Monday, February 11, 2008

More Bad Things Artists do to Galleries

This actually happened to a gallery in Georgetown, in Washington, DC in the 1990s:

Back when there were eight galleries in Canal Square, one of the galleries had given a show to a local -- at the time "hot" artist -- who was a painter (I say "was" because I haven't heard of the dude in years).

The artist was supposed to deliver and help hang all the paintings on a Wednesday, in order to be ready for the Georgetown third Friday openings. He did show up on Wednesday with about 50% of the work, and brought some more (freshly finished) on Thursday and to the gallerist's horror, even brought some more on Friday, and even as the show was opening at 6PM, was adding the last painting touches to several of the works.

Needless to say, several of the oils were actually wet when people starting showing up. On opening night, it was crowded, and someone apparently rubbed against one of the paintings and smeared some of the oil paint.

Now the gallerist was faced with a very irate person, demanding that his suit be cleaned (it eventually had to be replaced) and with a furious artist, demanding that the gallery pay him in full for the damaged painting.

If I am to believe the gallerist, the case actually went to court, where the judge threw it out.

More Bad Things Galleries do to Artists

This has happened to artists several times in my memories, both in the US and in Europe:

Artist and gallery owner agree to do a show of the artist's work. The gallery, like many all over the world, also has a side business as a framing shop, and tells the artist that they will take care of the framing.

The artist agrees on a handshake, and never asks for a contract, or costs, assuming that the gallerist knows what he is doing.

On opening night the artist shows up and is not too keen about the framing, but it's too late for any real discussions, as people are beginning to show up. Several pieces are sold, and the artist is very happy with the opening.

At the end of the show, the artist gets a letter in the mail from the gallery. Excited to see the payment for the sold work, the artist opens the envelope and finds a framing bill.

The bill details the cost of the framing, substracts from that amount the artist's commission from the sold work, and bills the artist for the remaining amount, as framing is very expensive.

Anger follows...

More bad things that (a) galleries do to artists or (b) artists do to galleries or (c) galleries do to collectors here, and here and here.


To all the semi-finalists for the $25,000 Sondheim Prize:

Becky Alprin, Laura Amussen, Rachel Bone, Ryan Browning, Mandy Burrow, Linda Day Clark, Brent Crothers, Melissa Dickenson, Eric Finzi, Laurie Flannery, Shaun Flynn, Dawn Gavin, Geoff Grace, Maren Hassinger, Kay Hwang, Courtney Jordan, Bridget Sue Lambert, Youngmi Song Organ, Beverly Ress, James Rieck, Christopher Saah, Lynn Silverman, Molly Springfield, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Calla Thompson, Edward Winter, and Erin Womack.

DC area artist Eric Finzi is having an opening for his latest works with a show titled "My Double Life: Musings on Sarah Bernhardt" at Bethesda's Heineman-Myers Contemporay soon. The opening is March 1, 2008 from 6-9PM. See the exhibition catalog here.