This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 18,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. Disclaimer: This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
It is not uncommon for people to assume that I embrace the 'anti-art dealer' mentality. I don't blame people for coming to that conclusion. After all, I've written several critical articles focusing on the negative side of the artist / art dealer relationship. Some of those articles have been extremely popular on various social networking sites. I know that for many readers, articles of that nature end up being an introduction to my writing. I want to stress that it was never my attention to project the idea that I'm against the profession. Am I critical of art dealers at times? Certainly. However, I've known some wonderful art dealers over the years -- I know that they are not all 'bad apples'. I will share some of my experiences in a future article. For now... I want to know YOUR experiences with 'good' art dealers. Tell me your story -- share your experience.
In addition to the above, feel free to offer advice on how YOU have established a solid artist / art dealer relationship. What mentality have you embraced when forming those connections? For example, do you stick to the 'business is business' grind OR do you view your art dealer on a more personal level -- as in, a friend? What kind of research did you do before approaching the 'good' art dealer -- OR after he or she approached you? As for the art dealer you have in mind when reading my words... tell us why he or she 'stuck out' compared to the others you've worked with.
I will say that I think attitude is everything when dealing with art dealers (or anyone else for that matter). If you approach an artist / art dealer business relationship with a 'bad attitude', as in assuming that he or she is a 'backstabber', the stage has been set for a potential breakdown of that business partnership from the get-go. It is difficult to go uphill with any relationship if you are constantly taking a step-back in order to look for that imagined knife.
This is what I want to stress -- if any of my articles have fueled fears that you have had about art dealers in general... take time to consider other viewpoints that I have presented concerning the topic. Should you be cautious when entering a business arrangement with an art dealer? Certainly. Read the fine print no matter what business venture you are pursuing. However, keep in mind that there is a difference between being cautious compared to being paranoid.
Professional paranoia can hamper any business -- that statement goes 10 fold for the business of art. In this business, the art business, reputation can easily precede you. You don't want to be the person art dealers loathe working with... while at the same time being the person they 'love' to share paranoid-filled gossip about. You never know what may be said when gallery doors are closed. Fair warning. Don't be 'that' artist.
In closing, I've said what I need to say... now tell me YOUR story involving a positive experience with a current (or former) art dealer. Feel free to name drop -- and by all means, offer a link to the gallery website. (Note: Feel free to ask others for advice if you have only had 'bad' experiences with art dealers in the past. Consider this an open debate about 'good' art dealers and their traits).
Take care, Stay true,