Monday, March 21, 2005

Packets of Rejection

(UPDATE: make sure you read the update at the end of this post)

Saturday I told you about my latest Provincetown rejection - but I probably wasn't clear enough that I am really into rejection letters now. Carolyn Zick found a quote from Style Weekly a while back, but that isn't the half of it!

Almost two years ago I made a BIG wall installation of about 150 of my art-related rejection letters dating back to 1991. They were hung in a large grid pretty much randomly, except for some interesting juxtapositions like a Whitney rejection from Lisa Phillips next to a later rejection from Phillips after she had moved to the New Museum. A number of them are from people better known now and at different institutions.

Some of them are quite funny, like the one from Adrian Joffe, husband/partner of Commes des Garcon's Rei Kawakubo informing "we are not an art gallery" - I wrote them after visiting the Tokyo shop and seeing some nice art on the walls. That one was hung next to a rejection from the Seafood Leader catalogue which had put out a request for fish imagery. I think I must have submitted to the New Museum too many times because one of their letters starts off "I am writing, again, to thank you for the chance ..".

A few are now sad, like the one from the wonderful Ella King Torrey - someone who was very good to Philadelphia artists for many years - and who took her own life a decade after moving to San Francisco to become president of the San Francisco Art Institute.

All of these letters were installed in the gallery as a huge Wall of Rejection which I then solicited visitors to pose in front of making the "thumbs-up" sign. I charged them each two dollars and gave them the signed photo in return. People were paying me to take their photos in front of my rejection letters*!

I also photocopied 25 complete sets of all the rejection letters and mailed them out as signed and limited-edition Packets of Rejection. I mailed these Packets to some of the people who had sent the original rejection letters, along with the following note -

Dear Administrator,

Thank you for your previous consideration of my work, but I have decided not to accept your rejection. Enclosed please find a photocopy of your rejection letter, sent along with photocopies of some other unsuitable rejections. Your letter is on top.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have reviewed your rejection, but as you may know, I receive many many valid rejections and cannot accept all. Please do not feel that this rejection in any way reflects badly on the quality of your judgement, and I wish you the greatest success in your future endeavors.


Martin Bromirski

Some of the people these Packets of Rejection were sent to are -

Jessica Hough
Madeline Grynsztejn
Elizabeth Armstrong
Clementine Gallery
Jodi Hanel
Ian Berry
Ingrid Schaffner
Richard Torchia
Laura Hoptman
Antoine Guerrero
Charles Bergman
Lisa Phillips
Elizabeth Sussman
Olga Viso

Aaah, that felt good. Try it!

* i have the negatives and these photos have since become a whole new piece!

UPDATE: I was contacted by one of the curators listed above, Jessica Hough, and invited to include that wall of rejection piece in a 2006 show she curated in Dumbo.

We got a review in Time Out and a New Yorker blurb!


carol es said...

that is very clever. sounds theraputic too. i think i like your blog the mostest by the way.

i too save all my rejection letters. i may have more than 1000 now. i sometimes use them as background for work (but haven't in a long, long time). here is an example: http://esart.com/paintings/showwork.php?m=canvas&wn=414

Mark said...

I'll match your Lisa Phillips and raise you by a 1986 Patterson Sims, Whitney stationary, mint condition.

Anonymous said...

Funny, Your not taking all the letters as some sort of sign. It must be because your not from NY.

Martin said...

Anonymous - Is that some kind of dis? Yes, many of those letters are definitely a sign I don't live in NYC.

Anyways, didn't you read the comment Zach Feuer left me a couple weeks ago? Here's an excerpt -

"I saw your paintings online, they aren’t bad, you should be able to “make it”, but you’ve got to get a reality check about how to “make it”."

Jessica said...

Brilliant! Simply Brilliant. Now I bet they want to showcase your photos!!!

Anonymous said...

What a great blog!! I work at an art gallery (www.artwellgallery.org) and I unfortunatly have to write a rejection letter for an up coming juried show! I will take all your comments and keep them in mind when I am writing this!


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