Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Exhibition Space

As Artists we need space to exhibit our work. Tempting offers come everyday through our email connections to the Art World promising you the best deal for your work. Most of these are never opened and I would take them with the same questioning of purpose as I do with those wondrous offers coming from South Africa.

Back in the Day when I was exhibiting with Galleries, I had an experience which I will share with you.

The Gallery an Internationally known name in the Art World had two of my bronze sculptures on Commission. The Contract which I had with them had the provision that I would be reimbursed the full retail price of the sculptures if they were damaged or stolen.
My work was on display during the Christmas Season, and I felt that the timing was right for my commitment to this Gallery.
The Day after Christmas I received a phone call from the Director of the Gallery and was told that my sculptures had been stolen. They were both Artist Proofs and were very valuable for that reason. To make a long story short, it took my attorney several hours of time, but ultimately when he sent a letter of pending legal action they paid off. Contracts Matter.       

Exhibiting your work is putting a light on your talent, your original visions and most of all your integrity as an Artist. The many hours spent, the framing, the travel are all expenses which when added up there is no way you that can combine these factors into a realistic pricing for the Gallery you wish to commit your works to. The best we can hope for is for a price structure that will be fair to the potential client, the gallery, and you as an Artist.

Putting aside your time, talent, and the originality of your work, perhaps the cost of producing your work is a better way to go when you are in the starting phases of your career. Even in the mid range sometimes negotiations are necessary to bring the sale to a close. Selling your work is an emotional experience. Especially if the work is a unique piece and there are no expectations of producing an edition.

When choosing a Gallery some things to consider should be:

  1. Does your work have a complimentary fit with what other art works being exhibited?
  2. How many works can you have exhibited?
  3. What kind of frames is expected on the Art Works?
  4. Is there a good potential of foot traffic in the area?
  5. Does the Gallery have a time frame of how long you can exhibit?
  6. How many other Artists does the Gallery have on the exhibition roster?
  7. What is the percentage that the Gallery will collect on the sale of your Work?
  8. Does the Gallery have insurance to cover your work in its entirety? (retail price)
  9. How many days does the Gallery take to payout your Commission?
  10. You should sign a contract, with the owner of the Gallery to protect your art.  Handshakes do no Work.
  11. Do you have an understanding in your contract that you retain all of your Artists Rights under the VARA act?
  1. What is the History of the Exhibition Space? How long has it been there?
  2. Does the Owner of the Exhibition Space want money to show your work?
    1. This usually does not work out for the Artist very well, but is great for the Owner of the Gallery Space.
  3. What kind of promotion does the Gallery offer? Are there openings on a regular basis? Do they have a legitimate web site? Do they protect your images on the Site with a water mark? Are the jpg images small enough that they cannot be reproduced and downloaded by the entire world? 
We Do need Spaces to show our Work, we do need the sharing experience of having our works “out there”, and we do need to make at least our expenses. Remember that your work is your truest self, and that self is not for the giving away. We should always be aware that our visions are unique and that the worth is not in the monetary reward and fame, but in the true quest of a having the home of your work a place where it will be protected, revered, and loved.