TMX chief warns Canada of risk in blocking LSE deal

TORONTO (Reuters) – The head of TMX Group Inc warned that Canada would risk damaging its free-trade credentials if it blocked the Toronto exchange’s proposed merger with the London Stock Exchange, as…

Mary Bottari: Who Knew That Cairo Was This Chilly?

Madison, Wisconsin — It’s midnight Monday. A quiet snow is falling outside the Wisconsin State Capitol, and clean-cut fire fighters are rolling out their sleeping bags and getting ready to sleep on hard marble floors with students who looked a bit shaggy after five nights of the same. Since Tuesday, February 15, tens of thousands of Wisconsin residents have been flooding the State Capitol in Madison in protest of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget “repair” bill that would savage Wisconsin’s 50-year history of collective bargaining for state, country and municipal workers. Tuesday, February 22 will be a critical day in the fight. The Wisconsin Assembly will take up the bill, introducing over 100 amendments, starting at 11:00 a.m. and the Republicans in the Senate will attempt to lure their Democratic colleagues back into the state from their undisclosed location by scheduling votes on bill the Democrats deplore. (Watch floor action on the Wisconsin Eye website).

Direct Attack on the Right to Organize

The bill does not just force public workers to tighten their belts. It strips some workers, such as University of Wisconsin hospital employees, of the right to collectively bargain entirely. It also forces public sector units to re-certify every year — an onerous endeavor — and it takes money away from unions. No public employer can deduct union wages from employee paychecks. Progressive Magazine editor Matt Rosthchild says for unions “it’s a threat to their very existence.”

The protests were large, loud and spontaneous because Wisconsin workers got it right away. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today, “it would be as if the Governor said he wanted to take away womens’ right to equal pay in order to balance the budget.” The fact that the bill is more political than fiscal is highlighted by the exceptions from the collective bargaining provisions for unions who supported the governor during his last election: police and fire, but not prison guards. So far the house of labor has refused to be divided and Wisconsin fire fighters have turned up at every rally — greeted as the heroes. “When there is an emergency, we show up,” explains Mahlon Mitchell, head of the state firefighters union. Today the corrections officers and a diversity of private sector workers marched in to take the place of Madison teachers — who were the first to walk out and proudly went back to work today.

The newly-elected governor, who has not yet sat down at any bargaining table, claims that the state is in desperate straits forcing him to balance the budget on the back of state workers, who are paid on average 8% less than their public sector counter parts. But AFSCME Council 24 called his bluff. Leader Marty Beil stated flatly that they were prepared to agree to health and benefit concessions if the governor strips the bill of the provisions on collective bargaining. The Governor rejected the AFSCME offer, illustrating the point that this is not about the measly $30 million he claims the collective bargaining aspects would save, but an assault on the unions themselves.

Scapegoating Public Workers While Ignoring the Banksters

From our offices four blocks from the Capitol, the Center for Media and Democracy has been live blogging this spontaneous uprising and following the distorted national media coverage. In addition to absurd suggestions that President Obama is behind the whole thing (he has been AWOL and unhelpful) and descriptions of the mom-and-pop crowds with kids in tow as “dangerous” and “anarchistic,” one aspect missing in the debate surrounding this bill is the role of Wall Street.

In 2008, reckless Wall Street financial institutions collapsed the global economy putting eight million Americans out of work and robbing the middle class of some $14 trillion in wealth. Because workers pay taxes and unemployed workers do not — states, cities and counties have taken a massive revenue hit. In 2009, Wisconsin wrestled with a $6 billion shortfall and successfully balanced the budget with a combination of revenue raisers and budget cuts. The nonpartisan Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau reports that Walker would have a $56 million surplus this year, but face a future shortfall of a more modest $3 billion. Many contend that the shortfall is in part due to some $100 million in tax breaks he doled out recently.

As United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard told the crowd in front of the Capitol Monday, “This is not about spending, this is about revenue. 53,000 factories have closed since the Bush years, since the collapse we have 27 million unemployed and underemployed. Let’s be clear — this mess was not caused by workers, but by corporate thugs on Wall Street.”

