Los Angeles presentation, January 2016

Jennifer Stoots, a certified appraiser of photography, and I are doing a presentation in Venice, CA, on January 24, 2016. Register at this link and learn more about it, below. Jennifer is also doing a related panel discussion, featuring an attorney and other experts, on January 20, 2016. Learn more about the panel at the registration link. Workshop: Orchestrating Your Legacy for artists, photographers, and filmmakers This 2-hour workshop will give artists, photographers and filmmakers the information they need to understand how legacies are built and preserved, by way of good business practices and estate planning. Includes a planning workbook. DATE:    Sunday January 24, 2016 PLACE:    Studio 852, Rialto Court    Venice, CA TIME:    2:00 – 4:00 p.m. COST:    $99 early registration; $130 regular registration (after January 11) REGISTER:    artistslegacies.eventbrite.com This workshop takes participants from basic orientation about estate planning all the way through to small details relevant to artists, with regards to inventory and intellectual property. Limited to 25 participants. Inquire about discount for a second person from the same studio. Topics include: Introduction to estates and wills for artists, photographers and filmmakers Roles and transitions for families and business partners Studio practice and record keeping Understanding appraisals and valuation Best practices to minimize taxes Choices for placement of an archive and related assets Considerations when choosing an executor Examples of families who’ve successfully stewarded reputations into history Participants will receive ideas and paths to building their own artistic legacy and how best to prepare their archive and executors. Instructors Jennifer Stoots, AAA, and Robin Moore, MBA, will provide a structure and workbook so that any artist can create a...

May 2015 presentations, NYC area

In May 2015, I gave two free presentations in the NY area. Here’s how I described them: Learn the basic steps you must do to make sure your artwork is treated appropriately after you pass. A few simple choices can make the difference: will you leave your loved ones a burdensome duty or a cherished legacy? For most artists and other creatives, the situation is not easy to think about, but it’s not optional, either. You’ll leave my presentation with background, understanding, and some tips and tricks that will support you in planning the afterlife of your artwork. Presentation title: Artists’ Estate Planning and Cataloging your Work Description: What will happen to your artwork after you die? Will your loved ones inherit huge tax bills? Most artists have nightmares of their work ending up in dumpsters, but few have useful inventories or appropriate wills. Artist estate consultant Robin Moore’s presentation will dispel many of your fears. She’ll provide down-to-earth tips and practical tools to get you started. (This workshop is a supplement to last January’s Estate and Cataloging presentation.) Two upcoming dates: In Long Island: Date: Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:30 pm Location: Syosset Library (South Oyster Bay Road and North Service Road of the LIE) Sponsored by the Long Island Craft Guild. Free. No RSVP required. Facebook event here. In Manhattan: Date: Friday, May 15, 2015, 6:30 pm Location: School of Visual Arts (SVA) Annex, 214 E. 21st Street, Room 702A. Sponsored by the Society of Scribes. Free but please RSVP here. Facebook event here. Questions? I’d love to hear from you....

Event: Final Sale of Art from the Gallery K Estate

Folks in the DMV (DC/MD/VA) who are interested in buying art NEED to attend this sale, through this weekend. The collection, which originally included 1,500+ eclectic works, was built over many years by Komei Wachi and Marc Moyens, who together ran Gallery K, a wonderful gallery in Washington DC, and who died within a year of each other in the early 2000s. I was lucky to get a sneak preview earlier this week. It looked like there were at least 150 works for sale — something for everyone. I discovered some treasures such as two small geometric gouaches by Christian Gardair (no, I do not expect you to know that name! I didn’t! But the work is lovely) and a large Indian folk art painting, both illustrated in this post. There are many large paintings — suitable for commercial spaces — as well as framed work in all sizes, sculptures and objects, folk and ethnic art, and a group of contemporary Japanese ceramic pieces. The artists are eclectic and international — don’t expect to find many locals represented — and the prices are extremely reasonable. In fact, the promo postcard says, “Make an offer — we might not be able to resist!” Here are the details: Where: Security Storage / Secor, 1701 Florida Ave NW, Washington DC 20009 (at the foot of Adams Morgan) When: Friday 6/27, 10 – 5; Saturday 6/28, 10 – 5; Sunday 6/29, 11 – 3. The Gallery K Estate Final Sale is a great opportunity for seasoned art collectors or someone who’s just starting out — a real chance to find your passion, with...

