Today from our archives we bring you a Help Desk column that never goes out of style. To submit your question anonymously, follow this link. All submissions become the property of Daily Serving.
Artists are routinely asked to donate work toward the benefit of an organization. I have reached the point where I am just not sure how my participation ranks along with my overall exhibition history. Also, benefit shows vary greatly in scope and prestige. With some, artists are carefully selected, and others—well, we simply add to the giant pot in order to be able to help out in what little way we can. So what (if any) is a suitable way to list auctions, charitable donations, or benefit shows on one’s CV? Do they go in the “Select Group Exhibitions” category? Do they need an asterisk of some kind? Do they get their own section? Or do they stay out altogether? Furthermore, when panels or curators view résumés, do they view these things as positive qualities or simply as résumé padding?
The short answer is that there is not only one answer. There’s a bit of confusion about CVs and résumés, since the two terms are often interchangeably used. However, you might want to think about your CV as an all-encompassing master document that lists every show, residency, award—and yes, charity auction—that you’ve ever participated in. After all, CV is short for curriculum vitae, or “the course of one’s life,” and it’s a good idea to keep such a document for your future biographers so that they get the facts straight when they’re writing about your early years.
Oscar Tuazon. Sensory Spaces, 2013; installation view, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. Courtesy of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Photo: Studio Hans Wilschut.
Your résumé, on the other hand, is a document that usually has a prescribed length (“no more than two pages”) and should be tailored to the position for which you are applying. I checked in with Bert Green of Bert Green Fine Art in Chicago, and he also expressed this opinion:
“An artist’s exhibition résumé is intended to give as complete a picture as possible of how widely and well the artist’s work is exhibited and to demonstrate an involvement in and commitment to the art world. Some artists maintain two exhibition résumés, a comprehensive version with every single exhibition they have ever participated in and a shorter version that is used publicly, to save space and emphasize quality. Generally the comprehensive version is not shared, but it is a good idea to maintain one as a document for posterity.”
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