Gerard went further to point out: “The top 20 hedge fund managers made on average $870 million each and they are taxed at a rate of 15%. That money would pay for 25 police, 25 firefighters, 50 teachers in all 3,000 counties in America!” The crowd responded with chants of “Shame on them! Shame on them!” President Trumka hit the same theme earlier in front of a crowd of 80,000 this weekend: “No Wisconsin teacher gambled on Wall Street, no snowplow driver shipped Wisconsin jobs overseas.”

Laura Dresser of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a University of Wisconsin think tank on equitable economic development strategies, said, “If we let the right wing trick us into believing that state workers are the problem and not the folks on Wall Street, we may as well pack it in.”

Votes Today

Today, will be a decisive day for Wisconsinites, and they may well lose the vote in the Assembly. Check our website for regular updates. But there is hope. The unions are united that the bill will not pass, and the defiant 14 Democratic state senators who left the state to prevent the radical proposal from being rammed through are still operating from an undisclosed location, garnering public support and a surprising influx of campaign contributions.

Tom Morelllo, the lead guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and a proud son of a Libertyville, Illinois school teacher, cheered the protesters and their elected representatives on last night at a rock concert at Madison’s beautiful Monona Terrace: “The future of the rights of working people in this country is not going to be decided in the courts; it’s not going to be decided in Congress or on Fox News. The future of rights of working people in this country will be the fight on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin.” Then he ripped into Guerilla Radio:

It has to start somewhere
It has to start sometime
What better place than here
What better time than now
All hell cant stop us now
All hell cant stop us now
All hell cant stop us now
All hell cant stop us now

Read more: Leo Gerard, Wall Street Crisis, Labor Unions, Richard Trumka, Politics News

Melanie Benjamin: Where Were You When Borders Declared Bankruptcy?

Where were you when Borders declared bankruptcy?

I happened to be in the middle of a book tour. Which you might say was Ground Zero for an author.

Part of being on tour includes doing what we call “drop-ins.” Basically, you drop into a bookstore and sign copies of your books, which are then slapped with a sticker that says “autographed copy” and displayed prominently, one hopes. There are many benefits to doing drop-ins; of course, you expect the signed copies will sell out faster. And it’s generally believed that booksellers can’t return signed books for credit, although that’s not really true.

You also get to meet lovely booksellers, and shake their hands and thank them for selling your books.

The day before Borders declared bankruptcy, I was in Dallas. My media escort took me around to several Borders and Barnes and Noble stores to sign stock. There was no getting around the fact that in the Borders stores there was uncertainty in the air, bare tables, and employees putting on a brave face. I thanked them all profusely, and when we were back in the car, driving to the next bookstore, my media escort and I kept checking our email for any news concerning these nice employees’ fates.

The day that Borders declared bankruptcy, I was in Austin. My media escort decided not to drive me to any Borders to sign stock, which meant I went to about half the places I had the day before. I signed half the books, shook half the hands. And tried not to think about what this meant not only for those nice employees, but for my future as an author.

While we in the industry understand that it was a series of poor business decisions over a period of years that led to Borders’ current situation — decisions that were not always directly related to the selling of books — the general public does not. They read the headlines only, and of course what they take away from this is that not enough people are buying books. Or, at least they’re not buying books at Borders.

And maybe this is true. It’s very hard to take an optimistic look at the situation, right now. I try, we all try, but it’s just difficult. All I can think about are the nice people whose hands I shook the other day. I looked at the list of stores that were slated to be closed; several of the ones I had visited were on it.

I also can’t stop thinking about the books I signed, and the book I have coming out, and wonder who’s going to buy them, and where.

The night following the day that Borders declared bankruptcy, I was in an independent bookstore called BookPeople, where I talked about and signed copies of my book.

BookPeople was packed. Lots and lots of people were there — book clubs were meeting in the café; the upstairs was full of people listening to me yammer on; and a consistent stream of customers were roaming the aisles, a book or two in hand, occasionally stopping to ask one of the friendly staff members for a recommendation. In such an environment, I could almost forget about the news of the day and indeed, I think I did. For an hour, anyway.

There was a marquee on the outside of the store listing all the authors who were scheduled for events in the upcoming weeks. If you don’t know my name, I guarantee you know the names of many of the other authors listed.

I thought about taking a photograph of my name up there on the marquee, just one name among several — all of whom write books, love books, read books. All of whom need bookstores — all bookstores, selling all formats of books — to thrive. I didn’t take the picture, although now I wish I had.

