Repost: Advice on Press Releases and Artist Press Kits

Theresa Bembnister shared this blog post with me from a friend doing research about good PR. FYI her friend used Google alerts to send informational posts directly to her inbox on the topic she was researching. This post happens to be from Art Fag City. Despite the name, Art Fag City a freaking awesome blog for current events in the art world!

Round up: Blogger Advice on Press Releases and Artist Press Kits
via Art Fag City by Art Fag City on 10/9/07


Early last week sculptor Dave LaMorte asked me if I had any advice to artists wishing to put together a strong press kit, and target galleries. Naturally I told him I thought this was a topic better explored in a post as opposed to email, but as I began writing I realized I was referring just as much to pieces other bloggers had put together as I was my own material. As a result, rather than putting together a rehashed list of what galleries and artists should do with their press releases and kits, I’ve let the experts speak for themselves.

Last May Jen Bekman wrote a nice piece on the kind of press kit that leaves an impression on her. A must read for artists wondering how to approach galleries, I found the itemized list of press materials the best place to begin. I’ve annotated her list with a few of my own suggestions.

– a heavyweight folder customized with one of [the artist’s] images and a label with her name. AFC: Image choice is critical. You can use either a detail or a full sized piece, but it has to be something iconic and/or graphically appealing.

– a clearly labeled cd, in a case

– a checklist for the cd, a resume, a pricing guide and her artist statement, all printed on letterhead. AFC: Tailor this. Critics don’t need a pricing guide, so don’t give it to us. Also, although Jen Bekman noted this in her own post, do make an effort to use the spell check function. I often don’t consider materials that arrive with too many spelling mistakes.

– two postcards

– press clips and a press release from a group show [the artist] participated in. AFC: Include all press clips. It’s useful to people reviewing your work.

– an inkjet print of one of her photos, on heavy stock paper, with the image information at the bottom. AFC: I personally prefer multiple printed images in hard copy press kits because I rarely use the CD’s people send me…sadly I find it too much trouble to slip it into the computer. On images: Send a selection of installation shots and details, (one installation shot and no more than two details for any given work.) Thorough documentation is important, and sending too much or not enough of a particular kind of image typically tells professionals you’re not really that serious.

– her business card AFC: Don’t include your art on the card, just your contact info. Your work will never look good enough on a piece of paper that size, and nine times out of ten it’s a cheesy device to employ.

Edward Winkleman wrote a brilliant instructional post last year on artist resumes, that I consistently refer friends and readers to. In it he breaks down the common headings in an artist resume and explains what should and shouldn’t be included in these professional materials. I don’t have too much to add to the post since it’s so thorough. Read it, then submit yourself to a torture worse than hell: Resume building.

In September 2005 Tyler Green wrote a post about sending press releases to bloggers and critics. His list is informative, and covers many of the points I hit on earlier this year. To reiterate a couple of the more important points, Green complains about galleries and artists who send too many releases, receiving files that are over 1 mb in size, and the value of coming up with a good title line for your email. On the subject of too receiving too many of the same curatorial statements: while clearly this can be annoying, it tends not to bother me too much since I forget what I’ve been sent less than a second after I close or discard the document. Also Green brings up the importance of titling your emails. Want the critic to find your release after they’ve opened it? Make sure your title is specific and uses keywords they might remember in the future.

The original article no longer exists on line, but in September 2005 Todd Gibson wrote about Gregory Amenoff’s response to artist queries in Art on Paper. Gibson’s summary read as follows:

-Artists drive the bus (not critics, curators, art historians, etc.)

-Let your studio be a sanctuary

-Don’t be afraid to do dumb things in the studio

-Keep away from art fairs (“Instead visit a museum and spend time in the wing housing art from centuries past. You will be rejuvenated not demoralized.”)

-Support your fellow artists as they support you

-Read biographies of artists

-A life in art is a long race not a short sprint

Words to live by.

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