Shallow Thought Thursday: Should artists wear their rank on their chests?

(This is a tongue-in-cheek post, so have fun with it.)

I find it tedious when I bump into people who insist on giving me their CV highlights. I’ve always thought that wearing badges or ribbons would solve it. If you’re showing in the Whitney Biennial or at the Tate, you could announce it on your jacket. Artists could wear stripes like generals, so everyone would know their rank.John Baldessari, in Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton (page xiii)

So, what do you think? Baldessari is a conceptual artist hailing from the upper echelon of the art world, but there are artists who do win medals and ribbons. Baldessari isn’t talking about those artists.

Also, he’s in a position where, undoubtedly, people are constantly trying to impress him with their accomplishments. Presumably, this is before he sees any artwork. Maybe a system of stripes would serve his purpose.

What would the highest rank look like on someone’s jacket? What would they have to accomplish to get it?

What would be 2nd and 3rd?

And what is the lowest ranking?

C’mon. Make me laugh. I dare you.

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17 thoughts on “Shallow Thought Thursday: Should artists wear their rank on their chests?”

  1. I think a hat would be so much better. A nice tall one that could grow taller as the accomplishments add up. Then we really could identify the artists whose “heads don’t fit in the door.”

  2. A feather could be added to the previously suggested ever-growing hat. Very important artists would have the most lengthy feathers, which only they would be allowed to design and color. Peacock feathers would be for those who achieve international status after death. Those lowest on the pecking order would achieve downy chicken feathers. Student artists would be allowed one down feather per year of art school. Self trained artists would skip the chicken feathers, and jump to the next rank of guinea hen feathers via a jurying process by nearly dead artists whose feathers are forced to bend at least in half when they attempt to walk through a door. Having said that, I have to admit that I grew up knowing some now famous artists, who while living, were short hatted and featherless. Their rank was displayed by their works.

  3. In the US Army, on the uniform is an velcro patch, that is used to hold in place the insignia of whatever rank that is achieved. The starting rank, private, gets nothing to place on that velcro. My Army son told me that this is called the Fuzzy Patch. So, the lowest rank Artist, the Hobbiest, only gets a Fuzzy Velcro Patch on their sleeve.

  4. I love the idea that I could wear guinea hen feathers – I think guinea hens are the coolest! Perhaps the very supreme artist goes about like the emperor with no clothes – you have to be good to get away with that!

  5. Oh, you guys are good! And, Daniel, I love it. Of course, I love wearing black and think that the black turtleneck should be the official clothing of artists. Surely we could get a sponsor!

  6. I, too, am happy with the guinea feathers idea. I might also add that I would be happy to furnish the chicken, guinea, goose, pheasant and cockatiel feathers for these millinery marvels. (Trusting that the judges would be discriminating enough that my birds wouldn’t have to give up their lives for art’s sake.)

  7. If we’re going to rate artists this way, surely we should also rate everyone at exhibition openings or art events. How about a pencil in the hat of all reviewers, a love heart badge for partners, family and friends, and a permanent frown for those who have been dragged along against their will?

  8. How about the more paint, pastel stains, color/charcoal accidental spots you have on your wardrobe and exposed skin, the more highly regarded you should be. Paint splatter coat in your most used colors considered in highest regard.

  9. As a guinea hen feather who worked in a coop with very serious long feathers(believe it or not some even used in their work) I do think some sort of a badge would be a good idea. Seriously as a guinea hen, it was a wonderful and a horrible experience. Learning about myself and the idea that I was an artist(albeit one with guinea hen feathers) was probably the greatest gift in my life what I had to go through as a person was the worst. Thank you Robyn. I chose your way. Made me laugh.

  10. Chevrons, not plain stripes; we’re talking artists after all… Highest rank gets 5 gold chevrons on their jacket. And the lowest ranking, a thin black chevron so it doesn’t really show on your artsie black turtleneck, means “hey, I won an art prize while I was in pre-school (and nothing since)”.

  11. Heehee, I waited to see what other people posted because I’m a bit biases because I love uniforms! My only thought was stripes, and that the stripes should of course be in different colours since we’re artists. What about wavy lines instead of stripes or chevrons? A little more curvy and creative. Heck, each additional line can even be a *different* curve. Since we artists don’t like to conform. 😉 And should our ‘uniform’ be overalls?

  12. Maybe we could signify our rank through hand-made trade beads, given to us by other artists. Like Mardi Gras: Flash your art, receive beads. The artist that has collected the most beads has the highest rank.

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