I bought two books after my signing, and declined the special discount they offered me as a thank you for my reading. I wouldn’t hear of it–I never hear of it when bookstores do that. ome even try to give you a free book, as a way of thanks. I always thank them, and buy one instead.

The night after the day Borders declared bankruptcy, I paid full price for two wonderful books. And as I did, I offered up a little prayer that others were doing the same.

It seemed the only thing to do, under the circumstances.

Read more: Authors, Bankruptcy, Bookpeople, Books, Independent Bookstores, Book Tour, Borders, Austin, Bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Dallas, Books News

The Media Consortium: Weekly Audit: A Recall Fight Brewing in Wisconsin?

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Tens of thousands of people continue their peaceful occupation of the Wisconsin state capital to protest a bill that would abolish most collective bargaining rights for public employees. As the protests entered their eighth day, GRITtv with Laura Flanders was broadcasting from Madison, Wisconsin in collaboration with The Uptake.

Flanders interviewed Nation journalist and seventh-generation Wisconsinite John Nichols. Nichols and fellow guest Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive noted that the bill isn’t just an attack on collective bargaining rights. The bill would force public sector unions to hold recertification votes every year, which would put their very existence on the line annually. “The unions realize that this is a threat to their very existence,” Rothschild explained.

A game of chicken

The Wisconsin state Assembly begins debate on the bill on Tuesday, but 14 Democratic senators remain in hiding in Illinois, depriving the Senate of the quorum it needs to vote on the bill. According to an obscure procedural rule, the state Senate can still pass bills on non-fiscal matters.

The result is that a game of chicken is about to begin, in which the Republicans will attempt to pass as many non-fiscal bills hated by Democratic senators as possible, such as legislation mandating photo ID for voters, in an attempt to provoke their colleagues into coming back home to vote on the fate of public sector unions.

The Democrats don’t control the state Senate at the best of times, so it’s not clear why they would be more eager to come home to lose on voter ID and public sector unions. As of Tuesday, the legislators in exile showed no signs of wavering, telling CBS that they were waiting to hear from the governor.

“I think if this [bill] gets pushed through, we’re going to have a recall effort and take this governor out,” Rothschild predicted.


An estimated 80,000 protesters gathered in Madison, Wisconsin to protest a Republican-backed budget bill that would abolish collective bargaining rights for most public employees, Democracy Now! reports.

The bill would spare the bargaining rights of unionized police officers and firefighters. However, Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association, tells host Amy Goodman that Wisconsin’s firefighters and police officers stand with other public sector workers. “An assault on one is an assault on all,” Mitchell said.

Union busting, not budget fixing

Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive argues Gov. Walker’s real agenda is union busting, not budget repair. Walker claims that he is forced to abolish collective bargaining rights because the state can no longer afford them. But this is a matter of priorities, not a true fiscal emergency. Walker is asking working people to pick up the tab for his economic agenda. During his brief tenure in office, Walker refused $800 million in federal funds for high speed rail, which would have created jobs and stimulated the economy. He has also pushed through $117 million in tax breaks.

The captain of the Superbowl-winning Green Bay Packers, the NFL’s only non-profit team, has come out in solidarity with the protesters in Wisconsin, Dave Zirin reports in The Nation. Captain Charles Woodson said in a statement:

Last week I was proud when many of my current and former teammates announced their support for the working families fighting for their rights in Wisconsin. Today I am honored to join with them. Thousands of dedicated Wisconsin public workers provide vital services for Wisconsin citizens. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. These hard working people are under an unprecedented attack to take away their basic rights to have a voice and collectively bargain at work.

“Budget crisis” theater

Forrest Wilder in the Texas Observer notes that the Lone Star State is facing a $27 million shortfall of its own. He argues that Republicans are construing this relative small shortfall as a “budget crisis” in order to imbue their crusade against public services with a false sense of urgency. The budget gap could be bridged with a small and relatively painless tax increase, Wilder notes, but Republicans only want to talk about cuts.

Raise our taxes

Fifteen thousand Illinoisans massed in the state capital with an unusual demand for their state legislators: Raise our taxes! The Save Our State rally was one of the largest citizen assemblies in the history of the state legislature, David Moberg reports for In These Times. The event was organized by the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC), an alliance of more than 300 organizations including social service agencies, public employee unions, and religious and civic groups. The RBC is calling on legislators to fix flaws in the Illinois tax structure that threaten essential services and the long-term financial health of the state.

