I have been living in Berlin for the past five years* and working as a gallerina/curator/writer/translator.**
In order to write/publish my book (on my experiences in Berlin), I am selling original artworks comprised of business cards and recycled, commercial art world materials that I have collected while working in galleries.
In "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol", Warhol (another Pittsburgh native) wrote:
"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."***
So, with this in mind, I present: Unfinished Business: a one-night only solo exhibition opening August 23rd from 4pm-midnight at SRS Kunstverein (www.artitu.de).
1. I have saved all my business cards from every day-job I’ve had since graduating from college (five in total: Gagosian Gallery, Galerie Goff+Rosenthal, Exberliner Magazine, Galerie BodhiBerlin and Wilde Gallery Berlin).
2. I have editioned the business cards in groups and made a 12-page spreadsheet listing each edition and each edition’s 10 Artist Proofs.
3. The cards each cost 5 euros (7 USD). Gagosian cards are more expensive, since everything at Gagosian is more expensive, and they each cost 7 euros (10 USD).
4. The cards are laminated in their editions on sheets of A4 paper. Each paper then has the Kollektivist Manifesto printed on the backside, ie the side that includes my name and contact information for each business.
5. I have cut up every editioned card and arranged them in a Native American, Navajo-patterned wall-hanging.****
6. The spreadsheet includes a column for people’s names/email addresses (for private use only). It will be kept by myself as a record of the action’s participants and become like a database of creative individuals and those members of the local and international community who have supported me during my time in Berlin.
7. With the money earned from selling the business cards, I will be able to support myself long enough to write the first chapters of a book about my time in Berlin that I have been planning for several years.
8. The black cards in the wall-hanging are from the local up-scale, clandestine cocktail bar tausend, which has a high cover charge and an elitist door policy. These black cards equal free entry. At the end of the night, they will be given away for free to whomever wants them, offering unfettered social access to an otherwise exclusive venue.
9. At the end of the evening, everyone who has bought one or more cards will remove their cards from the wall. The installation will (hopefully) de-install itself.
10. This will be a one-night event. Berliners can take their cards directly from the exhibition. Everyone else can reserve cards via the internet and their cards will be mailed, along with a certificate of authenticity.
*Five years of working the standard 40 hr week is roughly equivalent to 10,000 hours. Based on a study by Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and expanded upon by writer Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book The Outliers, “The 10,000 hour rule” is designated as a primary factor in acquiring expertise, consequently applying it and achieving success. Here’s hoping.
**"Emilie did have actual jobs, a series of them – she was always yelling at someone in German customs, trying to get them to free up a six-foot carved totem from Uttar Pradesh in time for an opening that night, or she was running the gallery while...[redacted due to legal threat]..., or she was curating a pretty good show featuring some of our friends and later written up on the style-and-art-blog circuit by other of our friends – but she also managed to party as though it was her job. She had two jobs, in effect. She worked harder than anybody I knew."
-From the forthcoming book by Gideon Lewis-Kraus
***The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and back again), pg. 92.
****Before the Wall fell (in 1989), East Berliners were huge fans of "Cowboys and Indians", or Country Western movies. However, unlike the Western norm, in East Berlin productions, the Cowboys were usually the antagonists, not the Indians. The Indians/ Native Americans were generally portrayed as an oppressed people vigilantly fighting for their rights.
- (35 days)