Archive for July, 2008


More Bad Things Galleries Do To Artists & Bad Things Artists Do To Galleries

Previous entry on this subject here.

Bad Things Artists do to Galleries

The below anecdote actually happened to a Washington, DC gallery at the time located in Georgetown:

The gallery had given a show to a local (at the time “hot”) DC artist who was a painter (I say “was” because I haven’t heard of the dude in years).

The artist was supposed to deliver and help hang all the paintings on a Wednesday, in order to be ready for the Georgetown third Friday openings. He did show up on Wednesday with about 50% of the work, and brought some more (freshly finished) on Thursday and to the gallerist’s horror, even brought some more on Friday, and even as the show was opening at 6PM, was adding the last painting touches to several of the works.

Needless to say, several of the oils were actually wet by opening time at 6PM.

On opening night, it was crowded (let us not forget that this was a very “hot” painter) and someone apparently rubbed against one of the paintings and smeared some of the oil paint on the canvas.

Now the gallerist is faced with a very irate person, demanding that his suit be cleaned (it eventually had to be replaced) and with a furious artist, demanding that the gallery pay him in full for the damaged painting.

If I am to believe the gallerist, the case actually went to court, where the judge threw it out.

Now that I think about it, since most gallerists in the DC area heard about this escapade, no wonder that this artists ceased to show anywhere in the DC area!

Bad Things Galleries do to Artists

Many good, reputable galleries also run a framing business at the same time, as the job of keeping an art gallery profitable or even breaking even is quite a heroic task. When a bad gallery which runs a frame shop and a novice artist get together, trouble happens. I know of several instances where the following has occurred:

The artist and the gallery agree on a show, and well in advance set the date for the opening, publicity, etc. The artist inquires about framing and the gallery responds by saying: “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”

And so well before the opening, the artist brings all of his/her work in, they discuss mouldings, and the gallery does all the framing.

On opening night, if the artist is lucky, several pieces sell. At the end of the show, depending on how much work sells, instead of a check for his commission, the artist gets in the mail a framing bill which lists the total framing costs for the whole show, minus the artists’ commission, and because of the high cost of custom framing, a deficit in favor of the gallery’s framing business.

The way to prevent this from happening is by always having a contract that spells out all details of the business exchange between the artist and the gallery. Needless to say, the artist should have asked a lot of questions about framing prices, overall costs, and payment procedures.

In most cases, custom framing truly raises the expenses of an artist’s show, and while reputable framers will do a great job to work with people to arrive at a clear goal, just handing an entire show to a gallery’s framing business must require a lot of good communications and understanding of prices, debts, what happens after the show, etc.

Framing is an art by itself, and if the artist in my example is lucky, he/she may end up with an expensive lesson, but at least a set of his work in nice frames. I know of at least one artist who didn’t really get too involved in the moulding selection process, and to her horror on opening night discovered her artwork framed in gaudy, gold rococo frames.

To make matters worse, she didn’t sell anything at the show, and thus after the show ended up with a huge framing bill and about 20 framed watercolors in really ugly expensive gold frames that belonged to the 19th century.

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Breaking News for ARTtistics Lenny Campello

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Big News at the ARTtistics

We’ve added our newest ARTtistic, Joanne Mattera!

Here’s a bit on Joanne:

Joanne Mattera is a studio artist whose focus is lush color and geometric composition, an aesthetic she describes as “lush minimalism.” She has had solo shows in New York City at the Stephen Haller Gallery, where she was a represented artist, and at OK Harris Works of Art, where her second solo with the gallery, “Silk Road,” took place in May 2007. She has also participated in group shows at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Thatcher Projects, the Heidi Cho Gallery, and Garson Baker Fine Art.

Read More Here 

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Por Favor… No National Latino Museum

Four years ago, when the story first surfaced in the Washington Post about a Latino Museum on the National Mall, I opposed it.

Back then, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced the bill to set up a commission to study the idea’s feasibility. The museum would be based in Washington, around the National Mall and “might be under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution.”

According to the 2003 article by Jacqueline Trescott, “This is one issue that unites our community,” said Raul Yzaguirre, the president of the National Council of La Raza.

And a few days ago, the Washington Post updated the issue and reported that “President Bush signed legislation yesterday establishing a commission to study the feasibility of a National Museum of the American Latino.

The measure, part of a larger legislative package, creates a 23-member bipartisan panel that will give the president and Congress recommendations about the scope of the project.

Over a two-year period, it will consider the location, the cost of construction and maintenance, and the presentation of art, history, politics, business and entertainment in American Latino life.”

Let me once again disagree and state for the record that this is one of the worst, most divisive artsy ideas to have come out of creative Congressional minds in years.

Why have a separate, segregated museum for Latinos? Why not get more Latinos into the national museums, period.

I note also, the use of the word “Latino” as opposed to the now almost not PC term- “Hispanic.” Otherwise we may have to take all the Picassos, and Dalis, and Miros, and Goyas and Velazquezs out of the mainstream museums and put them in a “Hispanic” museum…. gracias a Dios for that.

As it is now, we may have to take all the Wifredo Lams, Roberto Mattas, Frida Kahlos, etc. out of the “other museums” and put them in the “Latino Museum.”

But ooops! the Frida Kahlo in the nation’s capital is already in a segregated museum - in this case segregated by sex.

The semantic/ethnic/racial debate about Latino or Hispanic is a good, if somewhat silly one.

Anyway… Latino is (I think) now associated with people of Latin American ancestry… it apparently includes the millions of Central and South Americans of pure Native American blood (many of who do not even speak Spanish), and the millions of South Americans of Italian, German, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Japanese ancestry. It also includes the millions of Latin Americans of African ancestry.

It doesn’t include Spaniards, Portuguese, French or Italians…. you Europeans are out!

According to the Post, “Felix Sanchez, the chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, said, “The museum is really a long-overdue concept. There is a void of presenting in one location a more in-depth representation of the culture and its presence in the mainstream of American consciousness.”

Mr. Sanchez: There is no such thing as a single “Latino culture.” In fact, I submit that there are twenty-something different “Latino” cultures in Latin America - none of which is the same as the various Latino mini-cultures in the US.

We, no matter how hard politicians try to assemble and label us into one monolithic group, are not such a group; we are as different from each other as the English-speaking peoples of the world are different from each other.

As an example, anyone who thinks that Mexico’s gorgeously rich and sometimes proud native heritage is similar to Argentina’s cultural heritage is simply ignorant at best. In fact Argentina purposefully nearly wiped out its own indigenous population in an effort (according to the war rallies of the times) “not to become another Mexico.”

And the cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic is as different from that of Bolivia and Peru as two/three countries that technically share a same language can be.

And for example, Mexican-Americans’ tastes in food, music, and politics, etc. are wildly different from Cuban-Americans and Dominican-Americans, etc.

Would anyone ever group Swedes, Danes, Germans and Norwegians and create a “Nordic-American Museum”? Ahhh… they have; silly ideas are not restricted to Congress.

Or how about French, Spaniards, Rumanians and Italians for a “Latin-European-American Museum” - hang on - that doesn’t fit or does it? Makes my head hurt.

For the record, as I did in 2003 when I first learned about this issue, I still don’t believe in segregating artists according to ethnicity, race or religion. How about letting the art itself decide inclusion in a museum. And if not enough African American, or Native American, or Latino/Hispanic or “fill-in-the-blank”-American artists are in the mainstream American museums, then let’s fight that good fight and not just take the easy/hard route of having “our own” museum.

Update: How about we take a poll?

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