No help for 99ers

Rep. Barbara Lee’s (D-CA) bid to attach a 14-week unemployment insurance extension for Americans whose benefits have run out (known as 99ers because they have already been unemployed for at least 99 weeks) to the continuing resolution to fund the government proved unsuccessful last week. Ed Brayton of the Michigan Messenger reports that the provision foundered late last Wednesday due to a procedural objection.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Read more: Taxes, Democracy Now!, Police, Lauren Kelly, The Progressive, Save Our State, Responsible Budget Coalition, Public Employee, Jobs, Texas, Fire, Labor, Unemployment, 99ers, Wisconsin, Michigan Messenger, Spending Cuts, Matthew Rothschild, Scott Walker, Protest, Amy Goodman, Union, Texas Observer, Illinois, Ed Brayton, Economy, Politics News

Karen Atkinson: Ethics For Artists

The discussion of ethics in the art world has come up numerous times recently. Since all participants have a stake, I am going to start with my suggestions for artists. In another post, I will discuss ethics for other participants.

Having worked on just about all sides of the fence in the art world, I can say that I have run across the most amazing things being done to artists, as well as things artists do to each other. In the vertical career trajectory, climbing the ladder is taken very seriously by those climbing. Those at the top have to watch who is climbing up behind them, as well as who they are trying to step over to get to the very top. There are only so many options for getting to the top of one’s career by the standards set up by the gate keepers. Gate keepers have their own set of rules to climb by. With everyone rushing to the top, and with only so many slots to fill, ethics often get overlooked. Here are some things I see often, and want artists to consider when making certain choices of how to proceed.

Jacob’s Ladder, William Blake

Treating Colleagues With Respect

Contrary to what some artists believe, curators, galleries, funders and the art world are not merely a support structure. They are, rather, partners in your creative pursuit. One unflattering aspect of many artists is their attitude of entitlement. They think the world “owes” them support, but it is simply not true.

If you are perceived as self important, you may get a reputation as difficult to deal with, and curators will lose interest, even if your work is strong. Respect their space. They have opinions and ideas of their own, and are not in the business of giving deference to ego.

Having good relationships with colleagues is important, and a collaboration is much more gratifying for both parties. Listen to what others have to say, and consider your role in the relationship.

Charlie Brouwer, 2009, Old Salem,

Don’t Be Selfish

Many artists are secretive about what they know and actively avoid sharing their knowledge. If you know an artist whose work fits the prospectus of an exhibition, by all means, let them know about it. Keeping information to yourself only hurts you in the long run. Artists who share information with each other get much further and develop excellent reputations. It is hard to be an artist, so be generous with your friends.

Don’t Tread on Other Artists’ Spaces

It is inappropriate to solicit interest in your work at someone else’s event, or at a party. Handing out postcards to your show at someone else’s opening is tacky. It is okay to give one or two to a friend, but do not stand at the door and hand out your announcements. If you share a studio with other artists, don’t invade their studio visits with curators. That is their time. It’s OK to say hello, but don’t drag the curator into your own studio to look at your work.

Leaving a Gallery

How you leave a gallery can be really important. If your gallery has been supportive, treat them with respect and dignity. At least show appreciation for your partnership. Leave in a way that will honor your own integrity. Many artists leave newer galleries to partner with bigger galleries that have established reputations. Often an artist thinks the latter will help them advance their careers, but some smaller galleries will work harder for their artists than a gallery with a large roster. Do your research because this may not be the case for you, and gallery hopping will not necessarily strengthen your resume.

Reasons to leave a gallery are: not getting paid; your dealer is not actively pushing your work; other artists in the roster have lowered the quality of their work; personality conflict with the gallery or its staff; a breakdown in communication that cannot be rectified; or the reputation of the gallery changes.

Make sure when you decide to leave your gallery you have all the right paperwork and agreements in order. You will need to make sure the gallery returns all your work in a timely manner, pays you for any pending sales invoices, provides accurate records of all sales transactions of your work, and returns any materials, portfolios, or other things you have at the gallery. Depending on your relationship with the gallery, you may need to reconcile bills you owe to the gallery, like charges for framing or fabrication expenses.

