Over the years in the art world I have come across numerous artists that have been wronged by galleries and of course the other way around. The world of art can be very cutthroat and ego driven on both sides, however there are wonderful people on both sides of the fence with fantastic moral caliper. I work with many of them, however I have worked with galleries and artists alike that lack tact or professionalism.
The sad truth is most artists are scared to speak out about things with galleries and rightfully so when it’s based in simple miscommunications or just having personality conflicts. That’s interpersonal and business relationships and not everyone is going to like one another. One should never bring public attention to such frivolous things – that is much unneeded drama However, there are times it’s important to stand up for one self and also stand together.
As a gallerist and professional artist I feel there are some KEY POINTS to understand while navigating the world of art. Overall, we should be kind to one another and understand that communication is key with a GALLERY/ARTIST relationship.
1. The GALLERY needs the ARTIST as much as the ARTIST needs the GALLERY. It’s a partnership and a win win situation if both work together towards a common goal.
2. GALLERIES should always send back ARTISTS work when requested unless contracted to the gallery for an allotted time period.
3. The GALLERY should pay return shipping to the ARTIST unless otherwise noted in the exhibition or consignment agreement. Not all GALLERIES can afford to pay return shipping, however if they state they do contractually – they should and must honor that.
4. GALLERIES are responsible for artwork in their possession and upon return shipment to the ARTIST. If the work is damaged while in their possession or in the return shipping process to the ARTIST it is the GALLERIES responsibility.
5. All customs fees should be paid by the GALLERY when artwork is shipped to them unless otherwise noted and discussed. A GALLERY can not receive artwork from and ARTIST and then request money from the ARTIST for customs fees.
6. ARTISTS should always be paid in a timely matter. If a GALLERY is having a financial crises then it’s good business to contact those that are expecting payment to express the need for a grace period in payment and communicate with the ARTIST.
7. Just because it says “GALLERY” does not mean that the person or people behind it knows what they are doing. Always do your research before working with galleries. Ask around.
If you are not being treated well, try your best to insight good communications. If unable to resolve it’s time to move on.