It’s a mystery almost as old as the pyramids.
How do artists get gallery representation?
Oh, grasshopper, if I could share the secret of getting gallery representation, I would. Promise. I don’t keep things from you.
3 Things You Can Bet On
There is no secret to getting gallery representation because there is no single way that artists enter gallery stables.
Three things are for certain.
1. You don’t make a few pieces and then start approaching galleries.
That move has amateur written all over it.
2. It will take time, which will test your commitment.
Artists new to the market don’t like to hear that it’s a long process that you must be invested in. Surely there must be a shortcut. A hidden door.
3. Bolstering your relationships with other gallery artists will dramatically increase your chances of getting gallery representation.
You don’t need to believe me. Listen to gallery director Jeremy Tessmer in this episode of The Art Biz podcast.
You’ll hear how Jeremy views an artist’s professionalism, what he thinks of online platforms, and how he taught himself art history (and why that was important to him).
Jeremy describes Sullivan Goss as an on-ramp for collectors and artists—one that connects their roster of local, regional, national, and international artists. You’ll hear him discuss 3 qualities that he looks for in artists, two of which are non-negotiable, and how he views the artists in his gallery as a family. He says that “dealers should have some sense of responsibility for the well-being of their artists.”
Grab a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy this conversation with Jeremy Tessmer.
- The niche that the Sullivan Goss Gallery fills and Jeremy’s role within it. (2:37)
- Sullivan Goss is an on-ramp gallery with the aim of expanding the art world. (7:49)
- The different art worlds need to become more aware of each other. (10:05)
- Jeremy’s journey from writer and tech specialist to art gallerist. (14:04)
- Is it important for artists to be steeped in art history? (23:34)
- Overcoming the anxiety of influence to connect with other artists. (26:21)
- The 3 qualities Jeremy looks for in the artists he represents. (33:30)
- The responsibility a gallery has for nurturing its artists’ careers. (36:10)
- The value of understanding the long game and defining your real interest in an artist’s career. (41:11)
- Things an artist should never say or do to gain the attention of a gallerist. (46:18)
Jeremy Tessmer Quotes
- “All of us need each other, and need to be helping people find their way and expanding the art world.”
- “Artists think that everyone is as interested in sight as they are, and that’s just not the case at all.”
- “Ultimately it’s really critical that you have your own voice.”
- “One of the biggest thrills in the art world is connecting to another human being.”
- “I think dealers should have some sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of their artists.”
- “The secret door into every gallery is the other artists who already show in the gallery.”
About My Guest
Jeremy Tessmer is the Gallery Director and Curator of vintage American art at Sullivan Goss. He has been with the firm almost 20 years, working in every area of the business, including: curation, sales, marketing, and design of everything from exhibition spaces to internal databases and processes. He has special knowledge of the American Modern movement, especially as it occurred on the West Coast. He has also been heavily involved with the gallery’s publication program, helping to produce nineteen books and numerous catalogs, including those on local artists Ray Strong and Hank Pitcher.
Follow Jeremy on Instagram: @jeremyarts
Follow Sullivan Goss on Instagram: @sullivangoss