Galleries That Tell You What To Make

Many artists have faced the dilemma of having their gallery dictate what kind of work they make. If a gallery encourages you to paint like another artist, or asks you to make five more of those yellow paintings because they sell well, you may be shortchanging your career. This kind of production decreases the value of important work and makes it appear as if you are just making work to sell instead of making work because it advances your practice. Think carefully before you go into production as a commercial artist.

On the other hand, if you have entered into an agreement with a gallery and the agreement stipulates that your work maintain its current conceptual/material attributes, you may need to renegotiate your contract or consider working with the gallery to make them better understand how your practice is shifting. Be true to your own vision, and change galleries if this persists.

Using Other People’s Images

An ongoing problem, which has increased dramatically because of the Internet, is that artists use other people’s images without giving the artist any credit, or not changing the image enough to make it distinct from the original. Copyright infringement is actually quite serious, so if you are not sure of what is legal and what is not, be sure to check out the GYST copyright section.

Also, while not illegal, making work that looks like someone else’s is unethical. Sometimes this happens unknowingly. But, if you saw a great image in Artforum, and then you remade it as your own, you are charging into unethical territory. It is, of course, permissible to give homage to another artist and to demonstrate your influences, but be aware of the gray areas of appropriation.

Don’t Steal Other People’s Ideas

Here is an exemplary anecdote. A visiting artist came to an art school and did a lecture and studio visits. He met with a young artist whose work was very specific and distinct. A few months later, the visiting artist opened a show in New York that was a direct copy of the student’s work. Since the visitor was a fairly well known artist, and few people knew the work of the student, the established artist got great attention. That is, until the students and faculty at the school made sure that the art world knew what had taken place. Needless to say, the established artist’s reputation has suffered.

Artist Martin Puryear, “Ladder for Booker T. Washington”

Giving Back

Showing at nonprofit organizations, which are generally supportive of emerging artists, is a good way to start out an art career. Nonprofits also tend not to require a percentage or take a small amount of any sales. If work does sell, it is smart for you to donate part of the sale of the work to the nonprofit, as they have spent time and money to support you. Once you are more established, consider giving back to those organizations that supported you at the beginning of your career. This way they can continue to support other emerging artists.

Do What You Say You Are Going To Do

If you say you are going to do something at a certain time, do not be late. If for some reason you have a really good excuse, call and let the other person know you are running late.

Other people have busy lives too, and if you do not show up with your work on time, you throw a wrench into everyone else’s schedule and they are forced to work around you. You never know what kind of trouble you can generate when you do not follow through.


A gallery owner can smell a desperate artist a mile away. Some commercial galleries thrive on desperate artists, asking them to pay fees for submitting work (see vanity galleries and juried exhibitions). Some galleries are now telling emerging artists that they will need to take 90 percent of the sales, giving the excuse that is costing them a lot more money to promote them as an emerging artist. Steer clear of any agreement giving you less than half of all sales!

Avoid appearing desperate. Don’t send unsolicited work to galleries. Don’t rush to sign contracts without reading them and having a lawyer look at them. Remember, all careers go through ups and downs. The trick is to stay smart and level headed in both good and bad times.


Exuding bitterness about your career is unhealthy and unproductive. It’s hard to work with artists who constantly complain. If you are bitter, it is best to keep it to yourself.

The art world is a tough place, and you need to constantly work around obstacles, whether it is your health, a family issue or a job that gets in the way of being an artist. Instead of complaining, change your tactics, look at your career in a different way, and be pro-active.

Keep a diary, visit a therapist, and talk to a mentor. There are appropriate places to productively state and address your personal problems and flagging career.

Do Not Talk Shit

The art world is a teeny tiny place, and if you talk shit about other people at art openings, it may get back to them. Be wary of how you come across to others when you engage in this activity. Your personality can have a direct effect on whether people will want to work with you.

Be Professional

Your opening is an important time to have your sh*t together. Do not be unreasonably late. Most viewers come to see you, not just the artwork. If someone drives across town and they can only come early because they have somewhere else to be, and you are not there, they might not do it again the next time you have an opening. Also, do not get drunk at your own opening. Be alert and calm.

