She is last spring’s art history graduate…She spends her day reading The Art Newspaper, answering the phone, and saying “Can I help you?” in a tone of voice intended to cause window-shoppers to flee. One reason she is defensive is to fend off the rhetorical question from browsers: “Who buys this stuff?” She has been instructed as to which classes of people to be explicitly rude to: artists wanting to have their slides reviewed, student groups, women with large hats, cheap handbags, or who arrive in groups larger than two…Snub her as she subs you. She is not the charming and welcoming Charlotte York character in Sex and the City, who worked in an upscale gallery and actually was allowed to talk to customers and solicit new artists.
You know when you read something that is so specific and poignant that it feels as though it was written just for you? That’s how I felt when I read that quote from Don Thompson’s “The $12 Million Stuffed Shark (The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art)” the other morning waiting for the bus. “That’s my protagonist!” I thought. “That’s my Mirette!” There she was, a full (though admittedly more brusque) portrait at the end of a chapter on the role of art dealers in contemporary art sales. It was magic. She exists somewhere else besides my brain.
What are you reading?