“Why is that a story? No offense…” my cousin James, a nurse in Pittsburgh, asked after I told him that while on the phone I received an inte

I Started a Shitstorm or Contemporary Journalism Is Embarrassing

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2023-03-26 14:30:03

“Why is that a story? No offense…” my cousin James, a nurse in Pittsburgh, asked after I told him that while on the phone I received an interview request from The New York Times, a publication that previously would not touch me or Filthy Dreams with, to quote a Doug Stanhope bit, a barge pole. “None taken,” I answered. “Isn’t it over?”

It being the shitstorm I started an exact week previous from that call on February 16, which has culminated in countless clickbait articles, exposés on artist Tom Sachs and his former Gagosian gallerist wife Sarah Hoover, and tepid Nike responses on their deep “concern” about the “serious allegations” of Sachs’s abusive treatment of employees. I did this unexpectedly. Unintentionally. I didn’t mean anything by it! Like any weekday, I woke up, talked to my parents, ran, and settled in, sweat-stained and grubby in a cruddy NYU sweatshirt, to laze around before working up the energy to shower. Sometimes this process takes a while and, in that time, I mindlessly scroll online. That day, I drifted onto NYFA’s job listings, a site many will understand being addicted to if you’ve ever at any point been unemployed or underemployed in the arts. Mostly, I like to track the same shit Gallery Assistant positions that go online over and over again, typically every six months so the gallery can avoid paying an employee’s health benefits. And that’s where I saw it. Executive Assistant. Art World Family. Much has been made—here and elsewhere—of this delusionally penned laundry list of systemic tasks, from “dog systems” to “closet systems,” so I’ll just share I cackled, sent it to a few people, and then, switched over to Twitter to post the link.

As usual, when I mock the art world with such a fervor that most in the arts industry avoid out of fear of blacklisting, retribution, reputation ruining, or any other sort of personal responsibility, a worry I shrug off as I do not make income from the high echelons of the art world nor do I want anything to do with it, the tweet garnered quite a bit of attention. Much of it from my clique of regular Twitter art friends, most of whom I don’t know outside of this platform (Thanks Elon!). Understanding, though, how our media ecosystem works, particularly arts journalism, which seems absent of any ethical qualms about swiping ideas from others’ social media posts, I rapidly marathoned writing a post here on Filthy Dreams about the worst art job ever created, taking my other cousin Cara’s suggestion to simply mock the listing directly with reaction GIFs. Done and done. Easy-peasy. I expected a surge of Filthy Dreams reads that would, like always, die down.

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