Artists: learn about estates and inventories, April 27 at WPA

I’ll be presenting at the Washington Project for the Arts on April 27, from 2 to 4 pm. Learn the basic things you must do to make sure your artwork is treated appropriately after you pass. A few simple steps can make the difference between leaving your loved ones a burdensome duty and leaving them an honored legacy. It’s not easy to think about, but it’s not optional, either. You’ll leave my presentation with background, understanding, and some tips and tricks that will support you in planning the afterlife of your artwork. Estate Planning and Cataloging your Work: Part 2 Date: Sunday April 27, 2014, 2-4pm Location: Lounge at The Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I (eye) Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 What will happen to your artwork after you die? Will your loved ones inherit huge tax bills? Most artists have nightmares of their work ending up in dumpsters, but few have useful inventories or appropriate wills. Artist estate consultant Robin Moore’s presentation will dispel many of your fears. She’ll provide down-to-earth tips and practical tools to get you started. (This workshop is a supplement to last January’s Estate and Cataloging presentation.) Free to WPA members; others pay $10. All should RSVP to Deena Hyatt at WPA. More info and list of attendees on Facebook. Questions? Email me. This presentation is part of WPA’s Professional Practices series. Find out more about becoming a member of WPA...

The Art Cart: Saving artist’s legacies

One of my key sources of information as I help artists plan their legacies, and create inventories of their life’s work, has been the Art Cart, a project of the Research Center on Arts and Culture. Researcher Joan Jeffri from Columbia University has studied artists extensively: her reports, including Above Ground, make for delightful reading both for nerds and those who know and love artists (I count myself in both categories!). Through the Art Cart project, 20 artists in New York and Washington, DC, have been able to document their careers, with a high level of professionalism, with photographs. The video below gives you a great sense of the project and the benefits, both for participating artists and for society as a whole. The video, like the project, is full of heart and life and what makes artists tick. Please view it! One idea, for example, is that artists tend to do well as they age — and there may be things we can learn about resilience among older people that studying artists can demonstrate. Less heartening are the numbers about artists and their legacy preparations. Jeffri’s research, based on studying hundreds of older artists, gives these startling statistics: 61% of professional visual artists age 62+ have made no preparation for their work after their death 95% have not archived their work 1 in 5 have no documentation of their work at all) 97% have no estate plan 3 out of every 4 artists have no will While the project can only take on a few artists each year, you can always start an inventory. Learn more about artists’...

“A little help?” Seniors (and others) online

One of my great passions is demystifying tools that have the power to improve your life — and in this day and age, that means technology. Yes, I am a zealot for the Internet and a nerd when it comes to all things digital, but I only like this stuff because it works. Unlike many “digital natives,” though, I understand that using new tools doesn’t always “come naturally” — it’s not always steep, but there is always, always, always a learning curve. When I work with people who are new to any system, I have to be nerdy and effective — and warm and patient, too. My passion for working with older people learning to use new “tech” comes from a simple place: my grandmother was the most creative person I’ve ever met, and she kept learning all her life — what an inspiration. When she was 94 years old, one day she told me how frustrating the “new computers” were at one of her two volunteer jobs. “It’s this ‘mouse,’ ” she complained, mimicking for me how she thought it was supposed to work. “I just can’t figure it out.” The newfangled device was fixating — she couldn’t stop staring at the mouse. I had an “Aha!” moment. ” “Grandma! It’s like a sewing machine pedal. The mouse is like the pedal. The pedal is what keeps it going, but you don’t look at the pedal when you’re sewing, do you?” “Of course not!” My grandmother looked at me, outraged for a minute that I had forgotten the sewing lessons she gave me. “You have to keep your...

My Proust Questionnaire

I have always loved Proust Questionnaires — they are the perfect combination of personal and impersonal, profound and a bit superficial, and the language is so gentle. Reading them (there’s one each month in the back of Vanity Fair) feels like engaging in almost-respectable gossip. Filling one out is like eating an entire meal of delicious petits fours sitting at a café with someone you care deeply for. It’s smart fun. I’d love it it you would take several minutes of your quiet time and fill out my Proust Questionnaire. (It’s not a quickie). The questionnaire appears at this link and is also embedded below in this blog post. Please note, if you are an artist, I might like to publish your response! At the end of the form, you can sign or deny your consent for this. UPDATE: By popular demand, I have created short versions of my Proust Questionnaire — I’ve pulled out only the most vital from the original 43 questions. My Shorter Proust Questionnaire for artists (link) has just 23 questions. My Shorter Proust Questionnaire for general audiences (link) is 25 questions. I hope these new choices are equally fulfilling and provocative for...

