WTF – Rejected by Norbert Marszalek

A discussion with other artists prompted this article on “the ol’ rejection letter.” Galleries and museums need to come up with better rejection letters. We know that these places are inundated with proposals and solicitations but then again it’s all part of their day’s work.

Gallery rejection letters are usually sensitive and honest while being encouraging but there is a common phrase that I find both humorous and somewhat insulting: we find that [your work] is not a good fit with our gallery. This remark implies that the artist did not do their due diligence when soliciting their gallery. If a gallery shows geo abstract work and an artist shows them geo abstract work then in theory the work is a “good fit.” If a gallery shows realistic figurative work and an artist shows them realistic figurative work then in theory the work is a “good fit.” You get the point. If the gallery is intending “not a good fit” to be vague enough to mean anything, well, this phrase is just not cutting it. Galleries should be more direct in why they think work is “not a good fit” or at least use a better rejection form letter.

Museums on the other hand most commonly reject proposals by stating: our museum exhibition schedule is currently booked for the next few years. This phrase is most confusing and doesn’t even sound like a rejection but more like a brush off. Artists (and potential curators) realize that museums plan shows a few years in advance so the intention of any proposal is for future exhibition. Talk about a “catch-22”. A better way of phrasing the rejection would be something like: we are planning our 20XX exhibition season and your proposal does not fall in the parameters of our artistic direction.”

Rejection is never a good thing but the way a solicitation or proposal is rejected should be handled with utmost professionalism.