Saturday, September 15, 2007

What type of art galleries are there?

Mark over at Culture Critic @ Melbourne kind enough to meet with me yesterday, and we chatted about the different types of art galleries that you'll find in Melbourne. I learnt a lot.

He has a great post about this today, and describes the different levels of commissions that are charged at each type.

These are the different types of 'Bricks and Mortar' galleries:

Bars and Cafes
- There are a lot of bars and cafes that have artwork on their walls. Generally they only change a small commission (around 10%), and are often a way for newer artists to get their work out there. Mark mentions the Kalidescope Café as an example, and the FAD Gallery in the city is another.

Rental Spaces - Where artists can rent a gallery space for a set period. These include galleries like the Brunswick St Gallery or the Red Gallery. There is some debate about the quality of the work in rental spaces though, as anyone has the potential to display their art.

Artist run initiatives - Artist-run initiatives can also be similar to a rental gallery, like 69 Smith st. But not all of them are - West Space, for example, gets its funding from the government. They have aapplication based exhibitions so are much more selective about what gets exhibited. Via-N have a full list of the artist run galleries in Melbourne.

Commercial Galleries –Where the gallery will actually 'represent' the artist. A commercial gallery buys art on consignment from the artist, and will be more pro-active in promoting the artists' work. Commissions will be higher, from 40% anywhere up to 60%, Mark tells me.

Funded Galleries - Often government funded galleries, from the big ones like NGV - that also make their money from entrance fees - to more alternative spaces like Platform.

Studio Galleries - Where an artist sets up an exhibition space at their studio, so that they can sell their work directly.

Art 'Shops' - Less of a gallery, but more of a shop that sells art, magazines, T-shirts, etc. However they will also run exhibitions. Examples include Outre, Villian and 696. This can also include markets, such as the Rose St. Artist market.

I still need to go out and look at some more galleries, but I think I'd like to start something that has more of a casual shop feel about it. As I've said before, I'm also keen on the online side of things too - so perhaps a gallery that is both online and off.

5 comments:

Liss said...

Interesting post! I guess you could also comment on the type of price differences between all the galleries. For example a commercial gallery might take 40% but I'm sure they can get high prices for an artist to begin with.

Daniel said...

Actually ... there are two types of commercial galleries (i work in one) .. sorta like a sub category i guess.

But before that, the word consignment is such a business like word which is reraly used in commercial galleries, technically it probly is consignment, but really a 'proper' gallery would never ask their artist to sign a contract, its more of a gentleman's agreement.

Anyway, these galleries choose artists to represent, and work as agents (another business word - the more widely used word is 'dealer') or managers for them promoting their work and careers. Traditionally its more of a friendship than a business arrangement. They offer them exhibitions and share costs in terms of invites and adverts and sell their work, in return for a commission. The notion is that, the artist make the work and doesn't have to worry about anything else, and the gallery sells the work and manages the artist. Thats the first sub category.

But since fine art (or high art - as opposed to design and craft) is such a money making avenues nowadays, there are some gallery who act as agent, but they have real control business wise. What they do is that they actually buy out the whole exhibition of the artist, every single work, for an negotiated price. And then they resell it , as they see fit. Some young artists might see this as a gold mine, but really its the same as selling your soul! These galleries are usually the ones who advertise in newspapers (e.g. A2 gallery section) because they can afford to pay 10k for an advert.

btw .. i don't know any gallery who takes up to 60% .. maybe in new york?

cool blog, i'll be visiting it more often

MyCharlieGirl said...

great post! very good information for me who is a new artist and new to the gallery scene :)

Ben Rowe said...

Thanks for the comments guys - I'm so glad I've decided to put my thoughts down as a blog ... because i get to hear your thoughts too.

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