• Books

    Manners-ism

    A new book on the fine art of diplomacy.

    “One kiss, two kisses, or three?” asks Wendy Olsoff, co-owner of P.P.O.W. gallery in Chelsea. “One is never sure.” Knowing the appropriate number of air kisses is a common conundrum among art-world socializers, and one of many addressed in a little black pamphlet about behaving and misbehaving in today’s art scene. In I Like Your Work: Art and Etiquette, recently released by Paper Monument magazine, 38 artists, curators, dealers, and critics talk about the stresses and missteps they’ve encountered in their careers—and offer some tips on how to avoid them. Painter Roger White notes it is protocol for artists to dress like artists (that is, with fashionable slovenliness) but gauche when they play look-alike with their work. “A stripe painter may not wear stripes,” he says. An anonymous contributor recalls being cornered by two visitors at the NADA art fair in Miami and being told, “This is not your best work.” The recommendation: wait until you’re a safe distance away from the artist and dealer before making foul remarks about a show—otherwise known as the “six-block rule.” To those who haven’t coordinated their air-kiss greeting, or their comments, multimedia artist David Levine gives a comforting pat on the back: “Remember,” he says, “everyone is totally freaked out all the time.”

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