I've realized that some galleries treat their artists better than others at exhibition openings.
This post is for artists who are new to the gallery scene and wondering what they should expect.
It's also for gallerists who either aren't treating their artists with common courtesies or aren't taking advantage of their presence at events.
Gallery staff should inform the artists of all details surrounding the opening event and get an RSVP from each artist. Artists should know that they are invited and encouraged to attend.
Artists shouldn't have to go to a website to find out the time of an event because the gallery didn't tell them about it.
All gallery staff should know who the artists are. Look up their photos! Read their statements and bios. Know them.
The staff should greet the artists warmly and treat them generously. It is, after all, because of the artists that the galleries have anything on their walls or pedestals.
Artists should be introduced to other artists and top collectors.
I asked an artist at a recent opening if one of the other 5 artists was present and she said she had no idea. “The gallery isn't very good at communicating,” she said.
For The Good Of The Gallery
Galleries should take photos of the artists with the art and with gallery visitors.
Such photos can be used to promote the vitality of the gallery on the gallery's website, in the gallery's newsletter, and on social media.
Time Out To Acknowledge Your Duh Moment
I know what you're saying right now. You're saying, Duh! But what I'm describing here doesn't always happen.
I cannot make this stuff up. I have witnessed self-absorbed gallerists ignoring artists with my own two peepers.
Gallerists get bonus points if the artists are wearing name tags.
Extra points are also scored if artists are invited to say a few words about their art. I mean . . . c'mon! . . . the artists are right there in the room. Why not take advantage of their presence?
And while you're at it, make arrangements to video the artist speaking and add footage to YouTube, your website, and other social media sites. Send a link to the video to any clients who couldn't make the opening.
Listen up, gallerists: The artists can help you sell the work! But you have to make them want to help you.
Artists Have Responsibilities, Too
I have followed up this article with another on what gallerists should expect from artists. It's a two-way street! You need one another.
Please leave comments here related to either topic. I'd love to hear about your experience.