The brilliant market project is holding a public debate Too many artists on 9th November. Here are my suggestions to get the ball rolling:

The 'panel' (me) proposes an annual cull, by instigating a variety of systems in order to maximise efficiency.

The first cull will be broadly modelled on an annual art prize. Four nominations will be made as normal, and all nominees - apart from the winner - will be quietly put to sleep as soon as the canapes have been handed out. Of course, all artists over fifty are not eligible in the first place and will have been discreetly disposed of before the event at the rear of the building. Furthermore, unless the winner goes on to significantly develop their oeuvre within (say), three years, he or she will also be 'tidied away'. This will have taken care of all artists over fifty and, usually, four others.

The second cull will be of PV regulars: using eye-motion-scanning technology, all artist/PV-goers who survey the beer and/or the crowd before they look at the art will be terminated forthwith. Many of these will be found in large herds on the street outside the galleries and therefore easily rounded up. Any artist who looks at the art first will be allowed free passage. Unless they are, or look like, a bit of a twat.

Still on the subject of PVs, all sycophants will be summarily executed.

Limiting the range of environments in which artists proliferate will be beneficial: several promising schemes are already in place (such as the removal of meaningful financial support, in a nutshell). The panel is not overly concerned about the private sector stepping in to fill the void, so no further remedial action is anticipated as things stand. There are other potential targets, however: for example, we propose closing down galleries where the office staff don't look up from their iMacs when anyone enters the premises. Although this is already widely recognised a form of natural selection, the inevitable should be accelerated wherever possible. It is a form of kindness, after all. Acceptable mitigation will include where it can be demonstrated that the offender immediately tabbed from Facebook to updating the gallery's website. These are more likely to be unpaid interns in their fifth week in the role of being 'a family friend popping in to help out on a strictly voluntary basis'.

Also for the chop:
Any artist who sends an extra image for an open submission, in the hope that the judges will make a special dispensation just for them.

Any artist who has upset the general public, irrespective of whether or not any of the latter are able to correctly name the single piece of work they saw in the newspaper.

Any artist who is not fully conversant in cascading style sheets. Also any artist who can afford to pay someone else to be fully conversant in cascading style sheets, especially if that person is another artist who couldn't afford to pay someone else - etc etc.

Any artist who has dissed Tracey and/or Damien, but also paid to get into Frieze.

Anyone who can draw well is dispensable, as is anyone who can't draw. In a similar vein, all new-media practitioners will be considered suspect, as will exponents of traditional media. If you have more than one type of oil in your studio you should make provisions for your family now.

All artists with a really good statement. Even though there won't be many of those.

Anyone who 'does art' as a hobby will be rounded up. Unfortunately this means that anyone who holds down a different full-time occupation in order to support their art practice will also be terminated. Rules are rules.

Any artist who sports an ostentatious moustache.

Any artist who uses the word 'palimpsest' in conversation.

Those remaining will be tested on their ability to complete a risk assessment form. The panel is still in heated discussions as to whether the ability or the inability to successfully complete any paperwork of this nature should constitute the reason that the individual concerned should be euthanised.


  1. Well there's no hope for me then Phil... I just cant bear to part with my ostentatious moustache for starters! ;) x

  2. I ruled myself out with most of these too. Doh!

  3. I went in the first cull - by the back door! :D

  4. Uh oh.
    From Alistair Gentry:
    Thanks for responding, Phil. We are finding that many artists and arts professionals have already given this subject an absolutely terrifying amount of thought and are able to deliver astonishingly comprehensive plans for eliminating artists at the slightest provocation. Which is nice. Unfortunately, I still feel that your suggestions don't go far enough and therefore we'll have to "let you go", if you know what I mean. Report to your nearest Artist Processing Centre within 24 hours.

  5. I'm done for Kate.