Those Who Can’t “Do”, Quit. (And Then Write About It)

June 17, 2008 · Print This Article

Editorial by Lisa Boyle
Why is it so GOD DAMNED hard to sell a piece of art around here? I can’t help asking myself this as I soon join the ranks of civilians outside the Art World proper and close the doors on my 4 year long project, Lisa Boyle Gallery.

Seems I am in fashion though, since a handful of my compatriots are shutting down near the same time. 40000 last December, soon Navta Schulz, Gesheidle and others. Closings here, closings in New York, even my friend in Boston are hanging it up. What gives, you ask? A writer for Time Out Magazine recently talked with me and a couple of the other dealers about this little black cloud and what conditions exist that make this happen, particularly in a clump, as often occurs. “Whose fault is it?,” she wanted to know. I told her in a conspiratorial tone that I had plenty of ideas.

Oh now. To consider Chicago alone, it would be very easy to slide into that familiar unison of voices about how collectors here don’t collect, museums here don’t connect with the galleries and local artists, there’s not enough critical attention, Chicago can’t compete with LA and NY, etc. Actually, it come out as easily as my breath to shout out a mental “Here, here!” to accompany these tired voices of disappointment. And I could maybe also choose to take a trip down the path of righteousness and talk about people who’ve started galleries with seemingly limitless free financial support and how all the successful galleries are connected in an incestuous web of nepotism and homosexual ego stroking. After all, these are the things I gossip about in my spare time (to people who can’t get back at me, of course).

But here’s the big bad bald truth, people: I’m just not that good at running a gallery. No, thank you for your support and encouragement, and I truly appreciate your assessment that I have a “good eye”, I do! It’s just an unavoidable truth to me that we’re being flushed out of our excuses, me and all the other quitters, by the simple fact that there are a few people out there who have been able to sustain important programs and be happy running a successful gallery in Chicago and certainly elsewhere. In other words, it can be done, so there’s no use in talking about how hard it is to do it. After examining this enigma from all possible angles as I sit contemplating in my quiet, ever so quiet little art space, it has shown itself to be a simple organism. Making a life (if not a living) out of selling arbitrarily priced objects that no one needs is a very competitive venture. Not as easy as it looks. You have to want it. I mean really super bad. If you are going to create a successful system of supporting artists, connecting with institutions, and staying happy and successful as an art dealer, you have to want that more than a lot of other things. Like more than a paycheck, for example. More than every single Saturday for the rest of your natural born life. More than healthy exposure to the sun. You have to welcome payment in the form of some awkward social cache rather than in money, and you have to not mind being chained to a desk between four white walls for years, with the exception of those times you pack up your wares, like a traveling salesman, and take the show on the road. All of these things have to be fun and exciting to you. Additionally, should be armed with the knowledge that this span of time from start-up until you can comfortably travel the world attending all the most exclusive art parties will very likely stretch out longer than you or any one else expects.

I know, I know, there is always the matter of the art one shows. I can see it- I can imagine this wickedly brave program where every exhibition brings up weighty conceptual questions. Where shows at Lisa Boyle are all intellect and no charm (craft only a carefully neglected by-product). Each exhibition parading its unsaleability all the way to the pages of the Almighty Artforum. I can see it. I know the program and which artists show there- I lusted for it with one half of my heart. I just don’t want to afford it. I don’t want it bad enough to work another job and dump hours a day into a black hole in order to pay my gallery, and I don’t have the ambition to get a backer and join league with the true business class of art dealers.

I had fantasies of finding my gallery in a booth at NADA or ZOO in London, where all the collectors flock and fight over work. I coveted the idea that I would bring home checks in the amount of 4 months’ rent for each of the artists I showed there. But even with good intentions, I was hobbled by the lack of fortitude or schmooz-ability to get there. Truthfully, I’d rather be perfecting my technique at the Playdoh Fuzzy Pumper Barbershop and writing a book than skulking down Vyner Street in October trying to catch an invitation to a party for a fair I’d never get into. And it occurred to me that I should just do what I’d rather be doing.

Finally, the answer to the question about what created the conditions for this spate of gallery closings is a valid one. As I’ve stated, my reasons are personal, but there is a broader vapor enveloping a lot of galleries in the same genre as mine. The financial downturn is affecting art sales in the lower and moderate ranges. There is also this sea change regarding art fairs’ role in the life of a gallery. While a great load of fun for some people, they have grown over everything like a suffocating mold and swallowed up a whole heap of what an art dealer has to do on any given day. All for the honor of showing work in ramshackle booths along with a fuckthousand other artists. It’s a different job, being a gallery owner, than it was even five years ago.

