Daniel Grant has a piece on the ways that dealers and artists try to control their markets. The impulse is obviously to manage the artist’s reputation and career, not to mention prices. But the practice can create some unintentionally funny situations like the one below where David Zwirner inadvertently treats his own artist’s work as if it were a fungible commodity instead of a unique construct of variable quality.
“I try to favor our regular clients, particularly those who buy across-the-board, not just one or two artists in the gallery,” New York City gallery owner David Zwirner said. When a collector has managed to get on the waiting list for a work by the artist that he or she admires, that buyer may need to snatch up whatever is available (sight-unseen?) or risk being removed from the list. John Szoke, a New York publisher and dealer in fine art graphic prints, noted that “it affects your general attitude about the collector who doesn’t want something,” and Zwirner described “a person who doesn’t buy when called” a “problem. Obviously, you can’t offer the collector a choice — this is what I have available — and why buy something you don’t like? However, I’ll probably drop the person down the list. After all, I made the effort to make the work available.”
Do Art Gallery Practices Constitute Restraint of Trade? (Huffington Post)