I used to intern at this magazine that represented contemporary artists form around the world. Part of the publication was allowing the editorial department to be able to write up some smart, cool articles about David Lynch or Ai Wei Wei, but the second half of the magazine would be devoted to people who had actually paid money for representation in the magazine and inclusion in a 4-week gallery show. They would provide their own press snippets and we would just be stuck using them, regardless of how strangely written it was. These were primarily international and local artists looking for a bit of publicity, and some would travel across the world to schmooze for their opening. I found it interesting that by just having the name of someone well known just a few pages apart from some obsure, “emerging” artist, that their work was now somehow made more interesting.
I’ve been in stores that have a selection of art magazines and have seen people flipping through an issue that I helped design, and thought to myself “do they know so-and-so paid for their spot?” like its some sort of secrete that I need to reveal. I feel there is a deceitfulness to presenting the editorial with the self-promoters side-by-side, but then I feel like an art snob for disqualifying artists for paying for publicity. I know that its rough out there for people trying to get their name out there, but why do I feel this way? I am all for self promotion, but for some reason I feel there is dishonesty on both sides.