Monday, February 11, 2008

Why a Gallery?

I had the pleasure of speaking with a large group of BFA and MFA students in the gallery the other day. Bucking the trend I normally find when discussing the gallery-artist relationship with young artists, this group had a lot of very frank questions for me (I credit their instructor for insisting they come ready with them).

At a certain point in the discussion, the general question of how does one know which gallery is right for them came up. As I truly believe, I said that there are two criteria in determining this. First is to make sure you, as the artist, are ready to have your work seen in the context of a commercial gallery. (This is probably harder than it sounds, but until that's the case the second part won't be obvious.) Second is knowing your own market and limiting your search for a gallery (or the offers you entertain) to those galleries that are a good match. (With a bit of research, this is probably easier than it sounds.)

But in thinking about their response to my answer (and in preparation for a larger lecture I'm working toward titled "Watching Sausage Being Made: The Nitty Gritty on Artists, Galleries and Money"), it dawned on me that I might do well to step back even one more step and think through "why" should any given artist work with a gallery.

The obvious answer to this would seem to be that the artist wants to sell their work, but I find that many artists also have a wide range of other expectations from such a relationship (from simply having somewhere to present their work to the public every two years or so to the notion that once they have a gallery all the rest of their career up through their retrospective at MoMA or being chosen for the American Pavillion at Venice is just a matter of time). In fact, I think the expectations (especially for younger artists) are as individual as the artist and often related more to their ambitions than any discussion or realistic assessment with the gallery or other artists.

So I wanted to brainstorm a bit on what the reality is here in preparation for that lecture (yes, you're being conscripted to help with my research). Why do artists want a gallery? Off the cuff, I came up with the following 10 practical reasons an artist might want to work with a gallery:

1. Sales/Marketing
2. Prestige
3. Context
4. Career management (including forms/communications/interactions with other galleries, museums, etc.)
5. Networking/connections
6. Financial assistance
7. Dialog/sounding board/reality check
8. Privacy (a buffer between the studio and the public)
9. Regularly scheduled exhibitions / a platform
10. Archiving services

What I suspect, though, is that there is a wide range of expectations or beliefs not on that list. Am I right?

At the discussion with the students noted above, the question also came up as to whether an artist has to go the commercial gallery route to have success. Both the instructor and I listed artists we know and like who avoid the system and still do quite well. I went so far as to reiterate my belief that a commercial gallery is simply one in a list of options for exhibiting one's work and having that dialog with the public, which is what I assume is the number one objective of any artist's career.

But where are the holes in my thinking here. What am I missing from the artist's point of view? Is there a better understanding of the practical reasons for working with a gallery than I think there is? Or are many artists looking for representation projecting a whole load of unrealistic expectations onto such relationships? Why do you (if you do) want a gallery?

Labels: ,

75 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

I always thought sex would be high on the list! Also a gallery offers additional storage space when your studio over flows.

But most importantly offer a respectable exhibition space and promotion and in someway compliment the client list of the artist/galleries and work together to expand it.

2/11/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Molly Stevens said...

Ego, the image of success, ambition, visibility, momentum, support, acceptance (an embarrassing list).

I don't think I really know that there are gallery alternatives.

2/11/2008 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the issue of exhibition is listed as #9 on your list (and I didn't get the idea it was necessarily an ordered list) that would be #1 on my list of reasons to be involved with a gallery.

I've always felt it was important to the development of the artist and the art to be able to show a body of work as a whole, that in a sense it helps to complete (or bring about) a dialogue with the viewer/public.

I'm in a frustrating situation now where the gallery where I have representation and sell my work is a very nice, highly regarded place for art. It is where my name and art has started to become gain some notice, where I've begun to develop a network, sell, and have gained a bit of prestige. But, and for me this is a big one, the owner/director has drastically reduced her one-person or even two-person shows, presenting instead group shows. So I do not expect to have the opportunity to present a whole body of work in a solo exhibit. This does not seem as important to the director as it is to me. Yes, if I'm not happy with the gallery, I can move on, but this does not happen so easily.

Anyway, thank you Edward, for this discussion--and Molly, I'm with you on your list...only I don't feel so embarrassed. It's all part of the game, I think.

One question for you Edward, in your discussion with the students, did the alternatives to gallery representation come up, and if so, what kind of reception were they met with from the students?

Pam Farrell

2/11/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Nash said...

Great discussion topic, Ed.

From my perspective, I see a few reasons why artists would rush to work with a gallery (above the obvious things such as exhibition opportunities and promotion). For younger artists, there seems to be this idea that a gallery will handle all of those big scary unknown things about the art world. Getting started can be hard, and there is a lot to learn, and working with a gallery seems to offer a bit of safety net.

For more established artists I know, sometimes it's as simple as "keeping up with the neighbors." Talking to other artists at openings or parties, there is always that "who shows your work?" conversation, and I imagine that is a motivating factor for some.

For me, the larger issue is that there is a fundamental difference between what galleries do and what artists do, and it can be hard for an artist to succeed in such a complex business without some help and guidance.

2/11/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger wisesigh said...

Hi, Ed. I am new to reading your blog. Very interesting reading.

A good gallery relationship puts a person who loves your art actively in your corner ... hopefully it lets the artist spend less time away from the studio, helps establish reputation, and opens a channel to significant collections.

Alternative spaces are great places for projects and experimenting. Not everyone is great at organizing an exhibition, though, and drawing attention to the work. An ideal is a gallery with a project space.

-Dee

2/11/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

One question for you Edward, in your discussion with the students, did the alternatives to gallery representation come up, and if so, what kind of reception were they met with from the students?

Yes, we discussed the range from Cady Nolan's d-i-y example, to showing exclusively in univeristy and not-for-profit venues, to selling your own work on eBay. The students didn't have a strong reaction to these ideas, although I saw a few taking notes.

For younger artists, there seems to be this idea that a gallery will handle all of those big scary unknown things about the art world. Getting started can be hard, and there is a lot to learn, and working with a gallery seems to offer a bit of safety net.

