On Galleries vs. Artists
Interesting notes about the symbiotic and yet adversarial relationship between galleries and artists, from the blogs of Edward Winkelman. The whole process appears like a sort of chess game. See
- Selling Solo vs. Working with a Gallery
- The Logic Behind the 50/50 Split
- Alternatives to the Commercial Gallery System for Selling One’s Art
Whither the gallery? I’d say the galleries are in a very strong position to continue to prop up the art market for photography. In a period of flux (as we clearly are in the photography market, with an absolute deluge of “product” out there), art buyers are likely to retreat to what is safe and known to advise them on their purchases. The fact is, millions of photographers have hung out a shingle trying to sell work online. But the sites that are really taking off are the Getty microstocks, the 20×200s, etc. Run by art buyers that know and understand the art market.
But the 50% commission? Winkleman makes a good argument for that in a bricks and mortar gallery, but online, there oughtn’t be much overhead after the initial investment of setting up a site. Also, the touted “gallery-artist” relationship will be somewhat different if formed online, and may be even more shallow and cynical than described.