Joanne Matera is an artist with a fairly prolific blog. She recently posted about dealer/blogger Ed Winckelmann’s new book, How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery. Here’s why Mattera thinks artists should bone up on dealers:
For one thing, understanding the dealer’s concerns and activities will help you present yourself in a way that complements the gallery’s program. For another, it underscores the idea that artists and dealers are not so different. Here’s Ed: “This is a business in which very little is stable . . . rent in your neighborhood will skyrocket, forcing you to find a new location (and consuming all the money that moving requires); and critics will inexplicably hate your latest exhibition. . . It never really gets easy. Some months you’re flush; others, you’re scrambling.” Sound familiar?
Identity and branding; pricing; contracts and legal issues; logistics like crating, shipping, framing; cash flow; and the art fairs are all covered in specific chapters. Independent artists will find the information eminently useful. Though the crashing economy will undoubtedly require second-edition revisions in the Art Fair chapter, it’s edifying to see how closely the submission process for dealers to art fairs parallels that of artists to galleries.