Artists were invited to read rejection letters from a grant application, residency or exhibition submission at Building Backbones on Friday, December 3, from 3-4pm at Ed Winkleman’s space at Seven, as part of William Powhida and Jennifer Dalton’s #Rank Miami. The letters were projected and we them aloud as a group in unison.

Rejection is a big player in the artist practice more than most professional fields. Even my most successful MFA teachers still have to deal with rejection. Success includes rejection. This event will help artists build backbones for rejection through shared experience.

Blog Mentions

The Art Reserve
"Following the success of #Class, #Rank Miami will explore the problems with art fairs and the art market. Taking place during this year’s Miami art fairs, Powhida and Dalton will host three days of “non-gala events, non-curated performances, and non-hierarchical discussions on the topic of the class structures of the art world, with a super-special focus on the art fair experience.” Proposals for topics and performances were solicited and some of the planned events include Building Backbones by Diedre Krieger, which invites artists to read rejection letters from grant applications, residency, or exhibition submissions and Platea’s Sorry I Couldn’t Be There, a crowd-created video series that will highlight concerns about geographic access and who’s left out during large art fairs."

Self-Help TV
"As we first started reading the rejection letters aloud as a group, it was a bit depressing. Then it became funny. Some of the rejection letters were blatantly offensive or even cruel. A couple of letters actually suggested that the artists take a year off from making any art at all. In the end, it was like a 12-step meeting or support group. We all had been rejected repeatedly and sometimes gruesomely and yet we're all still going. Plus, none of us has slashed our wrists, as one rejection letter advised against. Ouch!"

3. Laura Isaac

"After Maritza and I had taken in all we possibly could, we headed back to Wynwood and #Rank just in time for Diedra Krieger’s “Building Backbones” in which artists were invited to bring rejection letters and we would all read them aloud together. As we all read through letter after disappointing (sometimes cruel) letter in unison some things popped out. Every single letter, and thinking back on my own pile of rejection letters, those too, had two things in common. First, every single one assumed you may just end your art career as a result of their rejection. Why not just wish us luck in our ongoing art career and leave it at that? It’s the ex-boyfriend that tells you, “You’ll find love again, don’t give up because of me.” Get over yourself, man. Second, they all have to brag/complain about just how hard their job is. I know that in some respects this is meant to make us feel better. But if not handled carefully just comes across like, “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” Of course rejection letters are never fun and aren’t enjoyable for the recipient or the sender, but it truly seem that as short, to the point, and as non-patronizing as you can make it, the better."