The Do-It-Yourself gallery is an old staple of the art business, especially for those trying to get some recognition and build a following. But this year’s recession has put a new twist on it. Last month we saw the Flag Foundation host a show of artists without dealers. This month, we’ve got a dealer allowing artists access to their gallery space on first-come-first-serve basis. Jennifer 8. Lee explains:
In the slow summer months of an art industry already battered by a swooning economy, the Lyons Wier Gallery decided to turn the clubby and exclusive gallery approach on its head, offering first-come-first-served access to its space on weekends from July 4 to Aug. 16.
Usually, the gallery puts on monthlong curated shows, and during summers it exhibits smaller shows that last Monday through Friday. But the new type of event, called Art Bazaar, gives 20 or so artists a space in the gallery, selected in the order they arrived. Those who arrive Saturday morning have the option of staying Sunday, and most do.
On previous weekends, the gallery has had to turn away five or six artists who got there too late. And the artists often stand on the sidewalk, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 20th Street, urging passers-by to take a look at the works inside.
[…] Whoever sells the most art during the summer will be rewarded with a fully curated monthlong showing in 2010 at Lyons Wier. […] He calls the fee a “20/20″ payment. The artists pay $20 upfront, and a 20 percent commission. As Mr. Lyons Weir noted, the experience is “democratic — no visual filter.” Last weekend, one artist, Jan Huling, sold $10,000 worth of her beaded ornate forms in 10 hours.
Mr. Lyons Weir helps the artists by having the show streamed live at Artbazaar.tv, complete with interviews, and listing the current artists on the site. He also gives them pep talks, explaining the importance of the sell in the art world.
New York’s Next Top Artist (City Room/New York Times)