While it is tempting to only talk to your friends or family at your openings, be aware that this is a time for you to talk to people uninitiated to your work. If you are showing at a commercial gallery the gallery director will probably want you to talk with critics, curators and collectors in attendance. So say hi to friends and family, be gracious, but also work to promote your work, meet people, make connections, and talk to strangers.

UK artist Banksy

Criticism and Rejection

Remember that if you are not getting rejected, you are not applying enough. Contrary to the typical emotional reaction, rejection should not be taken personally–and may not even be a reflection on the quality of your work. Always try to get feedback on your proposals. Some funders do not allow this, but most will offer comments and, even if it is not their policy to provide explanation, they will respect the question. It may simply be that they are still unfamiliar with your work, or they have recently done too many shows of work similar to yours, or there was not enough information in the application. It is also important to know that most funders have a committee of your peers (other artists, curators, etc.) who rotate with each review panel. Hence, the makeup of the review committee can greatly influence how your work is received. It could be that you just need a little more experience. Do NOT give up applying for grants and other funding. Do NOT give up on applying for shows. Doing your research and making sure your work fits the application requirements is one of the most important aspects of getting grants and exhibitions. If you find out why you were rejected, you may be able to make changes, and reapply next year.

When you make a follow-up call, especially following a rejection, make sure that the receiver has time to chat with you. Other people in the arts are often understaffed and very busy. Some foundations only have one or two employees. Be courteous, and if they are busy, ask them when you can call back. Do not argue with them and just listen. You can ask a clarifying question, but remain professional at all times. You can learn a lot from the experience.


Deception can ruin a career. Don’t lie about your past achievements on your resume because doing this will eventually come back to haunt you. Don’t make sales behind your dealer’s back and don’t lie to collectors about work. If you make art out of materials that will decompose, you should disclose this to your dealer, the curator and the museum. Do not misrepresent the materials. Getting sued over a good joke is no laughing matter.

David Nash, Ladder, Espoo, Finland

Artwork on Private Property

Creating artwork on someone else’s fence, house, or other property is an issue that you should consider. Graffiti and tagging may be a valid art form, but it is expensive to paint over and clean up. Public property is just that–public; consider how your work will affect others in the community. Always be respectful of private property.

Don’t Take Advantage of Others

Making art that hurts others–such as hurting people to get a good image, or making children cry to get a great shot–should be considered carefully. If you are working with adults, get permission and make sure that they understand what you are doing. Get them to sign a model release form. If you are working with children you will need their parents to sign a release form. If you do work with kids or those who are challenged in some way, be very careful when using manipulative tactics. You have no idea what terrors you are setting up for their future.

Eco Art

When making landscape art, you should consider if you are actually damaging the flora and fauna. Making an ecological statement, while at the same time destroying the very thing you are working on, is a contradiction. This seems obvious, but it happens all too often.


Any work that affects the privacy of an individual should be cleared with that person before being shown. This is the purpose of release forms. Also, consider what it means to use someone else’s image in your work, and how it may affect that artist. Getting sued over the use of an image should always be avoided.

Artist Kerry Skarbakka

Safety of Your Audience

Do not use materials that are harmful to you or your audience. Certain chemicals, mold, and other materials may severely affect people with allergies, people with weak immune systems, and children. If you need to use something that might be potentially dangerous, make sure you inform the audience and the gallery with noticeable signage. (See Experimental Materials section).

Documentation That Includes the Audience

It is important to notify your audience if you document your show and record interactive relationships with your audience. If an individual’s likeness is clearly identified, you may want to get them to sign a release form.

Graphic Images

If you are showing work at a space where families gather, you may want to consider how to present the work if it is not appropriate for children. Signage is a good way to warn parents that they are entering territory that may be disturbing to children.

Graduate Work

Sometime galleries do not show work made in school, even if it is a graduate show. One reason is that they may be avoiding work that reflects a collaboration of ideas between faculty and peers. Some galleries will want to show work that is “totally yours”. Also, certain funders prohibit support of student work.

Chinese Ladder, unknown

Thank Those Who Support You

Everyone likes to be thanked. Be sure to thank the curator, dealer, or funder. You should at least thank them in person, but a nice note is really special. If you are in an exhibition that publishes a catalog, consider using this as an opportunity to thank those people who helped you with the exhibition. If you get rejected for a grant, or a show, writing a thank you note for allowing you to apply might help them to remember you in the future. If you do not get the teaching job, thank them for the interview. You do not have to be extravagant, just make sure that they know you respect their support.

