Marco Antonini Explains How to Be an Artist

Teaching people how to make art is one thing; teaching them how to be artists is another.

In today’s paper, Leon Neyfakh profiles Marco Antonini, whose class at Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward takes care of the latter–he instructs art-world neophytes in the things they must know to survive in New York’s gallery ecosystem.

For example:

“The most important thing with collectors is never pull their sleeve. . . . Never ever. Rich people, they can become very self conscious, and the last thing they want is for you to be nice to them just because you know they’re collectors.”


“Never ever approach the gallery directly. Never ever. I didn’t make this rule and I don’t want the world to be like this, but it is. Don’t ask for a studio visit, don’t ask to show them your work, don’t do anything. Sooner or later something will happen.”


“Apart from the work, there’s no more important thing than networking. You need a group of people who have your same interests. You need a sidekick. Sidekicks are important when you go to openings.”

It’s like The Pickup Artist, except just The Artist. And like Mystery and his ilk, Antonini styles himself as relateable role model: “I’m not, like, the biggest, hottest shot in the world,” he told Leon. “The things I talk about, they can relate to and sort of touch, you know? I’m talking about experiences they could have very soon. I mean, not tomorrow, but…”

Fortunately, though, Mr. Antonini wears “a sweater with the sleeves rolled up and a cool watch” instead of a furry top hat. Marco Antonini Explains How to Be an Artist