Thoughts from my studio about artwork; new pieces as well as those things that have have remained hidden in my flat file...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gallery/Artist Relations

Lenny, over at DC Art News posted something that struck a chord with me. He posted an excerpt of a comment by Gallery Owner Carrie Horejs (scroll all the way down to see it, and this is an excerpt of a comment she posted on another blog called Art News Blog, this blogging thing may be getting out of hand, I can't keep up with all of the links):

"I often wonder how other galleries are dealing with artists who have gallery representation but continue to self-promote. I have been known to secret shop gallery represented artists. I contact them through their emails on their personal websites and inquire as to whether they have any studio pieces available. Not once has an artist directed me to his or her galleries for purchases.

I fear galleries will dry up if they don’t smarten up. Then where will collectors go to see art in person?”

Below is the comment I posted on Lenny's blog:

"She has good point, but I have a few questions about her perspective.
I checked out the gallery website, and it is a "membership gallery" - where the more you pay per month, the more you get to show. That doesn't seem to indicate that it is traditional commercial gallery representation, and yes you have to be accepted, but it does seem to be more of a vanity gallery. Why would the "rules" of traditional gallery representation apply to them if its a pay to show situation? As an artist, it seems strange to "pay" for exclusive gallery representation.
My first question is what does their artist contract look like? Does it state that once you join, that all work sold from any venue must include their commission?(It does look like that from their website) That does not seem like a good deal and far from the norm of most exhibition contracts.
In addition, they have over 100 artists on their site, so really how much effort are they putting forth to promote each artist, other than putting them on their website or hanging a piece of artwork in the corner of a jam packed gallery? That's not real promotion. Artists work incredibly hard to publicize their own work. In the bulk of the places I have shown, I brought in the crowds, They are my connections and patrons that have been following my work for quite some time. I have looked around the gallery and realized that 95% of the people there were people I emailed, sent postcards to , etc. These are the people who buy my work. Now I don't undercut or by-pass the gallery that is showing my work, I want to sell it there. (my experience has mostly been with non-profits and art centers). Most Artists would love to have gallery representation with a Gallery that actually did all of that promotion, I would.
I can understand why she is ticked off and no doubt in a "traditional" gallery representation setting that kind of behavior is just wrong and undermines the artist/gallery relationship, but really, given the structure of her gallery, if someone actually found the person's work in another venue that has nothing to do with her gallery, would the artist be so far off base(once again, I would like to see the contract)? I would never undermine a gallery owner if I had traditional representation, or created a bunch of work for a show at a venue but then sell the work behind their back, I would of course direct them to the gallery, it only makes sense. Any thoughts? "

Now, after that, let me say that GRACE has done a great job promoting my show, including setting up the interview with Elan, and of course, if any body out there is interested in my work, please head over to GRACE, the show opens on April 25!

1 comment:

Lenny said...

Super excellent points!