And there is any combination of perennial issues with how many emerging galleries Chicago collectors will support, how much institutional involvement occurs, and how galleries here can compete on a national and international level. It’s different for everyone to be sure, but I suppose it’s safe to conclude that in general, all that has happened is that some of these challenges have become more pronounced recently (as they do in cycles) and squeezed out the least hardy of us. Fortunately, a new crop will grow up in our place, as we move on to make a mark someplace else.

As for me, I can be reached at the Korean Student Relations office of Robert Morris College where I am taking students to the “next level” using the wizardry of ESL instruction. (On a part-time basis.)

35 Responses to “Those Who Can’t “Do”, Quit. (And Then Write About It)”

  1. Let me give you a (conceptual) hug.

  2. Lisa,

    That was one of the most candid pieces of writing I’ve ever seen on the subject, and I hope 1000 comments follow, because if we can figure out this issue, world peace is not far behind.

    Did you immediately hit every patron with the bird horse muffin game? http://badatsports.com/2006/episode-59-lisa-boyle-reviews/. If you could have branded your entire gallery around that theme, you would still be in business. I was haunted by that goddamn thing for weeks.

    Jokes aside, I will say, though, that you’re being too hard on yourself. My husband tried to be a screenwriter in L.A. for 9 years. Someone commented, “you really have to network to make it.” and he said “Bullshit. I knew tons of people who networked and they didn’t make it either.”

    Art is a “desirable industry” and conversely, insurance is an “undesirable industry’. People are not lining up to work in insurance, but Jesus, everyone loves majoring in art. I mean, you can study accounting, or you can think about color, hold your hair in a bun via a paintbrush and meet sexually loose bohemians. Who would choose accounting???

    There are just too many English majors (my major), art majors, liberal arts majors in relationship to the available jobs. So to dismiss how simply damn hard the market is I think is the 800 pound gorilla.

    Say you wanted to make 40,000 a year. The salary of someone 3 years in corporate culture. My math, assuming your rent is 1K a month, and you split the sales with the artist, is that you’ve got to sell almost 2K in art every single weekend.

    What are the chances? What if you had a family and that income needed to be 80K? 4K in art sales in a weekend??? What if you like experimental stuff that NO ONE would want on their wall. Do you have an eye for good art, or an eye for art that will sell? Isn’t there a difference?

    Oh, wait, and the social code says you have to pay for everyone’s booze. WHY???

    My dad was a film producer and when I wanted to be an actress, he read me the riot act about how bad it is for actors. One tenth of ONE percent of people in the actors union (and you have to have had a lot of paid gigs to even get into the union) make a living by acting.

    This is the arts. And if the stats for gallerists are bad, it’s worse for artists. How many MFAs graduate every year? How many artists are making a living? That’s going to make one tenth of one percent sound bountiful.

    I am sorry for the loss of your gallery, but I’ll stick with the it’s-a-tough-racket argument.

    Remember what the yogis say. If you eat too much salt, you will die. If you don’t eat enough salt, you will die. If you eat just the right amount of salt, you will die.

    I’m not saying you didn’t make mistakes. I have no idea. But it does seem like doing everything right is no guarantee either.

    I feel for you. I curated a show when I was a single mom. I put every last dime and every last ounce of energy I had into it. Nobody came. Any promised press mentions fell through. So I swore I wouldn’t curate another show until I had some real connections in the press. Now I know that even that’s not enough. I think a ton about marketability, branding, how to differentiate, the type of PR hook it will have. The project I’m working on now I’m doing because I’m convinced it will have enough of a hook to get press. And people here and “other groups” have hassled me for being too money oriented. But you’re a case in point. It sucks to fail. It sucks to fold. It’s demoralizing. And it’s refreshing to see someone being honest about it.

    Love,
    Kathryn

  3. Excellent, scary and true post, Lisa. I think, though, as viewed from afar, that you were good at being a gallerist, perhaps simply in a true-to-yourself fashion that is no longer understood nor desired by the consensus structure of the artworld at present. A great and successful gallerist I know here, from Switzerland and Italy, told me a few years ago that he felt the whole model of the art gallery was over. They would/will exist, he claimed, but only really as sort of expensive extra rooms for the real activity of smoozing consensus curators, doing events and fairs. etc. I didn’t believe him, but I think he is right. “Gallery” as such, building a stable, building careers, etc. etc., is over.

