The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary Art Style/ Manual de Estilo del Arte Contemporáneo
“You’ll find all sorts of things in Helguera’s Manual that aren’t in any other book: the difference between an A-level artist and a B-level artist, how to cure the dreaded “festivalist syndrome,” how to keep your conviction that you’re the greatest artist in history, and whether it is ethical for a critic to sleep with an artist whose work she doesn’t like.This is a very funny book. It masquerades as an old-fashioned guide to the manners and foibles of the art world, written by a savvy twenty-first century artist. But it is clever, and has many voices: snide like Miss Manners, sweet and impeccable like Emily Post, hapless like Bouvard and Pécuchet, earnest like an Art World for Dummies, sharp like Swift’s encyclopedia of clichés, sneaky like David Wilson’s fabricated documents for the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Helguera’s tongue seems to be in his cheek—that’s what you’re meant to think—but he is often very helpful, and everything he says is true.”
–James Elkins, author of How to Use your Eyes and Our Beautiful, Dry and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing.
The Pablo Helguera Manual of Contemporary Art Style was published in 2005 by Tumbona ediciones in Mexico City and the English version in March 2007 by Jorge Pinto Books. The book functions as a social etiquette manual for the complex contemporary art world. Should one sleep with an artist whose work one does not like? What do you say to a good friend who is exhibiting horrid works at his opening? How does one approach a gallery tastefully? The book answers all these questions with lots of examples and information. There is a glossary of art terms at the end of the book. For example: “Art School: Institution that teaches XIXth Century art techniques, XXth Century art history, and bills students with the tuitions of the upcoming century, under the assumption that art students will be able to fend with the present on their own.”
We include here an excerpt from the book ( from the section that corresponds to collectors)