Approaching Galleries and Avoiding Questionable Advice

Starting out into the wild and wooly world of art markets (I use plural because there really isn’t just one) can be an intimidating thing. While I haven’t made it (by any means) and am less convinced that it’s possible to really “make it” unless you have some serious money behind you at the outset, I’ve learned a lot along the way.

These webinars were recommended in a newsletter I get where I work, but I’m deeply suspicious of anything that claims to give such neat answers to an amazingly broad range of complicated topics. How about instead of spending $1000 (which you probably don’t have if you need this dude’s advice), you actually go talk to people who work in galleries? Just don’t bring your portfolio or try to solicit to show your work when you do. Galleries take  submissions (or don’t) for a reason. And, frankly, the market is different depending on where you are: New York is not the same as Albuquerque. Most gallery attendants are quite amenable to short conversations about any of these topics – just don’t be a jerk and take up all of their time.

Or, crazy idea, check out some books from the library. Whatever you do, fellow artists, read and listen to multiple sources of advice before you take action. It helps parse out the bullshit, and there’s a lot of nebulous bullshit in the advice department. Keep this in mind as I go on.

Some time back, I drew up a not-so-common common sense guide to approaching galleries, based on my personal experience as an artist and a gallery attendant. These are the things I think when I deal with artists at work or look at submissions – and let me emphasize look because I’m not a curator and don’t make decisions about what to show. Anyway, I present my advice here as a PDF for your consideration:

Super Duper Common Sense Information About Approaching Galleries to Show Your Work

Good luck out there…

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