This and your other statements ring entirely true for me, Matthew...thanks for sharing so succinctly and keenly.

The question, "Where do you show?" strikes me as akin to the "Why aren't you married?" question at family reunions or such. Artists avoiding the gallery system have a good answer, but those who are in between galleries or still looking for representation may resent the implication in the question that they should have a gallery (and rightly so).

If I'm not sure whether an artist is represented, I tend to phrase that question as "Do you have any exhibitions coming up"? Which can still cause an awkward moment if the answer is no, but generally there's something to say in response and it places the focus where I think it belongs: whether the artist is currently engaged in a dialog with the public or working toward that, and doesn't suggest any context is more important than any other.

2/11/2008 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous nathaniel said...

While this list represents what many of us artists may want on the business end, it leaves out what we crave overall, and what would lead to your list and so much more: an advocate who cares about what we do, what we make, and where it leads us (and our audience, including the gallery, by implication).

A business mind, an art appreciator and an art scholar all rolled into one, who just happens to love us, and I mean that in a very real way - the relationship should matter to them, because they know it will affect the output.

I've witnessed a few galleries who treat their artists with this kind of investment and respect, but am not so lucky as to have any of them represent me.

2/11/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I deliberately avoided commercial galleries for many years: I showed primarily in university galleries, non-profits, and small museums. I liked the fact that, in the proposals and the exhibitions, I could present bodies of work that I wanted to be seen together, mixing in older pieces that went well with the newer works (I only make a few large paintings a year). I often finish a painting and know it needs to be seen with one I did two years ago. Even though I am showing work in commercial galleries now, it is very difficult to have a piece leave the studio and go right to the gallery or an art fair: if it sells, I may never have the opportunity to exhibit it in the "optimum" context.

If you make large, involved works, it is hard to ask collectors to part with large sums of money sans the validation and hand-holding of a gallery. Also, curators are much more likely to see your work in a gallery or art fair context and, for me, that is one of the primary motivations for having a gallery. (I would be interested in knowing what successful artists have avoided the gallery system: all the artists I know either have galleries, or want to have galleries.)

Also, if you are lucky enough to have a gallery who is focused on helping you to build your career rather than just selling what they have on the walls, then, while you are working in the studio, someone else is working on your behalf outside the studio, and that is efficient.

2/11/2008 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous sharon said...

My current project is to employ a DIY method independent of a gallery, and I'm actively working towards marketing myself since I currently don't have gallery representation. I'm interested in the idea of artists working together to do this-- after all,
competition is high and selling yourself to the gallery of your dreams without much of a resume is a hard climb up. For me, making the art itself is a personal journey; getting it out there is an act of pure business and nothing else.

Why not view galleries as a supplement to help market your work, reach a broader audience, and find a clientele to buy the work that would have otherwise never heard of you?

I want the same thing from myself as from a gallery-- to work hard at the business of art, reach out to people, network, and sell the work.

While I'm far too restless to wait for the day a gallery picks me up, there's no reason why we couldn't work in tandem when they do.

2/11/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Nash said...

Ed
I completely agree. I don't really think that artists need to succumb to the peer pressure if they don't want to, but it certainly is there. I think that artists who have a strategy and coherent explanation for not working with galleries withstand the pressure just fine, but that requires a conscious decision and some soul-searching that can be hard. "Having a gallery" is such a part of the artist-persona these days (with the market booming the way it is) that I sometimes wonder if there are many artists who even get to the point where they wonder whether they need a gallery or not. It can be such a knee-jerk reaction: I'm having some success, time to find a gallery.

I think your writing, and the way you present your gallery and the role you want to play, opens a really healthy conversation about the relationship of artists to galleries.

2/11/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Noddy Turnell said...

having a gallery would mean someone gets me (my work) it's easy to say nice things but agreeing to represent the work is putting your money where your mouth is. "I get it and i think others will too so lets work together"

2/11/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Without a gallery, sometimes I feel as if I am a trained chef without a restaurant. Of course I could always start a cooking show :)

Obviously i am able to be an artist without a gallery, but, with one, it would be less lonely, less of a one-way conversation. But I wonder if the alternatives to a commercial gallery are there anymore. How many not-for-profits have survived past the Reagan years? Also, i think it is much more difficult to get a museum show without gallery rep.

2/11/2008 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I'm with Noddy. As far as I'm concerned, it's virtually worthless to have someone say they like your work if they're not going to put themselves on the line for it.

To me, art is all about communication. Having a gallery represent me would allow me to communicate with more people. The chance to actually sell work would give me more time to devote to creating more work and thus communicate with more people.

And, of course, being represented would let me know that my work is "good enough." I doubt that any amount of temporal success would convince me that my work is truly good, but knowing it's "good enough" would be nice. Most people crave some acceptance, don't they?

2/11/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Pam Farrell brings up an interesting issue: What happens when the gallery you work with changes direction?

If you want to show regularly—and, ideally, support yourself through the sale of your art—I would suggest that creating a network of galleries is essential. (This happens over time, of course.) While each gallery does all the things on Ed’s list, the reality is that sometimes one gallery will sell better than another, or another will be better connected for reviews, or another for corporate sales, or another in terms of administrative organization.

This dynamic changes over time. It’s an organic process. You might find suddenly that the big sales are being generated by a different gallery, while your visibility has jumped at another via art fairs. (Or, as Pam points out, the gallery’s program or approach has evolved in a way that's not right for you anymore.) The network works if you are honest with your dealers. And I suspect it removes a little pressure from them if they haven’t made a big sale for you in a while, or if they need to take someone else to an art fair this time around. Plus, in addition to having regular solo shows, you get to be in frequent groups shows with the dealers who have a market for your work.

For me it’s like having an uber dealer, one who does it all, all the time. This is harder if you have a New York dealer who wants to be the center of your network—because then the model becomes a hub with spokes, rather than a more egalitarian network—but there are many New York artists with a network, so I suspect the model is working for them as well.

