Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things Artists do That Annoy Me: The Sex Game

Things Artists do That Annoy Me: The Sex Game

I’ve decided to post about another annoyance I sometimes face with artists-- that being what I like to call the Sex Game. The Sex Game tends to be played by artists who are desperate for exposure-- so desperate that they will throw sexual advances towards a humble art writer such as myself. The Sex Game takes different forms-- but the intentions are always the same.

The idea behind the Sex Game is simple enough, ‘If I offer him this, that, or THIS he will write about my art.’. WRONG. I won’t-- in fact, petty sexual advances have turned me away from writing about some very talented artists in the past. Said advances reek of insecurity and general low self-esteem-- which does not make a good impression as far as I’m concerned. Get a tougher skin or at least use protection if that is how you are going to promote your art!

I’ll admit that I faced the Sex Game more often when writing for Myartspace-- especially when art competitions involving art fair partners, such as Aqua Art Miami and SCOPE, were up and running. Obviously some artists-- both male and female-- thought I would somehow improve their chances of winning a Myartspace art competition if they offered some form of sexual favor to me. Others thought I would be more apt to interview them if they came on sexually strong. Needless to say, they were dead wrong.

When I receive random email from an artist I don’t mind discovering image samples of their artwork and learning a little bit about who they are-- but I do mind if within the batch of images a boob shot or other image of that nature is present or if the message itself involves a direct or veiled sexual advance in exchange for something that I can offer. It is insulting to think that some individuals assume that my opinions, or the opinion of any other art writer for that matter, can be swayed so easily.

The ease that some artists have making said sexual offers forces me to wonder how many art writers, art critics, and curators succumb to said advances. After all, it must have worked for these artists at some point in their career or they would not have been so blunt with me. That is a very jaded road to travel-- but I'm certain if one drove down it he or she would see more than a few cars pulled over to the side.

During my years writing for Myartspace I had several offers of fellatio and point-blank sexual intercourse thrown my way. And for what? So the person might win a competition or have their interview sent out on an email blast? Show a little respect for yourself and for me! The Sex Game does not impress me-- I’m here for the art folks. To be frank, I don’t need any help getting laid. Thus, if I’m not going to whore out my talent to ‘get some’ I expect others to take the same professional stance with their talent and how they convey themselves to others on a business level.

Point blank-- if an artist is going to try and base his or her career success on sexual favors he or she would probably make more money in a different industry. However, based on some of the insider buzz I’ve overheard during my years as an art writer-- especially when the focus was on New York or Miami-- I suppose even that can be debated. Take that for what it is.

Links of Interest:

Things Artists do That Annoy Me: What’s in a Name?

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


  1. Thanks for speaking up about this. More and more it seems that some folks in the arts feel it's fine to sleep their way to the top. How sad to have so little courage to let one's artwork speak for itself, and to have such low self esteem as to sell oneself.

    I sometimes wonder if this doesn't extend to the subjects an artist may choose to paint as well. While the artistic nude is certainly a valid subject, it seems that some artists go out of their way to include nudity in almost every subject they explore. Is this a similar thing? Can this also be a debasement of the artist in an effort to garner more attention or notoriety?

  2. qualquer coisa que foge do propósito de lealdade com você mesmo e com a lealdade à arte,Não merece
    consideração.Tanto o critico quanto o artista tem
    que ter integridade profissional em se tratando de
    trabalho.pois se houver qualquer tipo de negociação fora dos parâmetros da arte deixa de ser arte.

  3. Hey Brian, that's bold and desperate .
    How about dinner?...hahahahahajust kidding.
    I am really surprised this is the case but then I'm a hermit.

  4. I always thought this stuff was urban legend. So let me see if I understand this: Artist tries to sleep with writer hoping for an interview. If the artist gets the interview, then what?

    The work still has to speak for itself. The behavior you've described makes no sense. Are you sure you're not just dealing with a very very horny bunch of artists?

    Charlie - please don't scan a boob.

  5. Regina, it is very real. I suppose they were willing to do anything to be included on an email blast knowing it would reach 40,000+ subscribers-- or to win a Myartspace competition. Perhaps they assumed I have magical contacts that can make the yellow brick road visible.

    Unfortunately, it does make sense to a point. Artists all want exposure-- and even with art blogs and art sites in general it can be a rat race to capture the focus of exposure before someone else does. Some people are willing to do anything to get ahead of the game. Even if it places them at risk.

    If an artist is going to throw himself or herself at someone I'd think they could find a better target than me if success is the goal. Maybe it is just my eyes? lol