Most people associate the word “franchise” with, oh say, Taco Bell, less so with fine art. That was until Ryan McGinness came along and said, hey, I have a brand. I make stuff then sell it. Why be local when you can go global? Perhaps you won’t find Ryan McGinness Studios popping up along freeway exits, however, one franchise did open up in a gallery in Madrid, a fully functioning McGinness art studio replicated down to the last detail. Of course you can’t have a proper franchise without a thorough go-to manual or Studio Manual as it’s titled, now in its second edition, for sale at The Standard Shop, and covering everything––ev-ver-y-thing––you need to set up your very own Ryan McGinness Studio.
The manual, which is part brand book, part HR manual, outlines everything from the “brandscape,” to the art process, to cleaning (always dust with the grain) to phone etiquette, “staff must act with a tone and comportment commensurate with RMS,” to staffing protocol, “the aspirations of wide-eyed art-world youngsters can often be exploited for free or cheap labor. These human resources should be tapped as needed.”
The Standards and Ryan go way back -- collaborations, installations, parties, nudie cards, etc. -- so we got an especially hardy chuckle reading this satirical jab at corporate speak and policy. But the thing is, the manual is executed with such intense earnestness it left us wondering where the joke ends and the literal truth begins––funny ‘cause it’s true, on a whole other level. Any aspiring entrepreneur could do worse than to follow the manual’s Positioning Study Matrix or how-to’s at the water cooler, “A reasonable amount of intra-studio small talk is encouraged .... Banter should not include gossip about coworkers or otherwise create factions or rifts.” Oh that tongue is in the cheek, but it’s true! Then again, Ryan has a knack for being simultaneously irreverent and serious (or as he says in one of the seven Ryan McGinness paradoxes, “playful, but reflective.”) Indeed, the whole book is a transposition of sorts, a Ryan McGinness painting in the form of a book, but of course it’s not a book. It’s a manual to his fastidiously playful mind.