Sunday, December 07, 2008

Way to Go Go (The Tao of the Pink Slip)

The following text is attributed Larry Gagosian. He reportedly emailed it to his entire staff back in November: after the auctions, before Art Basel Miami.
If you would like to continue working for Gagosian I suggest you start to sell some art. Everything is going to be evaluated in this new climate based on performances. I basically put in eighteen hours a day, which any number of people could verify. If you are not willing to make that kind of commitment please let me know. The general economy and also the art economy is clearly headed for some choppy waters; I want to make sure that we are the best swimmers on the block. The luxury of carrying under-performing employees is now a thing of the past.
First comment: And I thought only bloggers put in long hours.

Second comment: Undoubtedly heads will roll, and soon, and not just a few. It has been conservatively estimated that about 40 percent of the art galleries in New York folded during the last serious market correction in the early 1990s. Whatever the numbers this time, a serious pruning at Gagosian alone, considering his many spaces and employees, is equivalent to seven or eight smaller galleries folding.

With the downsizing of large, multinational art establishments, the closing of museums, the drying up of private and corporate sources of art funding, it's starting to get very cold out there.

Remember the pink bunny who used to picket Gagosian's 24th Street space? After all these years, I think he's proven his determination and work ethic. If he's willing to put in an 18 hour day, perhaps he should leave his resume at the front desk.


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