Sunday, November 25, 2007

Introducing igie

As I noted in a post after we returned from London, one of the most rewarding aspects of participating in art fairs, making friends with other dealers, and getting to exchange war stories with them is the realization that most of the problems I deal with in running the gallery are not uncommon, and there are indeed often solutions to them.

There are some really excellent efforts to provide this type of inter-peer communication among galleries in a professional context, including the ADAA, NADA and others, who offer seminars and other very valuable learning opportunities for their members. But it occurred to me in London, over cocktails, that a clearinghouse of the sorts of information shared at such events ... an ongoing record of questions and answers ... might be of interest to other/all gallerists as well.

It was with that goal in mind that I've set up igie (the International Gallery Information Exchange).

What is

It's an online portal of information about the day-to-day business of running a commercial gallery. It's slogan---"It's nothing personal. It's just business."---conveys the fact that
igie isn't about gossip or politics or even tough love. It's a professional site. Membership is open to any owner or director of a commercial art gallery (although I suspect contemporary galleries will benefit most from the site's focus). It's not open to anyone else I'm afraid (sorry about that, but it's important that member dealers feel free to share their experiences/questions openly).

What is igie not?

It's not a money-making scheme. Membership is entirely free. To request access, all you need to do is email a request for the user name and password to (Please email your request from an email address that is verifiable as that of the owner or director of a gallery...we will check. Also, note it may take up to 48 hours to receive a reply.) igie is also not an association to which membership conveys status. It's open to all owners and directors of any commercial art gallery.

What information will dealers find on igie?

Here are examples of the ongoing discussions and information-sharing efforts:

  • Application deadlines (and links) for upcoming international art fairs.
  • Links and membership information for national and international art dealer associations.
  • "Good Vendor | Bad Vendor" (raves or rants about shippers, printers, etc.).
  • Current gallery job listings (culled via a third-party widget, but admittedly mostly New York centric, not that that's surprising).
  • Blog discusssions that center on running a gallery and the art market in general.
  • A thread for requesting information, equipment loans, and other advice.
  • A section in which to suggest other categories of discussion you'd like to see.
Again, sorry for advertising a site here that has limited membership. Please understand: It's nothing personal. It's just business.

As both an experiment and a work in progress,
igie will no doubt get off to a slow start. I hope to announce soon a collaboration with a powerhouse of a database to offer even more up-to-the-minute information (stay tuned). To help learn what would be most useful in the site, however, I'm opening it up now and encourage other dealers to email for access and have a look around and suggest what it might become.

Labels: igie, International Gallery Information Exchange


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is anyone allowed to view the site? Tried a couple of versions of the name as a URL but came up empty.

11/25/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

actually the URL is password protected.

I'm not entirely sure it needs to be, but until I get a sense that it will work as intended (i.e., with dealers sharing freely), I think it's best to keep it that way.

11/25/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not open this to non commercial gallery directors?

11/25/2007 09:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are the nicest guy in the artworld. Thanks for Igie.

11/25/2007 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Hmm...Maybe the first topic of discussion at Igie should be this one, as applied to the artworld (thanks Jenny at Simpleposie for the link)

Cedric Caspesyan

(in other words: embrace a system, and the art becomes irrelevant, it just keeps talking about that same system over and over and over. Of course it's nothing personal, it's just bereft of any heart or imagination. Strictly business? Another symptom that things are becoming dangerously boring. What is it with new trend of dealers all becoming friends? I say: Let them jump at each others throat, like in the old days.)

11/26/2007 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Why not open this to non commercial gallery directors?

Good question. I guess I assumed that there were different challenges, but now that I think about it, most of the issues are the same.

I would hate to see a commercial vs. non-commercial divergence of opinions emerge through the threads, though. Again, igie is not a forum for political ideas.

Still, any non-commercial gallery director who wants to participate is welcome to request access.

Thanks to the folks who've already signed up by the way!

11/26/2007 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Still, any non-commercial gallery director who wants to participate is welcome to request access.

I should note though, that the focus will be on commercial gallery issues.

11/26/2007 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


I don't have time unfortunately to read through the "miscellanea of passages" from Bertalanffy's musings. So the following is not meant to dispute or endorse any of that (thanks for the link, though, I'll try to get to it later).

