Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Guide to Art Dealers, Art Galleries - and Vanity Galleries

Back in April I launched a new website now called Art Business Info. for Artists

Since then I've been steadily updating the content, including some that is new rather than transferred from old sites.    You can access this easily from the home page - see image below.

This post is about three new aspects to the site
  • a new blog for news about the art business
  • a new page about art dealers and art galleries
  • a new pages about alternative offline options for exhibiting art

The aim is that all three will develop and improve over time.

Content pages on Art Business Info. for Artists
access the section by clicking the red button
access the page by clicking the topic title

The Art Business Info: News Blog

Last week I added a news blog - called Art Business Info. News

In future, this will:
  • routinely announce contents updates in future unless it's a significant new section.  
  • add alerts to art business articles worth reading on other sites - much as I do on Facebook Page.

In the column on the right hand side you can find:
  • ways to subscribe to the blog via email or a freedreader
  • links to other art business blogs in the side column

A Guide to Art Dealers and Galleries

The first new section is A Guide to Art Dealers and Galleries. It covers:
  • Key facts about Representation 
  • How the The Art Gallery and The Art Dealer operate 
  • Advice about Art Galleries from Art Advisers and Gallery owners 
  • An Art Gallery Glossary covering words used in contracts and gallery agreements 
  • How selling art in a gallery and commission work - including the legal agreements 
  • How to get and keep a gallery 
  • How to move on and end a relationship with a gallery 

Alternative Options for Exhibitions - Vanity Galleries, Pop-Ups etc.

The second NEW PAGE published yesterday is about Alternative Exhibition Options.

The art market has changed in recent years and artists now have more options to choose from in terms of how they take their art to market offline.

However emerging artists and those with little experience need to avoid being targeted by the scams which undoubtedly exist within the art economy.

One of these is the vanity gallery (as distinct from the properly run art co-operative or renting space in pop-up spaces or proper commercial galleries that have gaps in their calendar of exhibitions from time to time)

This page covers:
  • Vanity Galleries - and why they are to be avoided 
  • Pop-Up Spaces - an artist rents a space and holds an exhibition 
  • Rent space at a reputable Commercial Gallery - and why that can work for artists with a strong following 
  • Art Fairs - an artist rents a booth on an ad hoc basis after passing quality assessment 
  • Art Market - an artist rents a booth on a regular basis; tends to require a long term commitment. 
  • why all artists need to do "due diligence" before they pay money to other people so they can exhibit their art 
It also includes a Comparison: Vanity Gallery vs Artists' Co-operative vs Rental Space - see below

Vanity Gallery
- Rent a wall
Artists' Co-Operative
Rental Space
- pay to exhibit
Typically owns the space and pays the bills
Typical a co-operative has no owner
The member artists are responsible for the gallery
Owner may own or rent the gallery;
Pays the bills;
Commercial galleries / art fairs may have track record as a place to sell art (but beware of 'start-ups')
Business Model
Income derived from artists paying fees to exhibit their work
Often seen as a deception / scam as galleries can masquerade as proper art galleries.
Marketing targets inexperienced artists.
Aim to promote
  • co-op member artists 
  • their artwork and 
Plus sell art on a non-profit basis (i.e. cover costs)
The artist rents a space to market, exhibit and sell work in a commercial gallery, pop-up space or art fair
Eligibility is wallet-oriented

Assessment of art is usually very superficial
Admission to the co-op is usually juried 

Co-ops tend behave like galleries and look for artists with good quality art and a track record of sales
Commercial galleries and art fairs typically do a quality assessment of an artist's work.
No guarantee of acceptance.
(Not applicable to pop-up spaces.)
Cost to the Artist
Rental of wall space - this can be exorbitant;
May also pay commission at a lower rate than a conventional gallery;
Could include hidden charges
Often a combination of
membership subscription  time spent doing exhibition stewarding / processing sales.
No commission costs.
Best return if exhibition generates good sales.
No commission costs.
Risk to the Artist
Vanity galleries on a CV are considered to be a demerit by other art galleries
Relatively low cost way of getting art exhibited

Especially if you can trade time for membership fees - and paint while you man the gallery
Maximum effort cost and risk if no sales.

Gross sales have to fund all expenses of rental and marketing.

I'll be adding more content to the Art Market/Fair and due diligence sections in the near future - but thought people like to see the section on Vanity Galleries now.

What do you most want to know about?

I've got a lot more content to transfer to the new website - however I can choose the priority for including new content

If lots of you want to know about a topic which is currently absent I can do my best to include it sooner rather than later.

Please let me know in a comment on this post what you'd most like to know about

Art Business Info for Artists - content can be accessed via drop down menus on navigation line


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