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5 Types of Art World Bosses
It's important to get the right balance in a boss: critical but fair, fun but focussed.
Art x Style 14 Dec 2021

It’s true that working in the art world you’ll meet all sorts of people. Artists are infamously whacky characters, but often the strangest people are those at the very top of the creative industries – your bosses. It’s important to get the right balance in a boss: critical but fair, fun but focussed. Unfortunately, not all businesses have bosses that strike that balance well.

We reckon there’s 5 key types of bosses in the art world: which do you have?

Disclaimer: these are brutal.

The Opportunistic Financier

They’ve made their millions in another industry – probably oil, or tech, or banking – and now they’ve moved on to the art world because it’s a solid investment. Their heart definitely isn’t in it, but they might have a lot of cash to splash on interesting projects, and they’ll probably leave a lot of the decisions up to you (because they don’t really know what to do).

The Jaded Failed Artist

Got a gallery manager who always seems frustrated? Like nothing’s good enough for them? Ever asked them if they originally trained as an artist? Artists who don’t “make” it have to go somewhere, and a lot of them stay in the art world. While they’ll probably know a lot about the industry, these bosses might take out their frustration on you, and resent the whole art world. Not the boss you want.

The Bestie

Just like a pushover parent, The Bestie boss really wants you to like them. This means they end up not giving you the right structure and criticism you need, leaving you feeling unmotivated and a bit stuck. The office vibes will be on point, though, and you can probably get really drunk at the Christmas party without them judging.

The Inherited Legacy

Their father once ran this business, and their grandfather before them, and their great grandfather before that… Bosses who have inherited their art world business take image very seriously, and probably don’t care that much about how happy you actually are in your role. The gallery is named after them, so what they say is law.

The Commune

Companies with multiple bosses often feel like they have no boss at all. While these businesses can often have great worker-happiness levels, they can feel directionless and like every decision has to get to go-ahead from every single person before anything can actually happen.

Author: Verity Babbs

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