Ed, as a dealer how do you feel about the “network” versus the “hub?”

2/11/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

A lot of artists, coming out of the de-skilled (meaning inadequate) facilities erected in the period after the GI bill but before the ubiquitous use of computing technology, possibly at magnet schools, found the beaches of manhattan or even brooklyn, somewhat daunting.

Even Becky Smith of Bellweather Gallery, gathering her pedigreed children of Yale, gods children, with 100,000 dollar degrees, who swam single handedly across the East river to surprise the Hessians and Hugeonauts on tenth avenue, who ten years later has the worried look of a shop girl in the concrete jungle, has never left a real mark.

Where is the evil smirk of a Mary Boone? The smug thug look of a Larry Gagosian? If I were a gallerist, I would adopt the kabuki mask of a killer, no doubt.

No its no cakewalk being a gallerist, who, when the music is over, might still have an empty chair.

To get signed as a band, all you really need is a 2,000 member strong mailing list, and a guaranteed draw at any venue you play at (friends who are drinkers are friends of the industry). To get signed as an artist, discounting the horribler and demeaning aberration of the casting couch mentality, all you need is a genuine sense that your work came out of some necessity, either inner or in a social context, but never ever ever for money.

But what necessity? Students, attending to classes in art history, substitute fossilized notions of historicity, utopianism and activism into their bloodstream, displacing any authentic "avant guard" (itself an illusion) voice with academic exercises in identity politics or institutional critique. As has always been so.

And what of the artist, who, denied a visa, still pines for a Grammy or ten? Will they be content to sell their tchotchkies on e-bay to anonymous bidders with barns and sheds and more sheds full of collectibles that will never see the light of day?

And if the only idea being discussed at a party is that of the idea of having a gallery, is it not mete that the art at such parties will turn to leaves, sticks and shit when it hits the cold hard light of reality?

Who will be remembered? The history books will not be read. The writers will not be invited to speak. When the leaders turn from the spectacle they will find the crowds have vanished, leaving only a sad detritus of scattered irrelevant artifacts - the terminal moraine of art.

So sayeth I.

2/11/2008 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Ed, as a dealer how do you feel about the “network” versus the “hub?”

Like most things, this boils down to money. What you call the "hub" model is actually called the "primary gallery" and "secondary galleries" model by most dealers I know. The notion is that one gallery serves the role of primary gallery (and provides the primary services, as well) to an artist, but in return collects commissions from the artist's secondary galleries. Most of my dealer friends feel strongly about this (those in New York feel strongly it's good...those outside New York fell strongly that it's mostly bad...unless they're a primary gallery)>

Our model is different. We act as the primary gallery only until another gallery gives one of our artists a solo exhibition. From the second show with that artist onward, we act as dual primary galleries. I don't always get that deal in return, though, so I am rethinking it. Here's why:

Even though I think the network is a superior model, I'm in the minority on that, and that costs me. What strikes me as superior about it is what you note: galleries all working together to advance an artist, playing to their respective strengths.

Why that doesn't work out so neat and clean for the galleries, though, is that one gallery who's good at getting press but not sales is in essence subsidizing the gallery getting all the sales (i.e., the cost of their show that got press isn't coming back to them but is assumed to be benefiting the gallery good at sales). This leads the gallery getting only press to consider dropping the artist (or hiring better sales people) or try to become the primary gallery (so they at least get commissions).

A more attractive network model would need to figure out someway to share the profits if indeed the situation were that segmented. A gallery good at getting press but not sales won't stay in business.

and it gets even more circular from there...which is why it's not all figured out yet.

This is actually a good topic for my international gallery site. Thanks.

2/11/2008 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger wisesigh said...

It's such a learning curve, especially starting out.

I had a new gallery be positive and excited in person about representing my work only to hand me a contract that called for exclusive representation in one geographical local (fine), but also called for the payment of “half of the commission of all sales” anywhere of work that I made during the two year contract term (?), plus they could terminate at will, and I could not. It wasn’t a straight gallery arrangement: in their business model, they were also providing studio space at a subsidized rent and (undefined) promotional support. Still, didn’t seem right. But after reading Ed’s description of primary and secondary galleries, perhaps this is more normal that I thought.

2/11/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks for your reasoned response, Ed.

Here's another issue in the "Primary" versus "secondary" galleries. Given the ubiquity of gallery websites and, especially, the number of art fairs in which a regional gallery can achieve national, even international, visibility, what makes the "Primary" gallery so "primary?"

I'm not being naive; I realize New York is center of the universe. But....factor in the idea that a regional gallery may have more space for less rent--which frees it to do bigger shows, more fairs, even take out bigger ads, it may end up with a very high profile as well as a substantial client base. That hardly makes it
"regional" in the old sense of the word. Or even "secondary."

Just thinking out loud.

2/11/2008 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

validation.

respect.

to get critical notice. how often do you see reviews of art or exhibitions that are not being shown in a commercial gallery?

2/11/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

what makes the "Primary" gallery so "primary?"

Well, first, I'm not sure most galleries would agree with your assessment of the difference between New York and other cities...not just yet anyways...the sense is that New York still gets more traffic, more traffic of an important nature, more exposure via press that is seen nationally and internationally, certainly more reviews in Artforum, etc., and for some strange reason, often, all else being equal, even more sales to certain clients (who like acquiring in New York).

This all might be a hold over from another less disputable era, and will likely evolve (LA is gaining respect and power, and Artforum does cover spaces outside New York more and more all the time), but it explains why many New York galleries will insist on primary gallery status.

It's up to the non-New York galleries and/or artists to change that...there's not much in the way of motivation for New York galleries to change at the moment.

2/11/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment has more to do with issues of quantity rather than quality. There are very few commercial galleries in NYC (and the world) that command respect from the press and the curators, both national and international. There are so many working, struggling artists who dream about having gallery representation and being able to live entirely off of their creative output. In the current model of the art world, the supply of artists who crave representation far outnumbers the number of viable commercial galleries that can take these artists on. So unless the entire model radically changes, most artists will continue to maintain day jobs in order to survive and make art in complete anonymity, or they will give up in despair and frustration. Of course giving up, or acknowledging that art making will never be more than a hobby, might come as a relief to some.

