An artist whose work I loathe recently sent me a “Friend Request” on Facebook. He’s quite famous, shows with a major Chelsea gallery, and has been featured in exhibitions at museums and galleries all over the US and Europe. At art fairs, his works often command six-digit figures. I have to admit that when his “Friend Request” came through I felt weirdly flattered — If only he knew how I feel about his work!
While I have recently been on a “friending” spree, accepting requests from dozens of artists I don’t know but with whom I have an arbitrarily defined “reasonable number” of “friends” in common, I made an exception for this artist (with whom I share an impressive 401 “friends”). Though I haven’t formally deleted his request, I can think of a few more-or-less earnest reasons I could give when turning the artist down:
- I don’t want your crappy art polluting my feed with crappiness.
- I don’t want you sending me messages and posting on my timeline about your next terrible project, which will invariably be terrible.
- I don’t want you to see all the embarrassing photos of me from undergrad.
- I don’t want you to see the photo of one of your pieces that I posted that one time and get the impression that I like what you do.
- I’m fiercely protective of my cats’ privacy and cringe at the idea of you cyber-stalking them, you creep.
- While I have no respect for your work, I fear the respect you inexplicably command in the art world and can’t face the possibility of you responding negatively to one of my posts and inciting a revolt against me and my work.
- I don’t want you to tag me in your angry status update when I inevitably give one of your exhibitions a negative review.
- I don’t want to pathetically resort to tagging you in an overly polite status update when I inevitably give one of your exhibitions a negative review and you don’t even notice it.
- Knowing that you are a real (possibly even nice) person with friends and a family rather than some primordial form of mediocrity currently transubstantiated on earth as a loathsomely bad artist will make it harder for me to continue thinking and writing negatively about your work.
- Despite the apparent barrage of “Friend Requests” I have recently accepted from other artists with whom I have far fewer “friends” in common, I am actually very carefully curating my Facebook friendships and you don’t fit with my curatorial vision (which I’m not at liberty to share).
- One day, when I’m a Klaus Biesenbach-famous curator and turn my back on the aesthetic convictions of my younger self, I will curate your work into a show and I don’t want some upstart art blogger to cite our longstanding Facebook friendship as some kind of conflict of interest.
- We can only be friends if you stop making art.
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