We just received this missive from Michael Reid who is preparing for Art Month Sydney an event uniting 70 galleries in the Australian city.
A Matrix of Exhibition Behaviours
As a response to trends already in play, yet accelerated by the global financial crisis, the brave new world of art exhibitions will now consist of a number of overlapping art selling styles or options. Essentially the overall industry trend will see a movement away form an art gallery exhibiting only their stable of represented artists, and conversely of artists only showing in an orthodox manner through an art gallery. This way more fluid new world art exhibition options will be excitingly diverse and may include:
- A greater maturation of the trend for artists and galleries to stage one-off, collaborative, curated group exhibitions. This style of showing will to some degree displace the pre-eminence of the artist solo exhibition. For example, my March 2010 exhibition will be: East Kimberley Painting Revisited: Rover Thomas, Paddy Jaminji, Jack Britten; Freddie Timms and Rusty Peters. Wally Caruana & I represent Freddie Timms and Rusty Peters and we will on this occasion be exhibiting them along side- in a compare and contrast exhibition- other early great artists from the region. The none-represented artists in that exhibition will be sourced for sale, from private collectors.
- The future will witness the proliferation of pop-up, short term, art exhibitions in unorthodox spots i.e. an exhibition for three days in a shop front window in China town. Pop-up exhibitions are expected to create marketing fission, while at the same time, broadening the normal geographic reach of a galleries exhibition program- from always showing in Roslyn Gardens Elizabeth Bay- to a prominent window exhibition in the city. Pop-ups equal a new spot; a new audience and possibly new collectors to the gallery.
- Pop-ups will also dove tail nicely into the trend of the essentially virtual art galleries, physically exhibiting in say two or three pop-ups a year. The virtual galleries- without the overheads of bricks and mortar costs- will in turn rely on the cultural production of art, which includes an event or happening as part and parcel of the exhibition. So pop-ups will be an exhibition and an event art happening at the same time.
- The future will see art dealers within cities (such as Vasili Kaliman & myself with Art Month Sydney) and art dealers across States (such as Jan Murphy & myself) work far more closely together in new business ventures and artist management. Important artists need to have their careers and exhibition schedules managed across the country for 12 months of the year- not episodely every 18 months by one gallery or another.
- In the future quality galleries will represent far few artists. It is quite conceivable that a galleries stable will drop from, 25 to 40 artists (currently the norm) to a core group of around ten represented artists. Quality galleries will offer their represented artists a far greater hands on career management experience. The core group of artists solo exhibitions will be augmented by curated, collaborative shows.
- I have already clearly delineated on my web site a list of artists represented by the gallery (16) from a list of “Friends of the Gallery”. My stable of represented artists will be further reduced in 2010 and I am currently in collaboration with the artists concerned to manage this transition. On the same website page, I list a number of “Friends of the Gallery” (10) artists with whom I work and whose artwork I have exhibited, but I do not represent. This list is fluid as artists can come on or leave the “Friends of the Gallery” section, as is our wont. This process of delineation enables me to seriously career manage my core represented artists, while at the same time taking the opportunity, over some time, to contemplate formal gallery representation for the “Friends of the Gallery”.
- The future may entail an artist / gallery / business manager representing as few as one artist client, nationally and internationally. The artist’s manager organising exhibitions of the artists work with whom ever they want; when ever they want and where ever they want. There have been a number of colourful artist controllers working behind the scenes in this manner for years, however the future will in my opinion see this method of art production cum management move mainstream; more transparent and handled in a more reputable manner.
- Domestically, in the shadow of the commercially successful Ken Done- with the artist as art dealer model- and more recently reinvigorated by the entrepreneur showmanship of contemporary British art Damian Hurst, who staged his own solo art auction with Sotheby’s. The Australian market will see the rise and rise of artists opening their own galleries, either physically in bricks and mortar or more likely on the web. Artist David Bromley has announced he is considering this option and it is certainly an option worth pursuing for those that are commercially successful; administratively organised; financially savvy; marketing aware and very hard working.
The Gutenbergian revolution that is currently taking place in communication and consequently in many of the ways we now do age-old things- is not to be feared. The future is bright for those who can see and then adapt to trends and challenges that arise.