If you yourself think, however, that the amount of work it takes to run a business as unsure to turn any profit as an art gallery actually exhibits a lack of heart or imagination, I'm fairly sure that's only because you've never run one.

There's nothing about the way igie is set up that dictates how anyone should do's merely a clearinghouse for suggestions and links on how one might consider doing things. Seeing that as threat to art's relevancy strikes me as quite a stretch

11/26/2007 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger David said...

EW, thanks for letting us know about igie. I'm going to start a commercial gallery in my living room just so I can join. It will be between the couch and the Starbucks :)

11/26/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

A number of very successful/interesting NY and LA galleries were started in apartments, studios, living rooms etc. David. I wish you luck on your new venture. ;-)

Will you be exhibiting work other than your own?

11/26/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Will you be exhibiting work other than your own?

Not sure yet, but can I get a drink started for you?

11/26/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Sure...a JD Manhattan on the rocks...two cherries.

11/26/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creating interest for art and bringing new people to the art world is one of the hardest things to do. The competition is fierce and the dozens of art fairs are making it almost impossible. Festivalism is here to stay and unless we share admittance revenue with the artists very little is going to trickle down. This is a reality.

Creating a product for those you already know or those already inside the art world is a proven way and the solution to being lost in the crowds and live of it.

11/26/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

>>>Seeing that as threat to art's >>>relevancy strikes me as quite a >>>stretch

Allrite, I'm starting my own gallery. It's neither commercial
nor non-lucrative. It's called Art Fair.

There's no other way to reply to this than try and make a diff.


Cedric Caspesyan

11/26/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

unless we share admittance revenue with the artists very little is going to trickle down.

Interesting idea, but good luck with that.

Most fair organizers will tell you that the admittance revenue is but a drop in the bucket toward their costs.

Having said that, though, if artists really want to reap art fair admittance revenue, they might consider starting their own art fair. It could become the most important fair in the world if done right...just sayin'.

OR....what Cedric said. The only worthy response to any of this is to try and make a difference.

By the way, to be blunt about it, artists benefit from art fairs more than dealers do in the sense that it doesn't cost the artist anything extra to have their work exhibited in a fair than it does in a gallery (they get the same percentage off sales), but it costs a gallery a huge chunk of more change (and extra work/time) they wouldn't have to spend if they sold the work out of the gallery instead. Also, if the fair is a bust, the dealer is out the costs of the booth and shipping, etc. etc. but the artist isn't any worse off. Disappointed perhaps, but not out of money. Their art still exists to be sold at some other venue. The money spent on the booth and shipping is simply gone.

11/26/2007 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well, I like the movies;

I pay to see and then, maybe I buy or not the overpriced popcorn at the consession stand.

And now that we are at it, maybe I should get a cut as well from museums.

11/26/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

you've lost me.

are you an artist with work in museums?

are you arguing for or against the idea that artists might share in art fair admittance revenue?

I think there's an argument to be made for it at some level (at least it strikes me as an intriguing idea), but I'm not sure it's practical (imagine splitting it equally and then the disputes over whether the split should be per piece exhibited, artist status, price, whether the work sold or not, etc., etc. ... oy vey...).

11/26/2007 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

I'm so confused.

Part of me envy international gallerists who travel around the world to participate in art fairs, attend the edgiest biennials, touch some fresh grounds, see perhaps too much art that they're able to digest, but usually before anyone else, and be invited to supposedly "cool" VIP parties (go on, impress me).

Part of me think it would just be a total drag, lots of energy spent for little gains, constant sweating and muscle pains, ridiculous amounts of stress and stretched-painted clown smiles on the face, and that the real free man in the artworld would sound like the one able to say "no, I don't care about your grrrmmbl..goddam fair, and I'm not going. BeBye now, I'm off to my chalet".

Why isn't artnet working? Can't people just sell art by the telephone line? Then maybe have non-profit spaces show it once it is sold, at comfortable pace? (so we can still all pretend we're all about culture, especially artists..Right, Artist?...ahem..).

On a related topic, sometimes I wonder if all the positive journal reviews showing statistics about how contemporary art is selling more and more each year in fairs is really a sign that things are doing great culturally. Yes they are records in sales at Sotheby's ad Christie's but for what: ....baubles??

