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, artnet, WorldNetDaily (WND) and Art Fag City. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 19,000+ 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.
I recently requested anonymous feedback from over a dozen gallery owners and artists concerning art gallery representation. Some of the details of that interaction may help artists who are researching art galleries with gallery representation in mind. I have stressed the importance of researching art galleries in the past. That said, I want to focus on specific factors that artists should take into consideration during their research. I plan for this to be an on-going FineArtViews series.
The factor to consider: Distance
Artists need to consider distance when researching art galleries. Physical distance can be a major burden for any business. Concerning the business of art... distance can be a pain for the art dealer as well as the artist. In fact, some art dealers refuse to work with artists based on distance alone. The sword swings both ways -- some artists refuse to be involved with long-distance situations.
The art dealer group agreed that long-distance artist / gallery relationships can be a headache for all involved. One gallery owner made it clear that she will only represent artists from her state. As she put it, "I like things to run smoothly. I don't want to have to worry about a no-show during an exhibit opening or a shipping delay that eats up time and money.". Another gallery owner stated that he decided to no longer represent long-distance artists after he realized that his other represented artists (all local) felt as if he was bending over backwards for the long-distance artist he once represented. Needless to say, a lot of problems can arise between Point A and Point B. Keep that in mind when seeking art gallery representation.
Most of the feedback from the artist group was negative concerning distance. One of the anonymous artists suggested the following, "Every gallery has a social environment. I can't speak for all galleries, but at our gallery the artists are really close. We help each other prepare for exhibits. We meet often to share ideas. We are like a second family. I can see how negative feelings might happen if the artist is unable to take part in that environment because of distance.". He added, "I like to know who I'm exhibiting with. I want to know that the artist takes the gallery as serious as I do.".
Another artist mentioned that it may be "risky" to establish a long-distance artist / art dealer relationship. He recalled showing up at his gallery unannounced only to discover that it had been closed for several months (even though the dealer had responded to his emails as if nothing was wrong). The local artists had pulled out – they did not bother to tell him. While venting he warned, "You have no clue if the gallery is doing their end of the business unless you are able to check frequently. I was at a disadvantage because I lived far away. I won't let that happen again.". He added, "I thought everything was business as usual. But there was NO business to speak of.". Gallery horror stories like this are rare... but it is something to consider if you have distance in mind.
This is what I want to stress: My intention is not to scare you off from pursuing long-distance gallery representation. That said, it is extremely important to consider the distance between you and the gallery that you are researching. Problems may arise as a result of the physical distance between you and the location of the art gallery. Consider the impact that distance may have. Keep that in mind... narrow your search if desired.
Take care, Stay true,