Today's gallery visit, among others, was to Brunswick St Gallery.
I'd heard quite a bit about this rental space gallery, so I've been meaning to go for a while now. In fact, today was my third attempt. It had been closed on the 2 previous occasions. Opening only from 12-4, I'd missed opening hours twice. It makes me wonder ... if a gallery has to pay the rent on their space, why wouldn't they be open for more than 4 hours a day.
As soon as you walk in you notice art from wall to wall. Aside from the seperate galleries, there is plenty of space (3 floors in fact) where individual work is displayed. As I've mentioned before, I enjoy seeing a wall full of paintings, as opposed to the sparse walls that some many galleries are renowned for. I also like being in a gallery where there are other people there too. Walking into an empty gallery space can feel lonely.
Now, the debate rages on about whether rental spaces are a good thing. To recap, a rental space is a gallery where the artists pays for space in the gallery to display their works. As a result, the quality of work in rental space galleries can be questionable.
Having said that, the work in Brunswick St gallery today was OK. In OK, I mean that every piece of work probably would be appealing to somebody. My opinion was that 80% of the art was rubbish, 15% OK and 5% good. But tastes differ, and I could imagine would like a lot of this stuff.
Tastes aside, bsg seem to have a pretty good business model set up. As an artist, there are a number of different options you can sign up for. You can be part of a group exhibition such as printmaking, or you can take out a whole gallery space for your own exhibition.
As part of the rental price, the gallery supports your exhibitions by hosting opening nights, printing flyers and organising advertising. It's also a gallery in a high traffic area, so I could see this gallery being a fairly good option for a new artist to get some exposure. But it was disappointing to see that only some of the artwork was labelled with artist names, prices and information about each work.
All-in-all, it looks like Brunswick St Gallery is a successful example of a rental space gallery. I don't think that this is the sort of gallery that I want to be a part of. But I do think anyone has the right to make art, and put on an exhibition if they choose to. So no, I don't really have a problem with this type of gallery.