5 Things Never to Say to Your Art Collector Friends

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A comprehensive list of things never to say to your friends who are art collectors.

Things you should not say to your art collector friends:

1. If you can’t make it to the opening, it’s okay, I’ll just go with Jim. (But you probably shouldn’t go with Jim.)

2. This is actually the second time I have seen this artist’s work- the first time was at a gallery in Hong Kong. (Don’t try to out-collect them.)

3. You know what I love about your collection? Everything is so well-curated! (You don’t want to hear that they consider themselves curators.)

4. So what do you think will be the next big thing? (They’re not going to tell you anything.)

5. This is my third show this month; I’m really feeling it! (Don’t over-share.)

Art Collectors, my friends with stuffed closets and plump wallets, I have some things that you should never say to your fellow art collectors. These are things that will either piss them off or hurt their feelings. So before you go to your next cocktail party, please remember these five things never to say to your art collector friends.

There are certain things that should not be said to your art collector friends. If you have an art collector friend, then you probably know what these things are. But for those of you who don’t, here’s a list of five of the worst things to say to an art collector.

Thing 1: “I can’t believe you paid that much for that.”

Thing 2: “Wow, what a great investment!”

Thing 3: “Who’s going to actually look at that?”

Thing 4: “We would have bought the painting if it was by (insert favorite artist).”

Thing 5: “It looks exactly like (insert famous work from the past).”

Saying the wrong thing to your collector friends can be bad for your career. Here are some things that you should avoid when conversing with art collectors.

1. “Yes, but what is it?” This question is almost always a conversation killer. These days, artists are expected to create conceptual pieces with some sort of idea or meaning behind them. Therefore, there’s no one answer to this question, and if you’re not careful, you’ll make yourself look uninformed and uneducated in front of the artist and their guests.

2. “Can I have a discount on this piece like your last one?” This is a big no-no when dealing with gallery owners who represent art buyers. If you’re looking at something in their gallery and you want a discount, then politely ask if they have anything else in the same price range that you might consider purchasing instead. Be sure to follow up by saying that the first thing appeals to you more than the second — after all, they might have multiple pieces in your preferred price range — but that if they don’t carry it then they shouldn’t lose out on the sale forever because of your request for a discount.

3. “Can I hold an art collector’s card by showing my ID?” This question will

A lot of art collectors don’t know what to say to their friends. Other art collectors have said things that have gotten them into trouble. For example, don’t tell your friends that you own a piece of art because it’s a good investment. Don’t tell them that you own so much art because you are an artist yourself. You are not an artist and unless you are actually commissioned by the gallery to make the work, it is not yours.

Telling your friends that art is an investment might make them feel bad about their other investments or ashamed of how little they have invested in your friendship.

And telling your friends that you own so much art because you are an artist yourself is sometimes a good way to make sure your friends never ask to see your “work” again.

When I was ten years old, my father gave me a small box of watercolors. I loved them. For hours, I would mix and match colors to form my own palettes, and then I would experiment with whatever images came to mind.

By the time I was twelve, I had decided that being an artist was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I now have a large collection of art prints. I know many people who love art as much as I do and who also collect art prints from famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe . But there are some things you should never say to these friends if you want to keep your friendships intact.

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