Definitions of Curator, Dealer, Collector, Gallery and Gallerist

By January 19, 2015Articles


Definitions of curator, dealer, collector, gallery and gallerist

Definitions of the above title are what I am about to elaborate and hope that will highlight important points artists may need to know!

In the art world, we often hear or use those titles yet, they are not clearly defined to many, particularly, to Artists! Each of those titles carry meaning and responsibility with it.  I hope that this Blog will help Artist when selecting their galleries, gallerist or curators and how to deal with collectors even though there is much to learn about this subject separately!

Curator: is the person, who selects artwork, arranges for the setting and provides information for artists regarding shipping or documentations needed and responsible for writing labels, catalog themes and other supporting content for an exhibition as well, must have an academic degree in art and art history etc. Such curator may be permanently, hired as administrator director or works as freelancer. In general curator holds a higher academic degree in their subject such master degree of art, art history, Curator also can deliver public talks, publish articles as he/she has the knowledge of the current collecting market for their area of expertise and are aware of existing ethical practices and laws that may impact their organization’s collection. Curator has ability to develops new verity of influences outside of the traditional art world for art installation.  General speaking, a curator prefers to work with a small group of artists and creates variety of presentations. Lately, we have seen artists organizing exhibitions and the artist-curator has a long tradition influence such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, founder of the Royal Academy, London.

Dealer: is the person who buys art at the right time with the right price and sells it at the right time with the right price, but not necessary deal with artists on a personal level. A dealer may present artwork and might sponsor his artists fully for mutual benefits. In such case, it works well for artists who accept to work as employees not as free creative individuals for he/she is asked what to paint within a given time.  Dealer has a secondary market; first market is targeting artists with certain artwork, second; is targeting art buyers with his collection to get best prices possible.

Collector: is the person who loves certain pieces of art/paintings and collect art not necessary to sell later but the chance is there. He is also called an art lover with possibility of having a personal project in mind for his/her collection in the future, such as having own museum or use/rent the collection for films/movies and TV shows etc.

Gallery: A simple term applied on an actual and unmovable building, structure, space or a place to display artwork. In our modern days, we have seen unnumbered online galleries where thousands of artists, if not millions, are presented, promoted, selling artwork and even auctioning artwork and entering competitions with prizes. While we’ve seen also, some actual galleries have closed. A gallery, whether physical or online, requires a passionate and knowledgeable gallerist/individual to direct it successfully. Whereas a gallery that made from walls, doors and windows can’t do such job.

Gallerist: A gallerist selects its artists and takes personal interest in each and is directly, involved with the feeding and needs of artists, rather than with the quick turnover of art projects and objects.  Chelsea gallerist; Sean Kelly, conceits himself for his good relationships with artists in his stable. A gallerist is the person who represents and promotes artists in a primary art market, the one with an exhibition space to offer and who raises relationships with collectors and art organizers. A gallerist might own an actual building called a gallery or online gallery to presents artists and might present also, them in different avenues internationally.  A gallerist is partially curator with academic certificate in art filed and provides artists with the necessary information regarding shipping, needed documentation and arrange for the setup/layout of an exhibition. As well edits biographies on behalf of artists, prepares necessary designs and prints out for presentations. It is agreed upon that a gallerist is an individual who is holding a position of responsibility as a director.

Some suggest that gallerist derives from the French word “galeriste” which long used by top gallery personages in France to distinguish themselves from the merely, simple merchant de tableaux or picture merchant. Others say that gallerist came from Germany, where “galeristin” symbolize respectively, a male or female gallery owner.

Andrea Rosen, a newer Chelsea presence, said that she does not find the term gallerist pretentious, but is equally comfortable with dealer. ”I’m a dealer insofar as I work with the secondary market,” The title gallerist would better suit a “highly creative” curator whose personal expression supplants the art they select to exhibit. Some artists have organized their own exhibitions but did that make them gallerists, curators or galleries? Not necessary but with long experience, they might be.

We heard the term “A gallery owner” but never heard the term “A gallerist owner”.  Isn’t the first term equal to “home owner“? But does it make the owner “Home” or “homiest”? Edward Winkleman is a gallery director who used the title “Gallerist” to designate more active involvement with artist’s work. I would add that a gallerist get involved even in artist’s lives assisting them in every way possible. A gallery can’t do such a task but a gallerist. The gallerist may not have a permeant gallery but is the strong string between artists, art organizers, dealers, collectors and galleries. Such responsibility of a gallerist requires much patience and passion in addition to experience and knowledge.

Having written the above, I wonder; are titles given to us or we give titles to ourselves for what we’re capable of doing and have done? Action is louder than thousands of words.

©Mona Youssef-Realist Fine Artist/Gallerist

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