    What’s the new model?

    Negatively: As seen at most art fairs,
    probably super-funded gallery-hobbiests who need no money, and seek more power in this tiny artworld than money anyway; ones who build vast Media Mart-like arenas called galleries, hiring PhD art historian wannbe curators as fancy secretaries. Positive model? I have no idea.

    Thanks for the post. Good luck with everything in the future.

  4. Lisa,

    You, your space, and your program are/were fantastic. Best of luck in what comes next, if anyone in the BAS family can help let us know. You have my e-mail, just ask.

    R

  5. Oh, I want to make a note that it is Alicia Eler that is writing the article for Time Out, some of my thoughts had come out of a conversation with her when she interviewed me. Want to give my peeps credit.

    Lisa

  6. mark creegan Says:

    “try again. fail again. fail better.” beckett

    my sympathy to chicago for the loss. my congrats to lisa for the experience.

  7. >What’s the new model?

    >Negatively: As seen at most art fairs,
    probably super-funded gallery-hobbiests who need no money, and seek more power in this tiny artworld than money anyway; ones who build vast Media Mart-like arenas called galleries, hiring PhD art historian wannbe curators as fancy secretaries. Positive model? I have no idea.

    Mark, thanks for your comment. I suppose part of my writing notes that while there ARE a good number of dealers like this, people who are afloat by family money for example, there are also a few that started out like I did, without external financial support. I am impressed by people who can make a go of this starting at a sum of zero.

    So like I said, I occasionally indulge in some bellyaching about competing with such a type, but don’t actual begrudge them. I know a lot of dealers who made money elsewhere in a more lucrativet business career and are using the income from that to run the gallery. I think this too is admirable. Just because someone came into the game flush with money from being an investor before, doesn’t mean they can’t make a good art dealer. The worked hard to make the money and they work hard to keep it, since it’s so difficult to do so in the contemporary market.

    I do think the art fair deluge is a bad thing though. And people with lots of financial support have a very strong advantage in this game. And it matters. I think has done very little good for a vast majority of artists and dealers. Very little. I have to admit, I hope to see it collapse on itself in some way and regenerate a more interesting model.

  8. My gut tells me you’re right – that art success often means putting everything you know and care about second. Second to making it. Sometimes, when I believe it, it twists me into a little bitter knot. Sometimes, I can hear it in my voice as I ask questions on the show.

    But other times, I think of all the small projects in the art world, (small in terms of capitalization, but huge in terms of ambition and commitment) projects like ours and several others locally (you named four) and I think, “Can all these people be wrong? Is the deck so stacked against us that it would cripple those without our magic ‘rose colored’ glasses?” I think the answer is obvious. It should cripple us, but we try anyway. Every time I get really down I see those others who struggle to support projects they believe in; fledgling galleries, upstart residencies, print collectives, magazines, podcast, fellow artist and it pushes out the loneliness and fear. There must be a way to make it work. It is our fucking art world and we have to make it into the thing we want it to be. It is up to us to support the things we believe in. And it may be to us to find ways to make local collectors care about the culture here, but should we not first make it a culture we care about?

    I will miss your gallery but, I’m frankly, overjoyed to welcome you as a voice to/in Bad at Sports. It is nowhere near as glamorous as the gallery but… well, at least it’s something.

  9. In response to Kathryn’s comment:

    “Art is a “desirable industry” and conversely, insurance is an “undesirable industry’. People are not lining up to work in insurance, but Jesus, everyone loves majoring in art. I mean, you can study accounting, or you can think about color, hold your hair in a bun via a paintbrush and meet sexually loose bohemians. Who would choose accounting???”

    Four weeks ago, I just took a temp job for an insurance company, in the accounting department. My first experience at 9-5 (gulp). This is after not having a day job for almost a year, while still keeping a part-time night job. During the day, before my experiment with the office world, I assumed ART to be my job. I woke up, took a coffee to my studio, and got at it for hours. I am mainly a conceptual artist, so I mostly just sat there thinking (haha). No really.

    Anyways, this time led me to think about being more accessible in my artmaking. And networking. And attaining some professional artist development. And what I got was my first rejection letters. After three years of showing art in Chicago: no to the biennial, no to the art residencies, no to the gallery jobs, and no, to the internships. But I’m still plugging along. As an artist. After sucking it up and taking a stupid job so I can try to pay back my student loans for going to art school. I am still an artist.