I keep getting the impression that art of today is being sold at his most expensive price and can only decrease, would it be simply because of the amount there is and that there is or will be too many artists to ensure all of them to get a durable success (notwithstanding the fake success of artists highly encouraged by institutions but not receiving equal approbation by the public).

Maybe I'm becoming less of an art fan. I've become way tougher to impress. I feel more and more like waiting that the system filters all the lesser, mundane stuff (mundane art, it really has come to this) and trust (more like crossfinger hope) that the institutions I respect the most (museums, biennials) for (usually) breaking grounds will present what so wowed everyone back in Basel or at your local Chelsea gallery.

But if the best art is now soooo good, and soooo great, that it needs be sold fast in auctions
at crazy prices, will all the people-in-powers-that-be making it sound like it will be hardly possible for the common mortal to see it some day, than we have a problem. Butr that is another impression that I'm getting recently that great art do NOT travel in institutions anymore, because they can't afford it, or because insurance and transportation cost are too high.
I keep being baffled by retrospective of artists that miss many important works or are limited in scale. It wasn't like this in the 80's.

Cultural sales are growing, but cutural access is decreasing. When was the last time you saw a Venice Biennial winning work exhibited in an american museum?


Cedric Caspesyan

(hey..I'm even waiting on some past Cannes Films festivals winners to show up. Like distributors make it impossible for the independant houses (only places likely to show the films), to rent them)

11/26/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

>>>And now that we are at it, >>>>maybe I should get a cut as >>>well from museums.

Films make business by rent (screening cinemas, than dvds, and some dvd sales too).

Artists...they sell works. They can't expect to both sell a work than expect money for people to see it.

People who bought the works, them they can expect a revenue, but that's the point I was making.
By making it difficult for everyone to attend or see art it is just very detrimental to culture.

Mecenat should be: the rich pay, the poor see.

It's not like big spenders aren't getting already many social advantages for buying art.

I think we get a little over-zealous about capitalism, trying to find every mean to get money
possible. This is not good. That can only lead to political turmoil and your private collection back to the country. Trust me, it happened to my family.

You don't want to create more social frustrations than they already are.

Cedric Caspesyan

11/26/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

HA! Excellent idea, Edward. Your generosity and ingenuity come shining through yet again. Good luck on the launch of this superb resource. I hope you'll keep us posted on how things go.

Also, Happy Holidays!

11/26/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Correction to the first of my two posts right above:

will all the people-in-powers-that-be...

should read

WITH all the people-in-powers-that-be...


11/26/2007 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous danielcooneyfineart said...


This is really wonderful. Great for you to provide this for us. I am sure it will benefit many many many who don't even realize it yet. Yeah Edward!!!

11/26/2007 08:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Hey I just realize that it's Edward himself that set up Igie?? ! Maybe I would have used less vehemence in my criticism had I read well. In my mind it was some large bureaucratic organization, like Adaa. Oh well, I'm a self-admitting troll here and everyone knows that I'm just a boulder of ressentiment for a lot concerning the current states of art and its market.

But the design looks a bit bureaucratic and drab, I must say. It's cold. Honest, my whole ramble above was all about looking at the site and thinking "oh no, not another art site about as bland as Adaa". Maybe ask one of your artist to design the site?

Nevertheless the site represents a strong position about art, and how it should be represented. Not everybody is set out to change the world, but it's important to assess these positions. There's more to art than business and it will actually be fresh when younger artists start rebelling against this idea (very hard when so many are merely looking to get butter on their bread).

The latest anti-market trend is temporal self-destructing art.
Drawings on the wall surfaces, stuff like that. Graffitti.
I mean.. It's there. And it's not so much about the idea that making money is bad than about ensuring that art keeps a certain power above the concept of luxury and ownership.

Cedric Caspesyan

11/27/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

But the design looks a bit bureaucratic and drab, I must say.

Yes, but that's intentional. I don't want galleries representing different aesthetics to feel that igie isn't for them, so the blandness of the design is meant to be forgettable.

11/27/2007 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

That's allright, this looks even more boring:



11/28/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

look interesting to me, Cedric.

Good luck!

11/28/2007 10:33:00 AM  

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