Asking For Things

From time to time, you will need someone to write you a letter of recommendation. When you ask someone to write a letter, do NOT wait until the week it is due. If they say yes, be sure to send them all the pertinent details: who the letter should be written to and the description of what you are applying for. Make sure to give them plenty of time to write the letter. Be sure to include information about yourself, particularly if they have not seen your latest body of work, or if you have additions to your resume, which may be helpful in a letter. It is a good idea to keep in contact with those whom you may request a letter from. Consider how selfish it will appear to request support from someone you have not reached out to in a long time. Be generous, and others will reciprocate.

How To Treat Established Artists

It is not the job of your former teacher or other artists to get you into a gallery. If you ask someone to recommend you, do not do it out of the blue. Make sure that your colleague is comfortable with supporting your work, and do not expect them to say yes. Artists have a limited number of recommendations that they can use with the people they know. Do your homework, have them over to your studio, and try to wait for them to bring up the subject.

Art Agents

Beware of dealing with art agents. They may say they can help your career, but consider this:

An up and coming artist who was starting to do quite well in their career was contacted by an agency. They offered to help secure shows, do PR and basically make the artist’s career. What the artist may or may not have known is that the agents were buying out the shows before they opened. The artists became so desired, because of this market manipulation, that he had shows set up all over the world. Once it was found out that the agents were dealing in fraudulent practices, it destroyed his career. Always be aware of your agents’ practices.


There are laws that govern editions. Editions must be declared at the time they are made. Buyers must be notified of the number of editions in writing. DO NOT make additional prints or photos after you have declared the edition size. Be aware of the consequences of such actions.

Artist Francesca Dimattio, “Ladder”

Blind Submissions and Approaching Galleries

Less informed artists tend to submit portfolios/packages blindly to galleries or art professionals in order to achieve some sort of instant fame. That is tantamount to sending a message in a bottle out to sea. Most success in the art world is made through being active in the art community and through its extensive referral system.

No gallery owner, director, assistant director, or intern will do a bunch of busy work for you for free, including critiquing your art, web site, making suggestions about how to have an art career, and connecting you with their collectors/clients/curators. A dealer will only do the above after representing you as an artist in their roster and after a business relationship is established. Otherwise, why would a dealer suggest someone to their business clients without knowing who you are, what you are capable of producing, how you are to work with, how you handle deadlines? They need to know what you are like in person, and how your reputation is regarded in the larger art world. Regardless of what a dealer thinks of your art, they will not jeopardize their existing business relationships and reputation by referring a complete stranger.

Instead of wasting your own time and the time of a gallery, focus on art-making by getting into the studio, having studio swaps with colleagues and peers, volunteer at a local nonprofit, go to art openings, go to local lectures/symposiums that are of interest…basically engage with the community. Along the way, you will meet plenty of people, make connections, and open the doors to many opportunities. This is a tried and true way to get galleries, sales, teaching referrals and all kinds of other good stuff for your career. The art business works on connections and referrals. So be on your toes, be generous, and above all, be a professional.

Shady Collectors

Some collectors may try to negotiate with you at an opening to try to get a price break. Beware of this practice, as it may violate your contract with the gallery, whether written or implied. Send the buyer to the dealer and let them work it out. After all, it is the gallery’s responsibility to sell at their venue.

Some “collectors” may artificially inflate their importance to get steep discounts. Never sell yourself short. It’s ok to give small 10-20% discounts for known collectors, but anything more than this is unnecessary.

Karen Atkinson is the founder of GYST Ink, a faculty member at CalArts, and teaches professional practices workshops around the country.

For more information on professional practices for artists, see the GYST (Getting Your Sh*t Together) website at

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Oil Shoots Higher On Libya Protests As Investors Fear ‘Nightmare’

This post has been updated.

NEW YORK — As violence escalates in Libya and diplomatic support for ruler Moammar Gadhafi erodes, markets worldwide are on edge.

The price of oil, a key economic indicator, has reached a level not seen since 2008, when economies plunged into recession. Mideast unrest has already begun to affect markets in the United States, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 stock indices have stumbled. As the price of oil shoots higher, both the national and global economic recovery could be at risk.

