Once there was a young woman who wanted to be a famous artist. She asked some graduate students if she should go on to graduate school. “Fuckinwastatime,” said one. “Go out and get a one-man show.” She asked a group of her professors how she might get a one-man show. They just looked at each other and shrugged. They had been trying for some time and said, “It’s probably harder for a woman.”
So the young woman artist went to her father (as all good daughters do) and asked him how she could become famous. She was confident he would know since he was a Corporate Executive. “Hustle,” he told her. “Ya gotta get out there and hustle. Sell yourself, advertise, self-promotion, that’s what gets ya there. Ya gotta have a Corporate Identity.” The young woman thought this sound fatherly advice and so off she went to get Corporate Identity. She had business cards printed and stationary designed with a special logo. She bought a Gucci portfolio, a Mark Cross memo pad and a Louis Vuitton daily appointment calendar. She began collecting Art Deco, Navajo blankets and Amish quilts. She had her resume printed in color on colored paper. She wrote hundreds of letters and sent out hundreds of slides of her work all professionally photographed with standardized color patches attached to indicate faithful reproduction. Her phone bill was enormous.
People began to talk about her. Other women artists thought she was aggressive and pushy, conniving and deceitful. They thought she used them for their connections and leads. Male artists were nervous about her. They thought she was unfeminine and overbearing. Some even began to comment on her sexuality. But she was exhibiting her work all over town.
The moral of the story is: You can be famous or just plain folk.
© Linda Lindroth 1974, 2011. Originally appeared in The Feminist Art Journal Fall 1974. Cindy Nemser, Editor.