Survival Training — Staying Alive in the Art World

This crash course is aimed at young artists and art school graduates. Its goal is to introduce career starters in this field to the professional side of being an artist. You will receive background knowledge, theoretical and practical tips on how to survive in the shark pool of the art business.

From the Paris Salon of the 19th century to the white cube, exhibiting has a long history of diverse practices and concepts and undergone many changes. Starting with the Salon des Indépendants, artists have tried to emancipate themselves from rigid and outmoded forms of representation. Alas, much of the autonomy acquired has partially been lost in the meantime. More than ever it seems that the taste of investors and tastemakers has asserted itself in the art market, thus influencing the visibility of art. Simultaneously, art critique has lost a large part of its importance, and what artists say does no longer seem to have much value these days. This has several reasons. One of these is the changes in the organization of art institutions, where private sponsors play an increasingly large role. Museums today predominantly address a mass audience. Demands are on the artists to produce dazzling and commercially successful spectacles. But is art’s streamlined accommodation to these conditions the right path to take?

In this course, we will learn the most important facts about exhibition-making, its history, and its practice. Commercial galleries are often not the only way to artistic success. Various possibilities for exhibiting will be discussed and their positive and negative aspects highlighted.

Apart from this, we will look at essential strategies for survival in the exhibition business. Moving from the art academy into the professional art world, career starters are often thrown in at the deep end. In this process, things can happen, which could cause lasting damage to a developing career. But many beginners’ mistakes can be avoided. Nothing is more annoying than a badly installed artwork. Nothing is more irritating than an artwork that gets stuck at the customs. And nothing hurts more than the feeling of getting deceived by a gallerist or curator.

We will, therefore, learn the most important facts about installing artworks, about transport and storage, insurance and international loans. What to do in case of insurance claims and how to avoid damages to artworks? How to bargain with exhibitors? Who pays for the production, the framing and the transport of a work? And what about the fee?

We will also talk about how to master the difficult social situation of a young professional. Possibilities for earning a living, insurance, searching for a studio and artists’ professional rights should not be a professional secret. Apart from an analysis of the social situation of artists, we will also exchange practical and philosophical strategies and tips for survival in the contemporary art world.





Session 1: The history of exhibitions. Different concepts

Session 2: Installing artworks. Different concepts, Dos and Don’ts. Practical training.

Session 3: Shipping artworks. Transport & customs regulations. Transportation & storage safety.



Session 1: Being an artist – How to get started

Session 2: Practical & philosophical tips for survival as an artist

Session 3: Debriefing



Diego Castro (* 1972 in Hannover, Germany) is a visual artist, art critic and musician. He studied studio arts at the art schools of Kiel (D), Saint-Etienne (F) and Nantes (F). He studied theory at the Institute for Critical-, Curatorial- and Cybermediastudies at the Haute-Ecole d’Art & Design in Geneva (CH) and received his doctor’s degree at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. Diego Castro has worked in almost all the professional fields of contemporary art. He ran a non-commercial gallery in Neukölln and has also been involved with cultural politics, campaigning for artists professional rights. As an art critic, he has published with various leading newspapers in Berlin. He has been teaching both studio art and art theory at the art schools of Geneva, Potsdam, Marseille and Berlin. Today he teaches american exchange students about German art history in Berlin and works as a visual artist and rock musician.

Run period:
27.06.2020 – 28.06.2020
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 180

Number of hours:
Min. number of participants:
Max. number of participants:

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