Thursday, September 20, 2007

Question :: Representation

I have a question for all of my kind readers - It's about galleries representing artists.

If an artist is represented by a gallery, does that mean that they must be represented solely by that gallery? Or are artists pretty much free to choose who represents them at any given time?

7 comments:

Deanna said...

It's been my experience that most galleries want to be exclusive only in the immediate area. For example, I have work in a gallery that states in the contract that I agree not to show my work in another gallery within 150 miles of the gallery.

I have heard of some galleries that ask to be exclusive within the country, but I don't think that's standard practice.

Dan said...

Here (in Australia), the standard practice is that when a gallery decides to represent you, they represent you in the state that they're in. Which literally means you could have 7 dealers in Australia alone, however most mid career artists would have 2 or three.

In Australia .. no decent gallery has written contract, if you're handed a contract, think twice about signing it. If its a legal contract, there goes your career. Its the art world, its subjective and artists want to move around when they feel things are not working out for them.

Although some galleries, even without a contract have a firm hold on the artist and have a strong say, not in the art they make, but in what other group shows, prizes etc outside the gallery they participate in. I guess this could be about the gallery protecting the artist into going into exhibitions that could hurt their reputation, then again its up to the artist themselves and the relationship they have with the gallery. Would you really not want to take advice from your dealer who has built the career of other big name artists?

life-draw said...

I know of one Sydney gallery that likes to be exclusive for the entire country (at least), but most are state. There are artists e.g. that are represented by Dickerson's in either Sydney or Melbourne and not necessarily both. It is in both the artist's and gallery's interest to be loyal and build up a growing relationship over time.

Ben Rowe said...

Terrific, thanks for the comments.

What about representation for an online gallery? Is it exclusivity in the area where the website is based?

Jason said...

I don't think online galleries has enough credibility to have such or any terms of representation. How much could it offer then the concept of an online shop? ... but who knows what might happen in the future, maybe the day will come when people will just go online to view art, and the national gallery will just have online exhibitions. That will be a sad day.

That being said ... i guess new media/video artists might benefit from art being seen exclusively on screen

Dan said...

Jason: Agreed ... it would be a sad day .. plus how do you appreciate high art over a screen?! .. how would the drama of the Pieta make you shed a tear, when only seen online!

In fact i don't even think some new media/video work might work. Jenny Port gallery www.jennyportgallery.com.au had an exhibition of Yandell Walton called Windows, which was a projection of spooky blowing curtains a the front of the gallery. Looked great at night from the first floor space! How would you get the whole ambiance of it , if you just saw blowing curtains on your computer screen?

This Painting Life said...

There are different sorts of galleries within the contemporary gallery structure. If you have a 'good' dealer, ie one that promotes you well, sells your work and looks after 'your' interests, he/she will do so all over the country, you really don't need a dealer in each city. It also depends where you are as an artist in the stable. Someone like Stuart Purves has a lot of artists and cannot represent all of them equally, he is a good dealer but if you are lower down the pecking order you wont get enough exposure and you'll need other galleries until you are better known.