getting your art into a gallery. part 1: question everything.

by Baang and Burne

I came across the following blog post by Baang and Burne yesterday and the good people there have allowed me to share it with you. The post articulated many of the conversations that I have had with artists recently which is why I thought it would be good to share.  one hundredth gallery is all about helping aspiring and emerging artists get their work out into the public; but first and foremost, artists need to understand what their objectives are, both for their art, and for themselves.

Every Artist  I talk to lately wants to be in a gallery. But why?

Too many of us Artists rarely even stop to ask ourselves this one very simple, yet crucial, question.

What exactly do you expect a gallery to do for you?

Anyone can hang your work on 4 walls, send out invitations and pour some wine.  What is it that the gallery is expected to do during the exhibition that you cannot do yourself, right now?

Do you want into a gallery because you want exhibitions of your work?  Do you want into a gallery because you want more sales to more collectors?

Do you want into a gallery because you think it will get you a review in Art in America, placement in prestigious museum collections, and the chance to represent your country in the Venice Biennial?

What do you think will change in your career once you get into a gallery?

Here’s another critical question to consider:

Are you and your artwork even ready to be in a gallery?

Do you have a strong and cohesive body of available work, a well developed list of collectors who have bought your work or expressed interest in buying your work in the past?

What about inventory?  Do you have enough high quality new work to keep the gallery’s backroom stocked when collector’s show interest?

Do you have a solid and consistent enough studio practice that guarantees you’ll be able to keep producing a decent amount of high quality work?

How talented are you at promoting your own work?  Can you talk about your work in a clear and confident way when a collector asks you a question?

Have you created an Artist Statement that crafts a compelling story about you and your work to help the gallery introduce your work to new collectors?

In another words, are you prepared to help the gallery sell your work or  are you clinging to the outdated idea that you will just hand over your art and let the gallery handle all the “business stuff’?

And last but not least–Do you fully understand the risks you take and the complexities of the business partnership you’re getting involved in when you enter into a business contract with a gallery?

The relationship you create with your gallery is a critical one. The right fit and the right approach could win you a champion for your artwork for the entirety of your career, or it could make your life an absolute nightmare.

I pose all of these questions because you need to be absolutely clear in your expectations and understand exactly what is required of you.

Question everything.

Only when you’re completely clear on the why, should you start to look for any type of gallery representation.


– Charlie Grosso (aka  Mr. Baang)