2/11/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Joanne's model has worked well for me also, diversity rules, in every business. Of course no one way is perfect, unless your a white hottie and the press will deliver the litho plates to you in bed in the morning, the gallery will pick up and frame everything and pick up the dry cleaning-I miss those days....

But in lew of the day job, which I highly respect, who's not working after all? If you can spread the work around to a few cities, web sales, commissions (can you paint that red one again?) and prior clients making Valentine purchases, a living can be made.

2/11/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are genuinely nice sentiments Mark but I still stand by my previous comments

(anon 02:01:00 PM)

2/11/2008 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Personally I don't see the relationship I need represented by any current gallery model, I would say half of your top ten would be useful, those being.
1 4 5 6 7
not that it never existed, I think and may be wrong but in such a market driven environment, seems a greater emphasis on commodity, over execution, which doesn't bode well for what I do.

I have been putting feelers out about the possibility of a D.I.Y.
approach, and am curious if anyone has had any success with this, because personally I am not able to make the connections necessary, most likely due to inadequate smoozing skills. I am always having people telling me I should do this, or do that, and when I ask them if they do it, or if they know how, they always say no, which leaves me believing most artists lack the business skills needed to make a go of it alone, and few are capable of balancing these two diametrically opposed skill sets.

which leads to Ed's question.

What am I missing from the artist's point of view? Is there a better understanding of the practical reasons for working with a gallery than I think there is?

first the complement:

Since I've been following your blog you have discussed the gallery artist relationship several times and I continue to read because you seem to honestly express the position of what a gallery theoretically could be from a dealers perspective, you seem to want to be fair to artists and want to act in their best interests.

But...

Since I've been following your blog you have discussed the gallery artist relationship several times, and as a dealer it is understandable you are a bit biased to the dealer side of the relationship, but a few points you make consistently I find contradictory, especially when you state an artist should act as a business, then justify the gallery side by saying it provides business guidance, it would be like an artist expecting a gallery to make their art. more bluntly if artist were business folk, why would they need a gallery, or they wouldn't be artist at all.

I want to address an excerpt from your above comment

Our model is different. We act as the primary gallery only until another gallery gives one of our artists a solo exhibition. From the second show with that artist onward, we act as dual primary galleries. I don't always get that deal in return, though, so I am rethinking it.

To me it would be a shame for you to change you way of doing business which you seem to do in good conscience, because other galleries do it in a way that is unconscionable, it's like joining in to an atrocity, and rationalizing your participation by saying "I did it because everyone else was doing it."

There are a few others similar instances I noticed, but don't want to list them for expediency, but hope I laid out a stream of logic that can be used for self appraisal on all sides.

But the reason I am pointing this out is There will inevitably be some type of paradigm shift to the art market in the next few years, and when a discourse starts about how artist are treated, if you are speaking on behalf of artist best interest then you will find artist will join in with you, and eventually things will work out in a mutually beneficially way.

2/11/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

As with interior design, its best to buy in bulk, preferably leather bound with titles by brand names like Proust, Dickens, Bronte, Twain, Beckett, Kafka, Kant, Brecht, Albee and the like - it sets the tone and hides the HDTV.

2/11/2008 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

it's like joining in to an atrocity,

That's overstating the case.

2/11/2008 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Anonymous,

I hear you. It's not easy.
But the words you've used in your 2:01 comment are "dream," "despair," "frustration" and "hobby." The words Mark has used are "business" and "a living can be made." Do you see a difference in attitude here? I'm not saying we're all going to be on the art world short list, but there is an entrepreneurial spark that often makes the difference between "hobby" and "living."

2/11/2008 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Dog
Man Group
Der Reiter
Yves Klein
Chip
Red Yellow and
Period
Blood
Whale
Fin
Sky
Eyes
Robbins Egg
Light Special
China
Cobalt
Black and
Sing the
Cheese

2/11/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can accept your criticisms of my use of language Joanne Mattera but I think the main points I made still hold up.

"If you can spread the work around to a few cities, web sales, commissions (can you paint that red one again?) and prior clients making Valentine purchases, a living can be made."

When Mark says that you should spread your work around to a few cities I assume he means that those artists who manage to sell their stuff fairly consistently, through galleries that meet specific niche markets, and do online sales along with it, they can get by. Okay, obviously there are galleries that serve niche markets in every city, ones that get no press but are respected by the specific clientele they serve, and manage to do a steady enough stream of business to survive. Usually this art fills office spaces but this is neither here nor there. But I really wonder how an artist, one with no trust fund, second career, spouse to support them, etc., someone who is truly financial independent and trying to live on their art alone, could manage to get by in the scenario Mark describes. What about medical benefits, the rising cost of rent and utilities (I am assuming that a mortgage would out of the question), creature comforts, expensive but questionably necessary appliances, entertainment costs, etc.? There is only so much Ramen noodles, beans, exorbitant rents, being at the mercy of the landlords, and frustration with a career that does not blossom into something bigger and better, that one person can take. And please don’t tell me that I am being a pessimist. I know and have known plenty of people who have or are struggling with becoming a full-time artist for a living.

2/11/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous carol es said...

This is a great discussion, Ed. Personally it gives me a lot of food for thought about expectations and personal responsibility.

I consider relationships with galleries like going into a marriage, granted it's like a polygamist marriage. Each gallery you work with has to be okay with the others, and each should give an artist a different platform to work from. Perhaps one gallery gives the prestige to the artist while another gives artistic challenges and growth. I think it's good to balance out the conservative representation type of set up, with the latter. You have to weight out what benefits your career and your work, and how your presence in that can benefit the gallery. It's a dual strategic endeavor working with a gallery, IMO. The artist should be as creative in this strategy and he/she expects their gallery to be.

