I like your work: art and etiquette

“The auction houses, museums, the galleries, the artists, the curators all have their unwritten rules and they all intersect.”

  • A lot of rules and expectations in the art world are based on common sense, and the understanding that there is a social hierarchy. Knowing one’s place in the food chain is important to survival in this world, but also knowing when to break the rules in order to make an impression can be just as important.

General Rules and Guidelines:

  • “Never call a New Yorker (artist or not) before 11am on a Sunday, unless you are well acquainted with that person and their habits.”
  • Listen and learn.
  • Be on time / avoid cancelling for any reason, but especially don’t cancel last minute.
  • Don’t immediately start talking about the art — allow yourself some small talk, involve other topics in conversation, such as recent shows seen, other art forms, holidays, etc.
  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Go to openings – but only if invited. Gallery openings with a more casual tone are fine, but for the really important ones, try to get a date / friendly invitation from either the artist, gallery staff, or art buyer.
  • Dress the part / dress for the occasion. Art and fashion go hand-in-hand.
  • Avoid posturing — be yourself, because people can tell when you’re trying too hard. If you want to be interesting, just do you. No one else can do that other than you.


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