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May 31, 2023

'20 Yrs: Selling My Practice' — Artist Darren Bader will hand over his identify for 'low seven figures'


Long New York Times story short: New York artist Darren Bader is looking for a new line of work.

From the article:

Want to Be an Artist? You're in Luck. This One is Selling His Practice.

Darren Bader is looking to cap a two-decade artistic career by selling something valuable. Not the witty and poetic sculpture he's known for, but his own name.

On his teasingly named website, aaronbader.com, a sign reads: "20 Yrs: Selling My Practice."

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It's been a good ride," he says on the site. If he finds a buyer, he will be prohibited from being Darren Bader the contemporary artist, and that identity will be taken over by the buyer. All his works to date will remain under the existing artist's purview, but if the buyer wants to keep making trademark Bader works, they're welcome to take a crack at it. (Whether collectors and buyers will continue to buy them is, of course, another question.)

What's the asking price? He has in mind a low-seven-figure sum.


Is it a gag?

He's often (unflatteringly) called a prankster, but if this is a prank, it's the kind that comes with an eight-page contract, drawn up with the attorney David Steiner (also known as artist Alfie Steiner). It will be published in the coming weeks, along with a video about the artist by the filmmaker Pacho Velez and text by Bader, in an issue of the online journal Triple Canopy titled "True to Life."


The contract lays it all out, in terms as simultaneously dull and amusing as you might expect, dryly defining terms like artist, work and practice. The buyer gets Bader's practice: that is, his art world reputation and the right to use the name on new works. Bader won't legally change his name, and can use it when he becomes something new: television host, art dealer, comedian, etc. If all goes well, Bader sheds the art world skin he's been wearing for 20 years.


"The project makes fun of this codified notion: when did the term 'art practice' even start?" he said. "It's playfully rancorous." He added in an email, "It was just one of those semi-serendipitous ideas. I think it might have been when thinking about dentists selling their practice." Partly, he's vexed by the dubious concept of the very kind of art world brand name he's selling off.

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[Darren Bader, in Carroll Park, near his home in Brooklyn.]

May 31, 2023 at 04:31 PM | Permalink


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