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

A bad thing that unethical galleries do to artists:
Unethical galleries all over the nation and in most countries will take in a piece of artwork by an artist, and when the price is discussed, the gallery says: “What’s the price?” and the artist says: “$1000″ The gallery nods OK and the artist leaves, knowing that if sold, he’ll get $500 (most galleries in the US charge 50% commission — in NYC some are as high as 70%). The gallery then sells the piece, but for $2,000, sends the artist a check for $500 and pockets the extra $1,000. That is why artists should insist on having a contract with a gallery, and the contract must specifically address that the artist will get 50% of the actual sale price.

A bad thing some artists to do galleries:
A good reputable gallery is a work of love, with gallerists usually running the business by the skn of their teeth. And when a gallery gives an artist a show, they go through all the various multiple expenses associated with doing so (rent, electricity, staff salaries, publicity, ads, post cards, opening reception catering, etc.) - usually before a single work of art is sold. So far the gallery has put forth a considerable investment in presenting the artist’s works - all because the gallerist believes in the artist’s work. An interested novice collector meets the artist at the opening and expresses interest (to the artist) in buying some of his artwork. The artist, wishing to stiff the gallery for their commission says: “See me after the show and I’ll sell it to you directly and save myself the gallery commission.” This is not only unethical, but it’s also guaranteed to ruin the artist’s reputation in the city, as these things always come out in the wash, and soon no gallery will exhibit any work by this artist. Remember, when a gallery gives an artist a show, and nothing sells, the artist still walks away with all his/her work, and maybe even a review, plus the art has been exposed to collectors and the public. The gallery gets to pay all the bills, even though no sales were made.

I will continue to post these “bad things” - coming from both the dealer’s side and the artist’s side, as a good dealer-artist relationship is a symbiotic relationship always anchored in trust and good communications.

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