Who is that GIANT?
Years ago, when an art dealer shared with me the difficulties she faced; being the first female dealer at that time, I sympathized with her. Today, I understand even more how she had felt but I am not an art dealer.
Being involved in the art market for some years, today I can say; am still learning. There are millions and billions of dollars spent on art yet, artists still struggling and starving! Why? Who sets the laws and roles in every country for Art organizers, struggling galleries and starving artists?! Who sets the laws and roles in every country for Art organizers, galleries, dealers and artists? And who is the GIANT?
I heard that laws in some countries, prohibit galleries from charging artists fee while Art Organizers in those countries charge galleries high fees for everything even when submitting applications none refundable fee! Why is that? When a Gallerist work very hard, spending not only hundreds of hours but also thousands of dollars/Euros to represent artists’ artwork and promote them, who to say how such gallery should handle his/her business? Who is the GIANT?
In addition, most Art Organizers have sponsors; thus, they hardly concern about the cost of holding an exhibition. While galleries are, independent and must cover, all expenses incurred. When artwork is not sold, artists still receive full benefits; promotion and exposure and get contacted directly by buyers in most cases, who will cover the high expenses and time for the gallery? Who is the beneficiary?
The dealer shared her story with me faced her challenges because of her success that caused competitors to try destroying her. Gladly, she stood strong and proceeded with her success. I recall she told me “In the art market there is a huge wild GIANT” But who is that GIANT?
Representing and promoting Artists, as a Gallerist and curator in screened exhibitions, require more than simply renting a space and selling it to artists. Artists receive the full benefits of the exhibitions even if there was no sale, such as; exhibition space, professional presentation, excellent exposure, professional promotion, making new contacts and might make new buyers! As mentioned above, art buyers contact artists directly afterward, to purchase artwork! Then, who will receive full benefits and who would cover galleries efforts? No wonder why some galleries who only charge percentage, do not allow their artists to have their buyer’s contact information!
Finally, professional galleries open doors for artists’ success where they spend upfront cost and time. Should artists decide to take their art to the next level of professionalism as a career, why would expect to have such service of free?
Some artists prefer to pay percentage and others prefer to pay fee and take control of their artwork. Keeping in mind that most galleries charge percentage on each sale between 50%-80% and others charge 30% or more plus fee. When you think about it, artists end up paying more should they choose to pay only percentage.
After all, the question remains; Dealers make the billions, Art Organizers makes the million, galleries struggle to make ends meet and artists starve to make living! Who is the Giant?