Friday, October 15, 2010

Pride & Prejudice

Well, this week sucked.

I was verbally abused for forty-five minutes by this woman that I'm doing a graphic design job for, my parents left the country and left me with a house for sale, two children and a dog, my roommates are in a tiff, and the cat box has not been changed for weeks [so I changed it], and on top of all of that I've been doing a TON of free work for my gallerist for somebody else's exhibition--we're talking everything from ten hours worth of layout and design work, four hours worth of video editing and tech troubleshooting, not to mention passing hors d'oeuvres and serving beverages at not one, but TWO epic five-hour art openings one day apart (we're talking napkin-collecting, dishwashing, that kind of stuff, all AFTER I finished the day at my other two jobs!!!).

What the hell. I'm feeling exhausted, exploited, and generally trod upon.

On top of it, one of the big famous artists that I was busting my ass for these past days managed to dish out a particularly nasty insult in my direction last night, after it was all over.

When the opening was over last night, I took a seat for the first time--my feet were killing me and I was reaching new depths of full mental and physical exhaustion. I sat down next to one of the artists from the exhibition, who is quite established and has work at the Smithsonian and the like. He's a glass artist.

The first time I met him, it was during an artists dinner at the gallery, where we all went around and presented a new work to the other artists. Mine was of course first, and I showed a video piece. I had a really positive response from a lot of the other artists, including his wife, and generally went from feeling really nervous and intimidated to feeling quite pleased with myself.

Well his presentation went right after mine, and he said, looking straight at me: "There's no big concept to my work, and no fancy tech presentation needed. I work in glass and ceramics; there is value in working with your hands."

That burning red-faced feeling and butterflies in my stomach came straight back.

And then after I got pretty ticked off, but only after, once the shock of it all had worn off.

Anyway, I thought that was all behind us, especially as I made sure not one but three informational videos about his and his wife's work were properly put on display, and edited to be palatable to a gallery audience. I also made some really nice signage for their opening, which otherwise would have no text AND worked late making it right and making any number of revisions in accordance with their whims. To boot, I'm not a server, and I had to run around giving people filet mignon and horseradish (gross/super-degrading), and wash dishes, as there was no dishwasher (human or machine). I mean -- if that doesn't say I'm humble, a hard worker and know how to use my hands, what does?

But I soon realized it wasn't about that. Flash forward to the end of the second five-hour exhibition preview, and I'm sitting in front of one of the videos at a table with the artist himself.

I muster a, "Were you pleased with everything? I think it went formidably well!"

We both agreed, and given this encouragement I continued, more enthusiastically this time, "I'm so glad that your videos worked. It was exciting to see people watching the videos so attentively!" (I was implying, but not directly mentioning that videos and peoples' reactions to videos interest me, in general.)

And, leaning back in his chair, one arm on the table he smiles and says, "Well that's because they were informational videos. If they were art videos, they probably would have walked away."

And with that I tumbled down to a meager, "Ha ha, I guess so..." And got up and walked away.

In my mind, it takes way more energy to be a jerk than it does to be supportive, but I guess for some people it feels like the opposite. But, honestly....

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