chance that she might fall for the sales pitch. She responded that she had read that some other artists who had attended the previous EB said they had met other artists from different parts of the world and that some of the work in it was good. While she did have doubts about it, she continued, and wouldn't pay for it herself, she thought it would be fine if she raised the money from other people and let them pay for it.

Vanity Venues

If you get an email saying you have been invited or selected to participate in a show or a book and it turns out you have to pay to be in that thing, what you have gotten is simply a sales pitch, not an invitation as the term is normally meant in the art world. The sender is preying upon your vanity and naivety and hopes you will not understand you have simply been been invited to give them money, as have tens of thousands of others who have gotten similar emails. Those who fall for such a pitch should avoid mentioning it on their resumes lest they turn off curators and collectors who would see it as the mark of an amateur.