    Lisa, Please, just take a break. Take a miserable 9-5, save a few bucks, and come back strong, with a plan. And have fun. Everyone forgets to have fun, because art is a business, right? Wrong. (well…..) Just take a note at which galleries YOU think are successful, and don’t put an emphasis on the money part. The money will come………won’t it?

  10. Great post Duncan. I agree. And Lisa — I think take a breather to, then see where your clear and obvious art talents can resurface. Maybe with a new “model” something.

  11. I think art fairs are problematic. They’re trade shows. But the gallery system can be problematic too. The hours are very limited and the galleries are generally hard to get to, or park. They’re far apart and out of the way, and to go from one to another in an attempt to see 50 pieces would take hours. Trade shows do solve that problem. But one solution I see is the block of 119 Peoria (and similar areas). They mostly coordinate their openings so there’s lots of art on one block, open at night. I think that type of “clumping” is helpful. The other thing I’ve personally seen is a robust back room inventory. I’ve seen two successful gallerists talking to customers, knowing/learning their tastes, and darting into the back room and coming out with more paintings, just for them. I think the gallerist of the future is something of a personal art consultant. Normal people don’t have all day to research art and sift through all that’s out there. So a good gallerist can get a sense of what someone likes, build a relationship with them, and point them towards pieces they’ll like.

  12. are connected in an incestuous web of nepotism and homosexual ego stroking.

    Excuse me?

    This scapegoating of gays for others’ failures has got to end. I’m sorry.

    I hear it more and more, and despite there being plenty of gays in the art world, we are hardly running the place. Gagosian, Zwirner, Boone, Hoffman, etc., etc., etc., you don’t hear them blaming the gays.

  13. Feel for you Lisa. I tried my hand for a couple years as “bona fide” on Chicago Ave. When people ask about it, I say we were critically successful. That and a dime…. For what it’s worth, I am certain the artists were grateful for your efforts.

  14. lisa, i am sorry to hear of you (and any other chicago gallery) closing. that makes me sad.

  15. Very valid post, especially in todays climate.Thinking I might want to open a gallery at some point in time, I took a (very low paid) job at a “leading” gallery that does the major fairs (Frieze, Armory et al). The one thing that strucks most is how these places have become playgrounds for the wealthiest on the backs of artists who for the most part are struggling to make a living. My boss is one of the rich kids who works extremely hard but nonetheless has daddy’s cash to fall on. I can only imagine how hard it must be for those who don’t have the dough. My personal conclusion is perhaps to find a job at a publicly funded institution, try to reclaim those. If you’re gonna show unsellable art you might as well enjoy it!

  16. >are connected in an incestuous web of nepotism and homosexual ego stroking.

    >Excuse me?

    >This scapegoating of gays for others’ failures has got to end. I’m sorry.

    >I hear it more and more, and despite there being plenty of gays in the art world, we are hardly running the place. Gagosian, Zwirner, Boone, Hoffman, etc., etc., etc., you don’t hear them blaming the gays.

    I was just kidding. And anyway, I resent the fact that you think we aren’t running the place. I was clearly running the place. And Mary Boone HAS in fact personally blamed me for something. It was the most terrifying week of my life.

  17. tony fitzpatrick Says:

    The problem with the young dealers here is that they looked to the older dealers as examples– what an enormously bad idea that is– their poverty of the imagination is what turned this corner of the art-world into the in-bred, clannish, and paranoid clique of rotarians and gate-keepers you have now . Chicago has precisely the art world it deserves. The ones who closed lacked the imagination to break away from the pack of merchants and be singular.

  18. “Chicago has precisely the art world it deserves. The ones who closed lacked the imagination to break away from the pack of merchants and be singular.”

    Pretty much agree with the first sentence. Yet, with this said, who likes to be told that they’re parochial? It certainly doesn’t get them in the door. It just makes them protest louder that they are indeed not and seek out the comfort of their own.

    As for the second, I don’t believe you ever attended a show at bona fide, so I take a little umbrage (just a little umbrage; not enough to get bent). Those who remember the joint might have a slightly different take on what we were trying to do. Maybe not. Who knows? I do know that ours was not the only exhibition space that has tried to shake things up only to go busto.

    The passion of a a singular view sometimes can end up just as isolated and isolating as being successful and parochial. Neither typically considers this as a foible.

    And so the cycle continues.