I see the more important aspects of the relationship going on in the time between your annual solo shows. There is marketing, and sharing resources, planning outside shows, and getting into collections. A good gallery will be participating in these things, as will the artist (not just by way of art-making), and together you create further opportunities as a team. Within this interaction, there is the great anonymity and privacy for the artist working behind the scenes so to speak. And since there are other artists in the roster, you can't expect full time assistance, especially depending on where you are on their totem pole. There are limits of course, and the artist needs to pick up the slack in many areas, but the gallery will also perform a professionalism for the artist during key moments when the artist can't cope. It's a 2 way street for sure.

That's all my thought for now. Great Topic.

2/11/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Artists should have several persona's so if one doesn't work out they could work on another without negative impact on their brand. I think one artist who reinvented herself really well was Madonna. And she branched out unsuccessfully into gallery fine art, blurring the boundaries between art, fashion and music. One might also do well to remember that despite Radio Head's behind the curve graphic design and concepting, their decision to sell their album on the internet met with great success because their brand was strong. Branding is important, I guess is what I am saying. What do galleries do to help artists with their brand? Why don't collectors take a page out of the Fake Book and pimp out their artists more?

I hate it when I see an artist who could be the next big thing stuck in a gallery or collection like Altoids or Colgate that has no vision relevance or real audience.

2/11/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

I think the key word for 'why' is ACCESS.

2/11/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

Ed, as a parallel, what are the 10 motivating factors/reasons in becoming a gallerist? I think alot of people would like to hear that as well. What is the gallerist hoping to achieve personally?

at least I am...

2/11/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous David2 said...

Highlowbetween I think that's a great point. I'm ashamed to admit that has never even crossed my mind; to really inquire about a gallerists motivations. Nice thought.

10 motivating factors of a collector would be something all of us would have a vested interest in. Ed you likely have more contact with collectors than us lowly commenters. Thoughts?

2/11/2008 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Do you think it is destructive for an artist to be aware of themselves as a brand? Or should all artists incorporate branding into their art making praxis? How does branding affect an artist?

many collectors, like many wealthy people, eschew brands with labels. WHat can an artist do to protect their brand while still maintaining brand and ownership within their niche market?

2/11/2008 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

brand equity

2/11/2008 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger dabejar said...

ed, thank you for all these back stage passes to the gallerist/artist relationship.

This may be a romantic conception of the gallery/artist relationship, but does anyone think or believe that a gallery would take on an artists work because they believed in it (for arts sake), without any monetary motives, or does it all come back to dolla dolla billz. I think Nathanial touched on this, and it seems to be a rarity in this day.
Is the gallery model the wrong outlet for an artist who doesn't put #6 at the top of their list of reasons to work with a gallery?

Daniel

2/11/2008 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

it's like joining in to an atrocity,

That's overstating the case.


As well as bad grammar, I was rushing out the door didn't proof read.

Maybe closer to participation in a misdemeanor accompanied to a felony.

If I were a gallerist, I would adopt the kabuki mask of a killer, no doubt.

Zip.. Be my agent!

2/11/2008 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Number One reason to become a gallerist: You were rejected as an artist and now you want to reject artists yourself to show you really are better than they are.

Number One reason to become a collector: You were rejected as an artist and now have more money than sense, so you want to reject artists to show you really are better than they are.

Number One reason to become an artist: You like rejection.

2/11/2008 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

Chris you're not being objective.
You left out the Number One reason to be a Critic:

You were rejected as an artist, now you want to reject artists yourself, have no sense or money, need to convince artists you are better than they are.

2/11/2008 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

You got me.

2/11/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Joseph the sense of disillusionment and bitterness are handed out to everybody in equal portions.

2/11/2008 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Pocket Utopia said...

As an artist now running a "gallery", I this is very ture, although you poise the question...Many artists looking for representation are projecting a whole load of unrealistic expectations onto such relationships.

2/11/2008 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

But how much art historical understanding should a gallerist have? From an artists perspective wouldn't you want a gallerist to have an encyclopedic comprehension of the lineage of art history from Lascaux to the present day so as to be able to authoritatively contextualize the artist within the continuum? To aid their election to cannonical status?

But if that is the case then what if the gallerist or artist both believed that history is cyclical and that moments are created by timing alone and not the individual? Might not the gallerist and artist be something of a style surfer? A sort of team player with or without a larger agenda?

Is it advantageous for an artist to be "drafted" for such a game without a long term or binding social contract?

Could an artist be allowed to be in on the game, and thus blur the boundaries between gallerist and artist? Producer and consumer?

If an artist owns a gallery, or if a collective runs a gallery, or a collector or collective owns a large media concern or if a gallery pays for the publication of a magazine through full page glossy advertisements, or if a museum purchases its art mostly from gallery's or if no one looks outside "the system," well is that ok?

What is the system for?

If an artist fails to sell despite the best instincts of all involved, what would be the error in changing tac entirely, gutting the enterprise, changing spaces, names and styles to suit the new - so long as the underlying themes remain intact?

Can style be separated from content?

Can good critical analysis be made without two gold coins pressed to the eye sockets of the viewer?

2/11/2008 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I think the ideal gallerist has to believe in the artist as someone who makes art that fascinates them. It sounds easy, but many gallerists use other rationale is selecting artists.
If this first point is established, then it's a good start. Then make sure the gallerist has his/her nuts and bolts down: 1) Money is dealt with on time and accurately. 2) All work is photographed properly and proper records are created for all of your work. 3) All gallery visitors or inquiries are met with the most basic of civility.
If your dealer can meet these requirements, then you are fine. The rest if fluff. Your work will rise (or sink) on its own merit after that, maybe not immediately, but eventually. If you get really big, you might have to start working with a gallery that can work with your enormous prices, but that is a problem that most of us don't have to deal with for a very long time.
I can only really apply this reasoning to New York City, but I'm sure the standards are similar to galleries in other cities.

2/11/2008 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous J@simpleposie said...

Zipthwung, your questions and comments are consistently most excellent.

