Man Bartlett

Old Tumblr

"$," A Document.

(view the document here)

So in keeping with my thoughts from yesterday about finances, I’ve decided to follow through on a tweet from last night and make my finances public. 

Thank you to everyone who sent me private messages relating your stories. They were helpful and inspiring.

Displaying actual bank account information in this manner is pretty taboo in the art world. Or in the world at large, for that matter. At least as far as I know. So much of what we do is built upon an impression. I want to dissolve that impression and present a more complete picture of myself. I want to stress again (and again) that this information is being presented purely as data. I am not seeking sympathy, (future) envy, or any other “-y.” I am posting as a way to begin to understand what alternatives might exist for me. I will not publish names of collectors or who the credits are coming from, just amounts and general descriptions. 

If this leads to what amounts to career suicide, so be it. I would rather be transparent than build a career on false impressions. Even if those false impressions might be serving what I want to believe is a “greater good.”

When I did something similar last year someone close to me, of an older generation, sent me an email saying that it was TMI. That it was like sharing your sex life with strangers. That people didn’t need or want to know that stuff. Well if that’s true, then here it is, my cumshot. And ironically, despite this being a publicly viewable document, the action is being taken for personal reasons. I want you to know that I am the same person on the outside that I am on the inside. I don’t want to “hide” anything except that which is revealed through my art. I want you to see this as much as I want to know it for myself. This clarity of conscience is the only way I’ll be able to sleep at night.

Over the years there have been plenty of examples of similar exercises. One that comes to my mind immediately was a show I saw at Mixed Greens, last year, I think, where the artist had drawn copies of all his/her receipts and bills, and presented them on a table (do any of you remember what show I’m talking about? I couldn’t find it on their site).

Another loosely related example could be Dan Grahams 1965 ad “Figurative:”

(image via)

A more recent (and whimsical) reference point is Kate Bingaman Burt’s ongoing “Daily Purchase Drawings:”

(image via)

I’m also reminded of Tehching Hsieh’s one year performances: 

(image via)

Though I won’t commit to a time frame, I am approaching this task in a similar manner, and will update the document as often as possible. Ideally daily for the foreseeable future. 

I should note that the figure listed as the “balance” is the combination of my personal and business accounts. I currently have no credit card debt (though that might change in the next few days). 

Lastly, I’m repeating this again, the information being presented in the document is being presented as DATA.

I look forward to seeing where this all goes…  

UPDATE: View the Google Doc here.

UPDATE 2: I’ve also been tracking my purchases/deposits with the Twitter account @OccupyMan

Man Bartlettows