March 14, 2012
Looking for a Gallery?
Over the winter I have had several conversations with a some of my artists about how to approach galleries when searching for gallery representation. It has been said that galleries do not respond when contacted by artists and therefore make the artist feel like a second class citizen whose work is perhaps not worthy of a reply. In most cases this is far from the truth. Galleries are inundated with work to review. There are too few of us to represent all the artists looking to show and sell. Add the recent downturn in the economy which has closed many businesses, and the result is not easy for either artist or gallery. Though we try to look at all work that is sent to us and are happy to do so, we are guilty of not always responding in a timely fashion. As a result of these winter chats, here are some ideas for those in search of placing their work in new venues.
I am speaking personally but I am sure that many dealers, like myself, are wedded to their computers. That means that email is the best way to get my attention. It is a lot easier for me to click on someone's website and/or view several images included in an email than it is to have to refer to CDs and letters that pile up on my desk where they probably will remain piled for years. CDs are okay but better for later use than initial contact with a gallery. It takes just a few seconds to view an image and know whether it is of interest or not. That quick second could make or break a future show.
If I like what I see in the initial email, I will move on to bio, resume, and artist's statement. If I really like what I see, I will ask for a studio visit. Having said all of this it is a good idea for artists to have their work easily available on line. Websites are the best but there are alternatives such as facebook, flickr and other internet sites. It is most important that Google can find you.
When searching for a gallery, try to match your work with the gallery you are approaching. There is little point in presenting a dealer in realism with abstract art. Do not necessarily feel you have to stay close to home. The more important part of the equation is to find galleries that love your work and can sell it. This does not mean you should not solicit nearby galleries, it simply means don’t be afraid of distance.
If you have a lot of friends or family in a place or you can bring a crowd of supporters to your show, it is also interesting to a gallery. Not a vital point but your supporters are new supporters for the gallery.
Finally if you live near a lot of galleries patronize them. Go to openings and follow what they are doing. After deciding that this is the gallery for you make an appointment with the director. Tell him or her how much you admire, enjoy their space and ask them if they would mind critiquing your work. Flattery could get you everywhere!
If anyone has thoughts from your own experiences to add to this blog I hope you will feel free to do so.