I received a comment on one of my works the other day, saying how ‘brave’ I am to ‘deface’ my work with my name and date details I put on it. I was a bit taken aback, as it’s a habit I’ve been practising for years, way back to my child-hood, and probably stemming from my habit of journaling. My reply was tongue-in-cheek that I didn’t think ANY piece of art was so important that it couldn’t be ‘defaced’ by some writing, there’s nothing that’s been done that can’t be done again!
Then a couple of weeks ago I came upon this article at ArtBizBlog and I’ve never thought of it as such, but dating your work actually does make sense…
“Dating your artwork is critical if you’re interested in high-end galleries and museums. Curators are trained as art HISTORIANS. Strangely enough, historians like dates! They’re obsessive about dates!
Curators delve into the minutiae of an artist’s career. They build time-lines and think about where a specific work came in the artist’s oeuvre and what that means.
If you’d like to see a retrospective of your art some day, you’ll date your work (with the year of completion) and keep track of it in an inventory. In other words, don’t just date the physical object, but keep a record of it as well. If you inventory your artwork as it’s created, you’ll also have a record of the months and days. The latter isn’t as important, but it could end up being a bit of interesting data if you’re quite prolific. And if you feel like putting the exact date (February 11, 2009 or 2/11/09) on the work, that’s fine as well.
The date might not seem that important to you right now, but why risk it? Plan for the future and the big dreams.
Picasso said, “I never do a painting like a work of art. It is always a search. I am always seeking and there is a logical connection throughout that search. This is why I number them. I number and date them. May be one day someone will thank me for it.”
What’s your view on this?