How’s My Dealing, the infamous blog for art-dork insiders, has a new vocal critic, Stop How’s My Dealing. Stop How’s My Dealing’s anonymous author is crying foul at the blog’s nastier anonymous commenters, and wants to do away with all the bad energy by blacklisting artist (and rumored How’s My Dealing founder) Martin Bromirski.
Created in 2007 by pseudonymous artist “Buck Naked”, How’s My Dealing is a place for artists to discuss first-hand experiences with dealers, curators, art shippers, and critics. It’s anonymous, which is important, because it gives artists a voice without having to worry about repudiation; commenters can warn one another about shady galleries or dealers without having to worry about damaging their own careers in the process.
Naturally, many of the site’s subjects don’t like it very much, and it seems that the criticism aimed at How’s My Dealing has bubbled to a point of action. Created last Wednesday by an anonymous blogger under the pseudonym “Martin Bromisker”, Stop How’s My Dealing fingers Bromirski as How’s My Dealing’s creator, and urge[s] “all fellow members of the art world to blacklist Martin until he takes down the blog.”
Although How’s My Dealing calls on artists to “share positive/negative experiences with critics, curators, and galleries,” with “comments from those with direct experience only,” Stop How’s My Dealing claims that the site is mostly used for slander, and “filled with unverified gossip, attacks, and lies about small businesses.” It invites commenters to post “some of the most offensive examples from the blog, or stories about how the blog has affected you.”
And yet much of what’s posted on How’s My Dealing aligns with the pre-existing rumors about specific dealers and curators. Let’s take the Elizabeth Dee Gallery thread as an example. Comments span a wide range: one, from 2007, warns about the gallery delaying an artist’s payment for two years; another opines that unless you’re “kissing someone’s ass” you don’t have a chance of representation; over the past few months, the thread has turned to an alternately grim and gleeful recounting of artists who have left the gallery, with speculation about who’s next. We don’t have figures for the required amount of ass-kissing, but the gallery’s recent hemorrhaging of top-tier artists has not gone unnoticed.
The blog has a clear purpose, yet has received a lot of criticism from the dealers, critics, and galleries, who the forum can deeply affect. Although Buck Naked censors comments, often posting the irrelevant comments that didn’t make it to the site under the thread Blind Items, the blog has been flagged as a spreading ground for malicious gossip.
That criticism is fair, but How’s My Dealing has proven an effective platform for artists to want to be heard, or simply evade future mistreatment. The blog itself may also be the vehicle for change: no gallery listed since 2009, for instance, has received the dreaded red “X” Buck Naked uses to denote commenter displeasure.
Stop How’s My Dealing doesn’t acknowledge this, and it allows the same anonymous comments it rails against. In fact, the first comment on the site simply mimicks the rumors and vindictive gossip: “Women- beware of Martin. The guy is sketchy. I’ve heard some stories about his gross gropes that made my skin crawl.” Neither Stop How’s My Dealing nor How’s My Dealing have responded to our request for comment.
Photo of Martin Bromirski by NANCY SMITH/artloversnewyork.com