New Research: Make Money in Art by Dressing the Part

Satire

  by  Sarah Rosenberg

by Sarah Rosenberg

Satire

Rarely can artists make a good living from their art. Recently however, the Bile Style Research Institute found a clear correlation between artistic success and wearing round black-rimmed glasses, such as the ones pictured above. In film, fashion, journalism, and academia, the Bile Style research found that these glasses are necessary for artistic validity. Even if you don’t need glasses, Bile Style suggests getting a pair. Wearing such glasses makes you an immediate authority in your field. The Vanity Fair society pages are dotted with Ivy League intellectuals sporting these very glasses. Whether you actually are an intellectual or have artistic merit is irrelevant. These glasses will make you the darling of any artistic or academic circle.

Being an arrogant sophisticate is difficult without this optical accessory. Witness this truth at any private liberal arts school (Vassar or Sarah Lawrence are good choices) and see for yourself. There is a clear hierarchy wherein healthy-eyed academics seem much less important than their black-rim bespectacled counterparts. In some PhD programs (usually art history or theater), these glasses are standard issue upon graduation.

The glasses are purposely unflattering. “I don’t conform to standards of attractiveness,” the round thick lenses proclaim. And why should you? You want to stand out as a serious artist. Plus there isn’t time to make yourself appealing. You have bigger fish to fry as you proudly speed-walk to your seminar on “The Male Gaze in Post-Colonial Lampshades.”

To understand the intrinsic power of the glasses, one must understand their composition. The bold black frames give the wearer the right to patronize and criticize as necessary (it's always necessary). Smiling less, preferably not at all, is also tantamount to harnessing their authority. Think Edith Head. She and Andy Warhol are the tutelary goddesses of the glasses, which have a long lineage of culture. They have been worn at every graduate lecture, fashion show, and gallery opening since the ’60s. Their shiny black frames and wine-bottle lenses subtly whisper, “I’ve seen more Woody Allen movies than you—even the ones you’ve never heard of.”

 Costume designer Edith Head, tutelary goddess of these glasses.

Costume designer Edith Head, tutelary goddess of these glasses.

Plebeians who come into contact with the wearers are rendered intellectually inferior. The glasses make your opinion inarguable; your taste sets the standard. My artist friend Henri Tamage made Woman with Clown Lips in 2015. The art world turned a cold shoulder until Henri started wearing thick round glasses. Suddenly, the critics praised his work. Art-buyers went mad as they scrambled just to own a print of Woman with Clown Lips.

 Tamage's original  Woman with Clown Lips  sold for a record price at Christie's earlier this year. The haphazardly depicted look in her eyes is complemented by the sensuous fullness of her red clown lips.

Tamage's original Woman with Clown Lips sold for a record price at Christie's earlier this year. The haphazardly depicted look in her eyes is complemented by the sensuous fullness of her red clown lips.

If you’re a screenwriter, lie that you studied at Julliard, and then wear the glasses. Filmmakers will clamor to work with you. Want to impress New York society? Sport the glasses around East Hampton. You’ll have to fight off the dinner invitations with a stick. 

While the glasses give prestige, there are a few things to remember. Some accessories can complement the glasses well: pixie haircuts and indigenous-print scarves are must-haves. Your manner of speaking is also important to consider. Three words: pontificate, pontificate, pontificate. Make others feel inadequate because these glasses are about exclusion, not inclusion. Sprinkle in words like amateur and pedestrian to be perfectly pretentious. Also, while you’ll be a cliché, avoid using them.