  19. Patrick,

    And viewers like me were also grateful for you having great shows, I still have my free mini bible !

    on the other hand and going back to the Boyle issue, it seems blogs outside of Chicago are reacting to her letter in a positive way. Which means this thing with galleries closing is a virus everywhere..

  20. tony fitzpatrick Says:

    Patrick — I’m sorry I never attended a show at bona fide — truth be told I’d never actually known about it– but if you ask around you’ll find that I buy a lot of work by young Chicago artists — in fact, it is the focus of my collection.

  21. Pedro, mi hermano! I still have a website. Feel free to contact me through it.

    And Tony, in no way do I mean to disparage you. Even though we only smiled and nodded to each other when I lived in Chicago (18 years, but yep, beat feet five years ago) I always figured you for a good guy. BTW, we still have our rather massive mailing list, and yes, you are on it.

    I am glad that your collecting has the focus it does. There is a lot of young art in your town, and the schools there just keep kicking more of it out. Some good, a lot the product of a pedagogy, and even more because the kid went to school for art for lack of any concrete goals and/or because Daddy is loaded. There are enough of the good ones around, and even more superb artists that have been slogging it out for years, and more still from everywhere else in the world that deserve a venue. I believe this is the clarion call of the bulk of new gallerists. Perhaps, for the new galleries and alternative spaces that don’t go the 501(c)3 route, idealism without a realistic business plan is the most common reason for their hasty demise. It was in our case.

    Cheers.

  22. Michael Workman Says:

    Patrick–I went to bona fide, and I wondered what happened to you. Nice to see you still have your hand in it!

    Lisa–I thought being queer was the price of admission to the art world. You mean there are straight people here? Fuck. Can I still adore Rechy?

  23. Michael Workman Says:

    Aaand what want to say too Patrick is that spaces like yours and the community of bona fide’s moment did in fact enact a change. It’s measurable and true, I often think of them as all these little spaces shining their own little lights and occasionally their beams cross and therein we find a new way forward. I mean, anyone whose taken even a glacing interest in new media art for example (I still recall those toasters at beret) will note how it’s now coming into its own. Whole new movements in which artists working in dematerialized realms have a new and powerful stake across art cultures. It’s what I think is so important about all a whole new crop of spaces opening across the city right this second (Swimming Pool Project Space, anyone? It’s Saturday, 2858 W. Montrose (Montrose and Francisco)–God there are so many new ones–7 to 10pm), it’s in these homes and storefronts where models like what yours represented have provided the foundation of whole new, entirely unforseeable edifices.

  24. Yes, I am really interested in some of these new spaces. There’s a whole new little crop of germinating spaces that are as of yet unsullied by nefarious forces. I am looking forward to starting to get back in there and enjoy the work and not think about any of the politics for s short while.

  25. Lisa,

    No worries. Just go to this website and it will make everything alright, if only for a moment. Say hi to Millie for me! I miss you guys.
    xoxo
    Missy

  26. Lisa,

    No worries. Just go to this website and it will make everything alright (if only for a moment).

    http://www.hana-ess.eu.dodea.edu/activities/video/dog_screen_clean.swf

    Say hi to Millie for me! I miss you guys.
    xoxo
    Missy

  27. Shoemaker Says:

    Sorry you had to close. I appreciate your effort and honest confession,
    “But here’s the big bad bald truth, people: I’m just not that good at running a gallery.”
    From Webster’s Online Dictionary.
    ART: The creation of beautiful or significant things.
    I especially like the second part of the definition, significant things!
    I see galleries fail all the time for the same reason.
    Artists are free to create whatever they please and gallery owners are free to show what they choose but why should someone be expected to pay a high price for what is otherwise insignificant to a collector or the public.
    The public doesn’t know how to buy art in the first place, understand it or it’s purpose and at the same time it has lost it’s trust. The market is cluttered with insignificant things in galleries, art fairs, museums and magizines all day long. Take for instance the wonderful market killer “giclee”. Is that really significant art?. And why do so many insignificant works have such huge price tags?
    The work is priced and hyped out of proportion to the significants. Nobody wins, artist or gallery. Put the emphasis back on meaning where it belongs and the work might contain something a market could trust and get interested in.

  28. Michael Workman says: “Patrick–Nice to see you still have your hand in it!”

    What I’ve had my hand in these past five years is dirt. Soil. The Missus and me gave farming a go. Now, before romantic notions set in, ponder this: Think the art world is fickle, try Nature!

