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The CultureMap guide to arts coverage: An open letter
Dear Houston gallerists, arts organizations, and other people with whom we deign to communicate,
We at CultureMap were sick, literally sick, when we saw the helpful email from Douglas Britt at the Houston Chronicle posted on Gawker. In a mere 1,400 words, Britt lays out the 15 basic, easy-to-follow rules so as to receive the benefit of his potential bon mots while actually interacting with him as little as possible.
And here we are, readers, happily covering the arts for nearly a year with nary a mention of our own code of conduct. So we've decided to publish this openly, so that there's no more confusion on how to best encourage us to write nice things about you.
Don't be afraid — print it out, stick it in an expensive frame, and put it on your desk where the picture of your family used to be. Who's more important to your success, us or those mooches who just want to enjoy spending time with you? That's what we thought.
1. We appreciate e-mails with high-res photos of the art. We do NOT appreciate e-mails with high-res photos of your dog in a sweater, a double rainbow, or of you nude and posing seductively. (Unless you are the Inman Gallery, and said nude photos are the actual art. Sorry for the confusion about that, guys! We just want to be friends too!)
2. If this is one of your biggest shows of the season, tell me why — and make the why about the post-colonial repercussions of the artists' work in relation to third-wave feminism's impact on post-90's hip-hop, particularly T.I.'s legal problems. Please use the word "subversive" at least 16 times so we know that it's truly special.
3. E-mail is acceptable, but we give preference to all correspondence we receive via singing/stripping telegram. (MALE ONLY.) Any submissions not done in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style will not only be rejected, but will also be burned ritualistically in CultureMap's breakroom as part of our Tuesday's Too Terrific Celebration featuring Mongolian hot pot. Take refuge knowing that even if your submission was rejected, it was still a crucial piece of our multicultural feast.
4. If you send invitations, please mark clearly if there will be any sort of clown in attendance. If there is, we will NOT be able to cover your event. I'm amazed at how many of you still think clowns are an acceptable diversion in polite society. Clowns are incomparably creepy, give us nightmares, and we don't tolerate them. Never have, never will.
5. You don’t need to tell us that you’d really like a review. I would really like a nice Sonic Limeade Chiller. But we can't all get what we want. However, we can all agree that Sonic's Strawberry Limeade Chiller is an abomination and pales in comparison to any limeade deserving of the name.
6. When we're at your gallery, make the most of our time there. Don't make us casually stroll into the bathroom to find some blow, hand it out with the press packet. And we need to save spare $1 bills for tipping the valet at society events and for our post-event trips to Treasures, so please provide a quality glass or gold-plated coke straw. And PLEASE, stop with the pleasantries, like "Hello," "How's it going" and the absolute worst, "You look great." We know. We get enough of this from interacting with our friends and family — blech. We also don't have time for prepositions or adverbs, and prefer all conversations to have only nouns and adjectives. When in doubt, ask yourself, "How would a robot say this?"
Remember, we have two beats (Erica Rose and art) that throw themselves at us 24/7. Break through the clutter or wear a tiara.
We hope this helps, and we look forward to working with you all for a long time!
The CultureMap Team