Business of Art Seminar, August 10, 2013

In the 21st Century, how do patrons interact with galleries and artists? How does an artist establish a price? Where can an artist display work? How do museums decide which art to acquire? Who is buying?

The 4th seminar in GLANC’s Business of Art series tackled these questions and more, with expert input from Lani McGregor, and Michael Endo of Bullseye Gallery, artist Clifford Rainey, curator Julie Muñiz, and collector Steven Aldrich.

It is apparent that the art business landscape is changing; Lani discussed the rise of the Art fair and the Internet as primary means of selling, with the artist directly involved in marketing. Michael explained the back-of-house process for creating an exhibit. Clifford discussed the question of pricing and discounting, while Julie explained the museum’s role in preserving work important to the history and evolution of a medium. Steven spoke of his personal collecting journey, from starting with established masters to now supporting younger artists who may have no established gallery.

In fact, the closing of many brick-and-mortar galleries and the great expense of participating in art fairs has drastically reduced the number of artists that a gallery can promote. They need to recoup the money with artists that are tried and true, so often mid-career and emerging artists are out of the equation. Many collectors are using art as a commodity, which means big name artists whose work is an investment possibility are faring better than anyone else.

While we came to no conclusions, the upshot of this seminar is the urgent need to rethink the traditional gallery-collector-artist relationship if the next generation of artists is to thrive. This is a discussion that will continue for years to come.

[Susan Longini]