In the last few days I've had a couple of emails from separate artists asking if I knew who the "backers" of a local gallery are.
What's a "backer," you may ask?
A backer is someone, usually an anonymous partner (often with more money than sense), who backs the gallery with money, so that the risky business of staying afloat as a business can be accomplished while at the same time dancing on the leading edge of visual culture.
Anecdote: I was once giving a DC area museum director a ride to his/her home, as the director had come to visit the gallery to look at our show. On the ride home, we started to discuss area galleries, and to gossip about them.
"So you guys are doing pretty well," the director notes, "with two galleries and all."
"It's a lot of work," I answered.
"So," says the director looking at me, "who's your backer?"
I looked at the director with a slight grin on my face, as I've been asked this question a million times before and I have such a good answer.
"For our first gallery in Georgetown," I began to answer, "it was Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard."
"For the large, new Bethesda gallery," I continued, "it was Southern Financial Bank's loan officer!" (We paid the entire loan off in our first year at Bethesda, by the way, as I hate owing money).
The director looked at me with a strange look, obviously a little disconcerted by the look of childish glee on my face.
Anyway... back to "backers."
In the last two or three months we have been approached by two separate individuals offering to "back us" in opening a gallery in Florida. One "backer" wanted to back a Fraser Gallery in Miami, while the second one offered to back us in opening a gallery in West Palm Beach.
We turned them down, naturally, it's already too much work running two galleries, and of course, with any "backer" comes a loss of total control of the business; money talks.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
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