2/12/2008 08:06:00 AM  
Anonymous STyle SUrfer said...

regarding the gallerist's motives for taking on an artist, etc etc: generally speaking, the best salesmen are either those who passionately believe in their product, or else have convinced themselves that they do.

2/12/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's really interesting to me that this thread has flipped from being about why an artist wants a gallery to speculation on why a person would be a dealer and what they should or shouldn't do.

I understand there is interest in understanding the mindset, but it has led to one commenter suggesting that "the ideal gallerist has to believe in the artist as someone who makes art that fascinates them" while in the same comment noting "If you get really big, you might have to start working with a gallery that can work with your enormous prices, but that is a problem that most of us don't have to deal with for a very long time."

Which I have to tell you will read to any gallerist as: this artist expects to receive (and will condescend to work with a smaller gallery until his/her prices soar) but not stick around long enough to give in return.

2/12/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

If a gallerist were loyal to me, I'd be loyal to them. Until the end.

I like what I gleaned from a couple of books on Picasso: He and his dealer worked together to build his reputation and career. They were a team. That, really, is what I'd like in a dealer: That we're a team dedicated to success (however we'd define that) together.

2/12/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger kalm james said...

I hate to pop yous guys bubble, but most of this is a fantasy. With the rare exception of people like Leo Castelli, the artist dealer relationship is at best tentative. Ultimately an artist, all artists, must relay on themselves. Dealers are in business, they are not social workers. They are tied to the fashions and trends of the market. Dealers change, get sick, lose interest, become Scientologists.

Unless you are a recognized artist with a solid clientele, (selling at least $100,000 per year, year in year out) you’re basically a leaf in the wind. Get your hands on the Artists Directory and look at the number of galleries that the average listed artist has worked with. More than three shows with any particular gallery is rare.

The list of ten “services” Ed mentioned, if carried, out would bankrupt all but the top ten percent of galleries. Wait till your former clients come back with work you sold them ten years ago and want you to flip it at three hundred percent profit.

The truth you should have told those students is: in ten years half of them wouldn’t making art, in twenty years three quarters would drop out, and in thirty years only one in ten would still be clinging to the hope of trying to make it as an artist.

Still I encourage every one to stick with it, art can be magic.

2/12/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

remind me to not call you if someone's out on a ledge thinking of jumping James.

Leo, great as he was, had financial security and being a dealer of that ilk was a luxury he could afford. Not that other dealers shouldn't aspire to that model, but so long as we're dispelling fantasies....

Dealers are in business, they are not social workers. They are tied to the fashions and trends of the market. Dealers change, get sick, lose interest, become Scientologists.

I would expect you to recognize at least a few folks who don't fit that model, James. Ask me next time I see you if you can't think of any. (Think Annie H. for starters.)

The list of ten “services” Ed mentioned, if carried, out would bankrupt all but the top ten percent of galleries.

Maybe financial assistance would, but to some degree the other 9 are rather standard, depending on your interpretation of what they mean.

The truth you should have told those students is: in ten years half of them wouldn’t making art, in twenty years three quarters would drop out, and in thirty years only one in ten would still be clinging to the hope of trying to make it as an artist.

Only if I had a crystal ball and knew for which of them that future lay in wait. Otherwise, I might be discouraging the few who will change art history.

Ultimately an artist, all artists, must relay on themselves.

Entirely true. For everyone...not just artists. But I'm not sure how that precludes collaborating with a dealer you trust.

2/12/2008 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great discussion!

I'd be interesting in hearing people's thoughts on what Edward suggests is the first, and more difficult part of the decision:

"First is to make sure you, as the artist, are ready to have your work seen in the context of a commercial gallery. (This is probably harder than it sounds, but until that's the case the second part won't be obvious.)"

It seems like the artist's expectations, (realistic or not), play heavily into that bit too.

SW

2/12/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger self taught artist said...

I enjoyed this post Edward. As an emerging self taught artist who isn't young and have been represented for two of the three years I have been an artist, I am finding it incredibly difficult to branch out of my quaint state of Vermont.
I don't necessarily want to be in galleries, especially after getting a taste of the ease and joy in selling directly online, but due to the nature of my work I understand that I will need to get it out there where people can really see it and absorb it.
so what does one do? I've had word of mouth from a prosperous artist to her gallery friend on Newbury St. all for naught..doesn't matter I offered letters of recommendations from the gallery I am and clients; doesn't matter I have had substantial art collectors purchase my work...I can't get IN.
I've tried contacting galleries in MA, NY, CT via online and get form letters back. I can't afford to drive all over the world first checking out galleries and getting to know people.
Honestly, my art is all I own and I have poured all my time/money and self towards creating it...it is important to me that wherever it is shown or whoever represents it/me is responsible, knowledgable and real.
I've had experiences where people showing my work break it, drop it, sell it for less, hold onto it longer than I want and basically go through bouts of submission that I feel helpless against. They are the pimp. I am the art whore. That sucks. How I rememdy this is yet to unfold. I gave up two months ago and took a menial job until I can figure this out.
I'm questioning everything about art, why bother, why do it. What to do next etc.

2/12/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'm questioning everything about art, why bother, why do it.

There are only two appropriate answers to that question IMHO: because you have to or because you want to. Because you have to is obviously the more compelling of the two (for the artist and the public).

2/12/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger kalm james said...

Ed,
Thanks for the reply,

remind me to not call you if someone's out on a ledge thinking of jumping James.

The art world is as close to Bizarro World as we have. Actually that (suicide) is one sure-fire way to increase the value and visibility of an artists work.

Regarding Leo, he did have some financial security, but rumors have it he owed a lot to his big 5 artists.

Also I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work with dealers, lots of dealers, just don’t freak-out if they change course, dump you, or go away.

For those artists “who will change art history” they might be discouraged (aren’t we all from time to time) but they’ll keep on working, not because the want to, or because they can make a good living, but because they have no choice.

