Deal with art galleries
Today we will deal with art galleries and the importance of their management at a time when many of them are disappearing due to the crisis and the transformation that the art market is undergoing.
Likewise, the artist who uses new technologies is less dependent on traditional marketing channels and increasingly promotes his or her work outside the gallery circuit.
Thanks to the Internet, as an artist, you currently enjoy a huge showcase like never before for the dissemination and exhibition of your work.
The works of art travel digitally from one continent to another, living among themselves diverse options of artistic expression that favors the exchange of ideas and projects.
This new global projection that you have within your reach allows you to manage and promote your work without intermediaries (“Intermediaries: How do they act in the art market?”), because you access the virtual market directly.
You become a producer and an art dealer at the same time, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails.
You can directly manage the work you show in an online market without borders, but you lack the infrastructure that an art gallery offers you to achieve recognition, marketing and projection of your work.
The galleries have their detractors, but they are indispensable pieces to regulate the art market and for the artist to be able to channel through them the diffusion of his work.
More and more, you have the means and tools to directly manage all the stages through which your work has to pass until it reaches the final public, but it is the gallery that guarantees the credibility of your real quotation in front of a complex market with a wide and varied offer.
The art gallery is the physical space that summons and brings together the agents that intervene in the various stages through which artistic production has to pass until it is immersed in the supply and demand of collecting.
The art critic comes to the gallery and has to translate the work exhibited on an aesthetic and conceptual level. For the collector, the figure of the gallery owner is a guarantee because he or she receives information, investment guidance and a guarantee of purchase.
As an artist, a relationship with the gallery is good for you because it means visibility for your work and stability within the art market.
You can be self-sufficient in some aspects and know how to manage yourself within the online world, but, at present, it is still the gallery world that gives you credibility with the collector, appropriate infrastructure to show your work, promotion at a national and international level, representation at fairs and similar events, as well as economic support and professional support.
Relations between the gallery and the artist
The artists’ experience with galleries is very varied and has not always been satisfactory (“Beware of pseudo-galleries! The artist always loses out”).
As in any other working relationship, there must be a principle of formality and compliance with the conditions that have been agreed upon and which must be governed by both parties. If these obligations are respected, it is in your interest as an artist to have one or more galleries to work with.
The galleries that work within the primary art market are the intermediary agents that have a closer relationship with the artists they represent or whose work they exhibit. The percentage that the gallery reserves on the sale is around 50%.
With this commission (which normally seems excessive for the author) the gallery must cover the expenses of exhibition and representation.
The distribution of the profit is not equitable from the artist’s point of view, because the artist can occupy up to two years of work to be able to celebrate an exhibition and he takes the same percentage as the gallery that inaugurates several exhibitions during the course, in intervals of one or two months.
Art galleries as a business
The art gallery has a cultural function, but it must be managed as a business.
The gallery owner must know how to combine both concepts (culture and business) to make the company viable.
A great majority of professionals start their activity from an artistic rather than a commercial perspective and this means that many initiatives fail in the first years of activity.
The relationship with the artist, as the sustenance of the gallery, is fundamental and will mark its exhibition seal, because for the gallery owner his passion for art and direct contact with the work of creators is one of the reasons that professionally inspires his vocation.
The exhibitions are free and open access, thus providing a relevant cultural activity from which the whole society benefits.
As far as the art market is concerned, the personality of the gallery owner and his or her professionalism is a guarantee of the work exhibited and the artists it represents.
At the head of leading galleries there is usually a professional with an entrepreneurial capacity, with intuition to bet on new values and an excellent public relations.
These qualities are necessary for both the artists he represents and the collectors in his client portfolio to trust his work.
To be a gallery owner is more than a profession, because only with enthusiasm and capacity of risk can be assumed. There is no specific regulated training, although in recent years specialized courses and masters are proliferating.