Things not to tell an Art Historian…

As you probably know or you don’t because you’re new to this blog, I am an Art History graduate, fresh out of University – ish. It’s been a year already!! Ha. Haha. Ha.

I consider myself an introvert, and I find it very hard to socialize with new people. In fact, some people think I’m weird at first, but then they get to know me. It’s that awkward small talk at the beginning that I can’t stand. I have to tell him/her what I’m doing at the moment and what I studied… and this is pretty much how it goes:

“So what did you study?”

“History of Art.”

“Oh, so you draw.”

“No, no. I research old masters, their works, influences and history in general.”

“But you draw?”

At this point, I’m like “yes sure, spot on!”.

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Then the dreaded follow up question goes something like this:

“So what job do you land with this degree?”

“Well, there are various careers you can go into such as an auctioneer, curator, conservator…”

“You can teach art as well.” (saying it as a statement at this point, not a question).

“Well not necessarily. I need to do an MA in teaching to be able to teach.”

“Oh yes, so you can teach art.”

At this point again, I just give up on even explaining…

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Wait until you have to explain contemporary art to people who tend not to understand why an artist chose to put sh*t in a can or crucify himself to a Volkswagen beetle (yes, these are examples of modern and contemporary works). I was a skeptic as well until I educated myself and understood why Jackson Pollock used to use the dripping technique and why Marina Abramovic does what she does in her performance art. Imagine having to explain it to someone that doesn’t understand. I just don’t even try because I get remarks like:

  • “These people are crazy.”
  • “Is this what people do in their free time?”
  • “How do people look at this and call it art?”

… amongst many other remarks to which I don’t even try to respond to.

“Oh, you research dead people.” Haha, funny.

“Art history? Oh, that’s an easy degree!” Easy as writing supercalifragilisticexpialidocius while blindfolded.

“Why do you research the past, the future is amazing.” I disagree but okay. You can’t begin to understand how innovative artists were and how they came up with several concepts. Just google Gothic cathedrals, and I rest my case.

In any case, these are a few things not to say when you meet an art historian. Art history is as compelling as graphic design, mathematics or sociology but it’s not for everyone. If you don’t like it, it’s okay.

Have you had similar experiences? Let me know down below even if you’re not an art historian. I think these situations happen to many people in different careers and I’m not the only one.

Stay happy, stay you!

Your virtual friend,