As for dealers who stick by artists through thick and thin, it does happen, sometimes not because of the work but other reasons (love, hate, codependency, masochism). Like I said, welcome to Bizarro World.

2/12/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as there are artists who don't have to make their living solely on their art (because of a working spouse, family money, investments after making money in some other career, etc.), there are dealers who aren't completely reliant on art sales to stay in business. Historically there have been many dealers (like Castelli) who, due to their personal financial situations could afford long periods with a negative cash flow. Many had family money or married into money, worked out of family-owned apartments, etc. There are also dealers who have a few big cash cow artists that basically subsidize the exhibition of emerging, untested or non-commercial artists. Younger, newer dealers like Ed are in a different position from some of these older, long-established dealers, so of course have different business models. I've been lucky in that I've been one of these subsidized artists at a couple of very established galleries, but it also has its downsides: you're low on the totem pole and don't get the time and attention (and career management and all that other stuff on Ed's list) that goes to the artists who are paying the gallery's mortgage. But realistically, I've never really considered the lack of those things as a detriment because I think very, very few artists actually get those from their galleries. Most of those fantasies that young artists have about gallery representation and how it's going to change your life are just that: fantasies. I agree with most of James Kalm's first paragraph. (But, I'm curious - who became a Scientologist?)

Oriane

2/12/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as there are artists who don't have to make their living solely on their art (because of a working spouse, family money, investments after making money in some other career, etc.), there are dealers who aren't completely reliant on art sales to stay in business. Historically there have been many dealers (like Castelli) who, due to their personal financial situations could afford long periods with a negative cash flow. Many had family money or married into money, worked out of family-owned apartments, etc. There are also dealers who have a few big cash cow artists that basically subsidize the exhibition of emerging, untested or non-commercial artists. Younger, newer dealers like Ed are in a different position from some of these older, long-established dealers, so of course have different business models. I've been lucky in that I've been one of these subsidized artists at a couple of very established galleries, but it also has its downsides: you're low on the totem pole and don't get the time and attention (and career management and all that other stuff on Ed's list) that goes to the artists who are paying the gallery's mortgage. But realistically, I've never really considered the lack of those things as a detriment because I think very, very few artists actually get those from their galleries. Most of those fantasies that young artists have about gallery representation and how it's going to change your life are just that: fantasies. I agree with most of James Kalm's first paragraph. (But, I'm curious - who became a Scientologist?)

Oriane

2/12/2008 01:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

as an emerging you have to understand, galleries are businesses, have rent to pay, promotional costs, etc. I think Ed's point (below) is correct.

First is to make sure you, as the artist, are ready to have your work seen in the context of a commercial gallery. (This is probably harder than it sounds, but until that's the case the second part won't be obvious.)

If they see something in your work that they can market then that would be ideal, but I don't think an artist should go in with the mindset of "I need to sell" because at that point I tend to believe artwork becomes ___work. Shouldn't an artist have an individual voice before a megaphone(style, brand), because without the voice your're just a tool(megaphone).

Back to my point, I think if a gallery heard a particular voice and could see a way to market it, good job...ideally a relationship would blossom to further nurture the voice as well as the relationship for both parties involved.

realistic???

Daniel

2/12/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the double posting. Internet slowness today.

Oriane

ps did the title of Ed's post remind anyone else of the Marx Bros routine, "viaduct"?

2/12/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed:

Great discussion topic. Long-time listener, first-time caller, etc.

I'm sort of "emerging" now and just starting to dip my toe into the gallery hunt here in New York, a process I've delayed due to fear.

My work has been online for a few years; recently there's been a blog-splosion, with my URL making the rounds worldwide. Out of this has come a number of requests for pricing, none of which has panned out. (The site has no pricing and is just a way of getting my work "out there.") I concede that a gallery is really where my work needs to be.

My question is this: Would knowing about the breadth of the online exposure discourage or encourage a potential dealer? Does selling online or promoting oneself too heavily threaten a gallery and taint the artist (as a "vanity gallery" might)? Or is it just viewed as ambition and good business sense?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

2/12/2008 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Would knowing about the breadth of the online exposure discourage or encourage a potential dealer? Does selling online or promoting oneself too heavily threaten a gallery and taint the artist (as a "vanity gallery" might)? Or is it just viewed as ambition and good business sense?

I don't see it as discouraging. We work with a range of artists, from those whose first solo exhibition was with us to those who were exhibiting long before we opened. You pick up the dialog from where you entered and hopefully add to it significantly as a gallery. I think you want to be open with potential galleries about the extent of your self-promotion efforts so they can make the most of them in your behalf (i.e., they may have your collectors contact them about buying back your work at the gallery prices and it's good for them to know what they originally sold for). More information is better all the way around, IMO.

2/12/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed says:
(i.e., they may have your collectors contact them about buying back your work at the gallery prices and it's good for them to know what they originally sold for).

This confuses me. Do galleries regularly buy back work from collectors?

anono

2/12/2008 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

"Shouldn't an artist have an individual voice before a megaphone(style, brand), because without the voice your're just a tool(megaphone)."

I love spectacle as much or probably more than you do. I think many well known artists are proud of their status as mere "megaphones" - redundant though that amplified voice may be, no two snowflakes are created equal (for those who wonder why they should by all means make art in a world full of lookalikes).

One might argue that all an Artist is is a medium, as opposed to someone who acts THROUGH a medium.

The reality is the distance between an "A lister" and a wannabe can be as little as 36.7 light years or as much as it takes to smoke a joint. lying in bed. With some one you "love." On film. For theatrical release. Near you.

Can I buy it back? What if they wont sell?

2/12/2008 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I didn't think of the Why a Duck routine, Oriane, which is odd, because I just saw it again recently on YouTube. "Why no-a chicken?"

2/12/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn zip.

You're vibrating on a whole 'nother level today.

2/13/2008 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

This confuses me. Do galleries regularly buy back work from collectors?


Yes. In fact galleries prefer to have collectors sell work back to the gallery rather than take the work to auction. I've discussed that before...but will consider another thread on it.