Kevin’s paint “flower”

I hate to admit that it was a treat (after some time had gone by) to look over all the things in my late husband’s studio after he died. I discovered a variety of treasures… only a few of which were total surprises. Most were simply items that meant something different in his absence. There were objects that had worked hard, those that were used once in a while, and those who earned their keep as totems — all now idled. One of my favorite finds was this efflorescence of dried up paint, scraped from 30 years’ worth of palettes, bursting from an old jam jar with a faux-snooty French label. I call it his “flower.” In his time, the flower was just a tool in his studio, a structure based on tidying up (Kevin was very neat), and in fact, just a short step up from garbage. Now I see it as something truly unique, a keepsake, and a trace of his working method that is just so him. We’ve had some artist friends who’ve found creative uses for their old paint scraps (Clark V. Fox, one of Kevin’s oldest and closest friends, used to slice them thin and make brooches, I was told) but I’ve never seen anything like this. Kevin didn’t even produce that many paintings (works on paper were his specialty) — though I do recall him being somewhat proud of this lump of lumps in its ordinary grandeur, its order of chaos. The flower is his palette — I mean his color choices, obviously it’s his palette, literally as well — and changes endlessly...

Inventories for artists

The first task of an artist, is, of course, to create art. And each artwork you bring into the world carries a bunch of additional information with it: its measurements, how to care for it, how it should be installed, where it has been shown, the appropriate price, where it’s stored, and so on. How do you collect and store that information? How do you share it? For most artists, the ideal tool is an inventory. I specialize in creating inventories that work for artists, both as ongoing documentation of their careers, and as essential collections of data for others who wish to help manage that artwork. This includes those who might care for your work after you die, whether friends, family, loved ones, or hired professionals. Since 2006, I have been refining the inventory of my late husband’s 35-year career. I have created a system that answers the questions of tax attorneys, galleries, curators, appraisers, and the IRS. Because my system is so thorough, it will be useful for many years to scholars, journalists, family members, and anyone else who wishes to be part of the long afterlife of his life’s work. I have translated this product into templates that work with a popular Mac-based database system. (I also create or adapt solutions for Windows computers and tablets, and even have a non-computer solution for a few clients.) My system is easy to use (you can use only the parts you need — and continue to add to it for years) and intuitive, and it’s the most thorough of all the ones I’ve seen — including systems that...

What I love: Charles Simonds

Some of the most magical times in my childhood were provided by artists, and no artist had more captivating dominion over the streets of early-1970s NYC than Charles Simonds. From this video, you will hear that Simonds has his own idea that he was cultivating these properties and building his tiny houses for a population of “tiny people” who traveled around the city. His creations were meant to shelter these creatures, who were not so very different from us. His ethos, I believe, was to highlight the decrepit and encourage fallow land (like vacant lots, where he often put his buildings) to to be brought up to higher uses, like playgrounds or community gardens. For me, a child viewing the work, I didn’t care about his agenda; it was wonderful enough to have art that could open the eyes of us big people (and whew! Something that made me feel big!). My own personal belief? Aliens were living in those tiny buildings. (Some looked like Hopi structures, and is there any culture more alien than the Hopi?) In the video, Simonds’ narration states that the works are damaged not by natural elements, but by “greedy” people who want to take the works home with them (he’s also not happy about children playing with them. So I’m glad no one told me then!). I remember crying when my mother was firm: not even one single brick. I was an avid miniature-maker myself and wanted Simonds to be my mentor or brother, or to play by his side. I adored small, I made small: I dreamed often that I had a...

Holding on to “Stuff” (literally)

Book review: “Stuff: compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things,” by Randy Frost and Gail Steketee I borrowed a book about hoarding from the library but it was so wonderful, I didn’t want to return it. I thought my family were hoarders until I saw the show of the same name… my blood makes me a laughable amateur. I’m not comfortable with this part of my heritage and have been “working on it” for most of my adult life. (I love people more than things). At this point, I’m down to being a “recovering packrat” or perhaps even just a “stuff person.” And aren’t all artists a little abnormally woozy about things — fixated on “things,” able to find value (or potential activity) in nearly any object? In my case, I have too much stuff, but I’ve gotten rid of a remarkable amount. I like to think I have insight into my affections and only a few areas of weakness, outside of art. I comfort myself that I love to throw things out and I save pictures of, for example, the 18 boxes of books I sold cheap last year. I like to say I’m able to let things go. But don’t go near my collection of Victorian beads and lacework, the books I kept (including a complete run of Nest: A Magazine of Interiors), or the pile of items I’m saving to eBay. I still have a few dozen boxes of art supplies (which I somehow think “don’t count”). I like to think this all shows I’m pretty well suited to helping artists and other collectors appropriately value...