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Artist Experiences Art Gallery Rudeness

by Clint Watson on 6/29/2007 10:27:35 AM

Hi Clint,

In regards to that person who got a rude "uppity" reception from a gallery:  I live 25 miles from Sedona, AZ a very snobbish community of rich and sometimes famous residents.  As I know walking in with a painting under my arm is uncool, I looked up several art galleries and called in an attempt to make an appointment.  Every one of them suggested I e-mail the images.  OK so I did that and a couple of days later I followed up with a phone call.  I was told that we 1. don't have room on the walls  or 2. we are not adding any new artists, or 3 the work doesn't match our gallery.  So I drove over there, and browsed through the galleries.  Out of 6 galleries, only one woman nodded as I glanced her way.  The other people working in the galleries didn't even look my way when I entered.  I did go up to one of them and asked who I would talk to regarding showing my artwork and was handed a form to fill out with my name phone number etc, and very coldly she said we will call you.  Again I called in a few days and they acted like they didn't know anything about it.  So I have given up trying to get into one of the ritzy art galleries in Sedona. 

VJ


Dear VJ,

It never ceases to amaze us.  We think you did everything right in this instance.  Remember, we are in a strange industry.  Artists look to galleries as the "experts" in marketing and business, but in many cases those who run galleries are experts in neither...after all, there is no "certification" one has to pass to open a gallery, anyone who is brave or foolish enough can do it.   Keep searching though, because once you find a gallery that "gets it" they are worth their weight in gold. . .

 

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Topics: Art Business | Art Commentary | Gallery/Artist Relationship 

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 4 Comments

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Esther Jobrack
via web
Oh my goodness what an indication of how the gallery industry there is at best only half the job.

Just for kicks I found out there is a Sedona Gallery Association. Because you seem to live in the area, maybe sharing your experience directly with them would stimulate a long term change. Just a thought. Thanks for sharing what happened to you. I will be prepared to be polite myself when faced with this kind of obstacle.

Joe Pearce
via web
I emailed a New York gallery a few weeks ago that seemed to be well suited to my art. The administrative assitant who replied to my email suggested I send images to the gallery manager. I did. I just received a "not opened/deleted" email back from him. He didn't even bother to read my email or look at the images!

The ironic thing is that the smugness of galleries are motivating artists to do more on line marketing. Because of that, galleries will put themselves out of business.

Hang in there and remember that galleries hated Vincent Van gogh's art!

Brenden Jemison
via faso.com
I live in Taos NM and am in a small gallery here. I would like to be in a gallery in Santa Fe but have encountered years of rude and or dismissive behavior from the "professionals" working at the galleries. If they notice paint on your clothes instead of a fancy watch on your wrist they are almost always dismissive. I have never wandered in with a painting or even asked who to speak with because they immediately tell you sales are bad and they have too many artist already. I get where they're coming from to a degree, being busy trying to hustle what they already carry. But if what you are selling isn't selling then maybe you need to at least look at something new.

Des Rolph
via faso.com
In my early days seeking gallery representation, I once was able to make an appointment with a few galleries to show my portfolio. I had different reponses.
1. I arrived on time for my appointment, and the owner on the other side of the counter, flipped through like he didn't have the time and looked at my images upside down! Told me he didn't particularly like them. I was then in less than 2 minutes.
2. Another gallery spent 10 minutes with me, with my portfolio in front of him. He received a phone call and flipped through my images whilst talking on the phone. Told me he did like my watercolours but not my canvases, but saw some promise and wanted to see me again in 2 years.
3. Another gallery I approached differently for an appoinment. I said that I valued his gallery and wondered if he had time to critique my work and give me some advice. This man was wonderful, he agreed, and gave me 2 hours of his time, having a good look at my paintings, walking me through his stockroom, pulling out books on art history and used them as an example to tell me what he liked about some paintings and where something was lacking in others. It was a wonderful appointment. I did not ask to for him to consider me as part of his stable as he represented artists much more advanced than me. He told me to come back in a few months so he could see the progress in my work, and again gave me a lot of time and encouragement. His support was so generous and kind, and he continued to take an interest over the next year or so and then he retired. But what a valuable experience.
4. My first big break came when I approached a gallery for an appointment who was so excited to hear from me. She said she had recently had clients come into her gallery asking her if she knew where I could be found as a gallery I was previously in had closed and said how much they liked my work. So I was received with open arms and the relationship is still on-going now about 5 years, and I now sell well out of that gallery. So referrals are certainly the best, even though I didn't ask for this one!










 

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