Experts urge calm, but are keeping a close eye. “From an objective standpoint, there is no reason to panic right now,” said Jeffrey Garten, a professor of international trade and finance at Yale University who served as undersecretary of commerce for international trade in the Clinton administration. But, Garten added, major geopolitical developments could change his mind.

“The real nightmare scenario would be if the rebellion spread to Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Anyone who says it couldn’t happen and it couldn’t happen in a short period of time is just [guilty of] wishful thinking.”

Brent crude, a widely influential oil benchmark, hit $108.70 a barrel on Monday, a two-and-a-half year high.

To some extent, investors’ fears of an oil supply disruption are being realized. Libya, the largest oil supplier in Africa, typically produces about 1.6 million barrels per day, according to Reuters. But Wintershall AG, a German oil producer, has already begun flying workers out of the country, forcing a decline from the 100,000 barrels the company usually harvests there daily.

Eni SpA, the Italian oil producer, derives about 14 percent of its oil production from Libya, and experts fear that that source could be cut off, Bloomberg reports.

As the oil supply from Libya is constricted, the price of oil will likely shoot higher. If prices rise at the gas pump, consumers will feel the squeeze as heating becomes more costly and the transportation of goods becomes more expensive. A $1 per gallon increase at U.S. gas pumps tears more than $100 billion from the economy each year, economists say.

Under a nightmare scenario, in which the price of oil reaches $150, a range not seen since the summer of 2008, the economic recovery could be threatened.

“The risks would be very high,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said earlier this month. “If it went up to $150 and stayed there for the rest of the year, then all the benefit of the tax cut deal would be wiped out.”

Permanently high oil prices could devastate the U.S. economy. In late January, IHS Global Insight released a simulation that showed that if the price of a barrel of oil rose by $10.70 and stayed there for a year, higher fuel prices would rip 270,000 jobs from the U.S. economy. At that point, the price of Brent crude was around $100. In the space of weeks, it’s risen to more than $108.

Since protests in the Middle East began, investors have feared that the supply of oil could be compromised. In Egypt, the worry was that the Suez Canal and the Sumed pipeline, which convey nearly 3 million barrels daily, would be blocked. As protests spread, investors’ fears grew: If unrest were to hit an oil-producing country, the world’s oil supply could suffer.

Amid nervousness, the Dow and the S&P 500 both dropped by about 1 percent Tuesday morning.

But at this point, the nightmare scenario hasn’t come to pass. There are still significant forces standing in the way of economic catastrophe.

A disaster might only come, experts say, if protests threatened the government of Saudi Arabia, which controls backup oil reserves. In response to concerns, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has pledged to increase the world’s oil supply if it is significantly constrained, a move that could alleviate the price climb.

“Saudi Arabia is considered the swing producer,” Garten said. “It has faithfully played that role for a long time.”

Even if all of Libya’s oil supply is cut off, Saudi Arabia might be able to make up the difference, Garten said.

But unrest has been spreading at a surprising rate. After demonstrators took to the streets in Tunisia, protests erupted in Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Kuwait, Morocco, Bahrain and Libya.

“The big risk is geopolitical instability that’s lasting and has widespread effects,” Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff said last week. “That’s a much bigger issue than, say, short-term problems with oil.”

UPDATE 4:04PM: At closing Tuesday, the Dow had dropped 1.7 percent, and the S&P 500 had dropped 2.05 percent.

Read more: Libya $5 Per Gallon Gas, Economic Crisis, Brent-Crude, Libya, Mark Zandi, Libya-Unrest, Egypt, Middle East, Libya and $5 Per Gallon Gas, Saudi Arabia, Oil Prices, Business News, Libya Protests, Business News

Defiant Gaddafi vows to die as martyr

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – A defiant Muammar Gaddafi vowed on Tuesday to die “a martyr” in Libya and said he would crush a revolt which has seen eastern regions break free from four decades of his rule.

Wall St tumbles on Libyan turmoil

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks ended sharply lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 losing 2.05 percent in its worst one-day percentage drop since August, as investors dumped stocks on turmoil in oil exporter Libya, in what could be the start of a long-anticipated pullback after a lengthy rally.