2/13/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous nathaniel said...

re: primary galleries

Ed, this is an interesting distinction. I'm trying to clarify in my head what kinds of relationships I have with the galleries I currently work with, vs what I want / could have elsewhere.

Right now, I work with two small galleries in two non-U.S. countries (and not in big cities), which invest in me through publishing work or catalogues, and occasional solo or group shows; they do not go to fairs or appeal to international audiences, and - this is one main reason I'm left yearning for more - each seems to be interested only in one very specific medium within my range of work (prints).

My question is, would having these kinds of relationships with other galleries work for or against me if and when I wanted to try to meet with potential 'primary' galleries in the big art cities? How would you view this kind of thing? And as part of that, would it be seen as disloyal in any way, and how would I rectify such a stance?

Thanks.

2/13/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Bill said...

This is a great post and it's generated an informative and opinion-laden dialogue. Thanks Ed.

Reading through everything I've found several people I really agree with (Joanne Mattera, Carol es, Daniel) to name three. I've just finished re-reading the back and forth between Ed and James - and ...

In my experiences (as an artist) with gallery owners, they're in this business for the same kinds of reasons that I'm an artist.

I respect anyone (artist or gallery owner) who follows the call, and puts themselves (and their finances) into making a living at what they "have to do". As we all know, it is no easy undertaking.

Do owners want to have a respected gallery, make a good living, be successful? Of course. But not every gallery attains that (or a positive cash flow) any more than an artist attains fame and/or fortune. In fact, failure is always there - as it is for any small business. The difference is (IMO), for most owners, "the gallery" is their labor of love, and it includes their relationship to the artists they represent, and all the ups and downs that come with it.

2/13/2008 11:42:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Wow. seconding the Zipthwung Emotion.

2/13/2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger kalm james said...

The gallery buy back situation is dubious, and varies from dealer to dealer. With the market flush, like it is right now, sure people think things are always going to be secure price-wise. A close friend, a very successful German artist, told me that this practice is what helped sink the market in the early nineties. Galleries could afford to repurchase a couple of pieces but when they got more requests they couldn’t keep their artists market afloat single handedly, dozens of galleries went down the tube. Those that didn’t had to change their policies.

The following is a true story, only the names and places have been changed to save Ed from liability suits:

As a hot young artist I was acquainted with a lady who had graduated from the Columbia curators program. She married a much younger artist friend (a painter) so we were close. She went to work for a pretty good gallery in Soho as director.

One evening while visiting at their summer retreat in the Catskills a small group of other artist and I started asking her what she looked for in an artist she would think about picking up. Her response was: someone with out support, someone who’s alone with out advisers, someone who made it on their own etc. etc. After listening to her list, I sat back and thought about it. This all sounded somehow familiar. Then it dawned on me. I’d heard these same types of conditions mentioned as what we were supposed to induce in enemy detainees during a class on interrogation techniques in the Army.

2/13/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Touchy aren't we Ed? ;)
I was trying to actually explain that there is virtually no reason to leave a gallery that believes in you until you get into John Currin/Jeff Koons range or money (which is usually artificially inflated anyway and only for a select few artists.) I'm talking crazy money... so it's not worth thinking about!

2/13/2008 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous carol es said...

It's great to have a gallery who believes in you, but you also need them to push your work i.e., showing it in the "back room" during other shows, taking it to fairs, alerting the press in time (that's up to 4 months for some mags) before your shows, consult with you on pricing, sending your work out to collections to consider, writing press releases for your accolades, know what to say about your work and how to say it, be very familiar with your path & body of work, and blah blah blah, on and on, ramble ramble ramble. And yes, Annon # zillion and one, if a gallery is working for you on a good % of the above, it would be unwise to leave unless there is another gallery that will do all that and more. I don't necessarily think you have to wait for "crazy money" because you'd be waiting your whole life (most likely until you die, and then some) while passing up perfectly good opportunities for your career. Of course, being with a gallery, like partnering up with a spouse, is about building trust and loyalty because you both DESIRE to, not because you HAVE to - because your spouse "believed" in you at some point. Just my .02. Still, a great discussion. Artists are coming out of the woodwork for this one. (like me!)

2/14/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

What an interesting question, especially since I just got the notice of your lecture at SUNY and plan to attend.

I come to sculpture from furniture design, where I looked to more exotic clients to commission extreme pieces. I'm represented in over 75 churches, chapels, and synagogues with cutting edge furniture.

I am transitioning to a more direct form of sculpture and applying for public art competitions. I've done some low budget sculpture festivals and received good notice, so I have high hopes of landing something, if I can find the time to fill out enough applications. So far, it's easier than finding a gallery that suits my style.

2/15/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some this is putting the cart before the horse. How about HOW do artists get IN...?

2/17/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting discussion. You're describing what is for me a completely foreign world, like another planet. In my town, the idea of a gallery actually helping with our careers, archiving, networking, etc. is laughable. They might do some marketing for an exhibit (or they might not, depending who you're working with), but that tends to be about it.

I'm in Florida, where our galleries are low-key affairs selling tropical, beachy stuff, out on the barrier islands west of town. In town, we have one gallery of long standing, a non-profit which has survived because it is run by volunteers. I have work there but that gallery doesn't even keep contact information for the people who buy my work. None of the galleries do. This makes it sound like I'm in some sleepy village of five thousand people, but no -- this is one of the largest towns on our Gulf Coast.

Artists who survive here seem to do so primarily by buying a booth and entering outdoor art fairs. That way they get seen by a much wider segment of the population than would ever walk into a gallery. I know one very, very successful photographer who went this route to establish himself; now the galleries and museums come to him. It was grueling work, though, and required a huge investment of time, money, and energy.

The outdoor art fair is one thing I've not seen addressed by anyone within the gallery system, and I'd be interested to hear your take on it, especially since it seems to be one of the most prevalent ways for artists to make a living without a gallery.

Thanks,

Tracie (anonymous because I have no Google ID).

2/17/2008 03:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home