    I’ve had very little to do with galleries and the like for quite some time. There’s something very dour that persists, no? Oh, I’m still making art, and cultivating idiosyncrasies that this relatively isolated existence affords. Slowly but surely the sour taste of hullabaloo has dissipated.

    The prodigal foot dares to test the water once again.

    (A rather sizable moth beats against my window to get in.)

  29. Michael Workman Says:

    I thought that image of the moth at your window was gonna haunt me but then I was sitting out in the courtyard in front of my coach house this afternoon, sitting in a chair and smoking when this little white-winged butterfly came fluttering by. I thought immediately of your moth as I watched it flit. My son was blowing bubbles through this wrought-iron fencing between our house and the neighbor’s back yard and the neighbor’s dog was chasing the bubbles as they went and popping them. This butterfly fluttered over the gate and got too low and the dog snapped it in its jaws and sat there a minute clamping its jaws the way dogs do when they’re chewing. And it was all gone, just like that.

  30. Tell me about it. Click on my name.

  31. Hi Lisa-
    Are you me, only smarter and better-spoken? I feel your pain and thank you for expressing it so plainly and so well. Condolences and congratulations.
    Laura

  32. Hey thanks, Laura. Though condolences not necessary, I’m not actually teaching ESL.

  33. If the gallerist tier of the art scene is either eroding or mutating, I am most encouraged by the ground-up swell of scrappy & domestic art-spaces in town. Artists should be fully engaged in this arena, and then extend their activities toward galleries/fairs only when they desire to tango with the realm of commerce. What I see happening is that galleries have been used (or abused) by artists as a place to (finally, at last!) express themselves publicly. And I confess to that charge myself, every single time. Furthermore, when the gallerist herself exhibits the traits of a curator (expressively and creatively — like Lisa’s Katamari Damacy show which I was super-excited to be a part of) — I can’t help thinking this is like two peculiar, recessive genes that match up and weaken an otherwise efficient and predatory species. A good time for everyone involved, but I imagine it’s got to be rotten for a business.

    In response to Kathryn: “I think the gallerist of the future is something of a personal art consultant.”

    –I’m reminded of some discussions in the digital music industry, where there is a call for business-people to pay closer attention to consumer demands — and not waste energy on a suicidal defense position against tech changes. As one writer put it (whose name I’ve forgotten), forward-thinking professionals should be viewing music fans as “tribes”. They don’t need professional help with distributing audio recordings anymore, but they do need help connecting with other fans to become music-centered networks, or to discover related musics. Thus, “tribe-building” becomes a lucrative field for the business-minded, and there’s plenty of room for improvement over the algorithm-driven networks in place now. I like applying this analogy to the art market because music is an industry where folks with small incomes can still be viable customers.

    I sense that “artist representation” (playing mom) is really what drags gallerists down, and it seems to have resulted in a culture where artists are passive and expect to be cared-for. As an artist, I would like be contacted by numerous people saying something like “hey! I have clients in Texas, Oregon and New Zealand who may be into the type of stuff you’re doing. Let’s keep in touch.” These folks would no longer be investing all their resources in a product-line of a dozen-or-so unpredictable individuals, and can work nimbly. I might be one of 125 artists they are in touch with, and they might switch that 125 out with a different 125 when the time is right. As usual, I will focus on the work and exhibiting publicly, and they can focus on the art of discovering/designing those client/artwork connections, as well as the nature & flavor of the commerce to be pursued — without the burden of the overhead.

    Overall, artists can bear the burden of exhibitions (which they’ve proven they are ready and willing to do), and dealers can focus on the joys of business.

  34. Erik has noted something more artists can think about. Show as much as you can at spaces whose proprietors you connect with. If you want to start selling through a dealer you like, it becomes more complicated, and you have to go in with your eyes wide open. If the dealer doesn’t seem transparent to you, he’s the wrong guy to be dealing with.

    I was so freaked out by artists that were like, “Ugh, I hate the idea of pricing my work- Whatever you think is good”, and every other manner of “you handle that part”. Yes, as a dealer, I am prepared to handle that part, but don’t you even want to know what’s going on? I mean, it boggles my mind how many artists prefer, PREFER to remain willfully ignorant of the logistics of what’s happening with their own work. If I were an artist dealing with a gallery, I would have some very pointed questions for my dealer.

  35. Lisa, thank you for writing down the very truth, to which I think we all know or have known for some time but perhaps choose to ignore. And thank you too for being so honest. I have loved the work you exhibit and will be sad to see you go, but am much happier knowing you will be doing what you want. Best of luck!

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