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9.30.2011

"Authority" Still Wears a Suit and Tie

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What Does An Important Person Look Like?, 2011, 137 archival photographic prints mounted on cintra, each print: 4" x 5"; installation 50" x 240"


I’ve been flat on my back with sciatica the past couple of weeks, watching a fair amount of talk TV, so I can tell you anecdotally that what Jennifer Dalton shows you in her solo exhibition, Cool Guys Like You, at the Winkleman Gallery is the real deal.

Her premise? That the voice of “authority”—in the form of talk show guests and talking heads on the political and culture shows—is overwhelmingly male. Even if you haven’t spent months reasearching, as Dalton seems to have done, you know this to be true. Just turn on the tube.

Click pics to make text readable




But Dalton went beyond the anecdotal. She went into the archives and got the figures. Then she made her trademark charts and graphs. Here’s an excerpt of the statement for the show:

Dear Bill/Brian/Charlie/Jon/Leonard/Rachel/Stephen/Terry:

I listen to or watch you regularly, in most cases for years running. Let's just get this out of the way: I admire you. I admire you for finding a wide variety of intelligent, interesting guests, and for having entertaining and illuminating conversations with them. You radio hosts have made it possible for me to work for hours and days in the studio without going bonkers. And to be completely honest, I have also made artwork while watching all of your TV shows too. . .
. . . But when I looked closely at whom you interview—the people you collectively decide are the most important of the moment . . . what I found was this:

In 2010, the most lopsided show among you featured only 17.5% female guests. The most balanced among you still only featured 34% female guests. The rest of you are in between, but mostly huddled around the more lopsided end of that spectrum.

If I may be so bold, WTF?”

WTF, indeed. That "high" of 34% female guests is just not high enough. Once she makes you look at the gender, you realize that these shows haven’t done so great in the ethnicity department, either. And it’s not all politics, as the images indicate: the lineup of musicians and writers is equally skewed.

I've got to hand it to Dalton: She tackles a topic that seems to be out of fashion with artists (actually, with anyone) under 35. And she makes gender inequality graphically interesting, which means she's getting people to look.

So, Dear Bill/Brian/Charlie/Jon/Leonard/Rachel/Stephen/Terry:
I’d like to propose a guest for your show: Jennifer Dalton. What she has to tell you isn’t pretty, but you need to hear it. And then you need to do something about it.


To Whose Opinions Am I Listening?
A month-by-month chart of eight programs. The numbers don't looks good, as the legend below

The Brian Lehrer Show: 32% female guests
The Colbert Report: 17.5%
Charlie Rose: 20%
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: 21%
Fresh Air with Terry Gross, on NPR: 20.5%
The Leonard Lopate Show: 34%
The Rachel Maddow Show: 19.3%
Real Time with Bill Maher: 26%

Click pic to make numbers legible






 

9.26.2011

Marketing Mondays: Out of Context. Or My Tale of the "Drippy Plaid"

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A friend emailed me the other day to say, "Your work has been taken out of context," and she included a few URLs. I was already aware of the websites. You'd like to think that when you post images of your work they're being seen by your colleagues in the art world:  your artist friends, as well as dealers, curators, critics and collectors. Well, let me tell you the story of my "Drippy Plaid."

A couple of years ago, just after I'd installed Google Alert, I was notified of a blog in which my work was featured. The gouache-on-paper painting was from my Joss series, one of a series of chromatic grids in which drips and irregular spacing energize a field of vertical and horizontal swipes. Somebody liked Joss 43 enough to pull the image from my website and post it on their own. I was identified as the artist. You can see it below. So far, so good. Now note the description, which I isolated and made larger.


The first appearance of a chromatic grid from my Joss series in a design website with description, below:


It seems my Joss series, particularly Joss 43, captured the imagination of some style blogs and over time began making the rounds. From "Pinterfest" (above) it traveled to "Stylebust" (below), where someone thought the "madras-inspired plaid" would look best "in the kitchen."  So my chromatic grid became a "drippy plaid" and then a "madras-inspired" plaid, and from there something, presumably, to go with the curtains, the tablecloth, or perhaps the dishtowels.



Then "Materialicious" (below) got hold of a different image, Joss 59, took it further out of context by lopping off the bottom, and identified it as a "black watch"--which any plaid enthusiast could tell you is defined by specific parameters of color and pattern, light years away from my chromatic grid--and as an "encaustic painting."  But why stop there? The caption writer decided that "artist Joanne Mattera loves the variety of colors found in a good criss-cross pattern!"  Actually, I do, but I wouldn't put it that way.





Finally "Me Melodia" (below) apparently feeling that the mere reference to plaid was not sufficient, went ahead and misconnected the dots from my art to a plaid shirt. This is classic "style page" stuff, but in a fashion or shelter magazine, the connection would not have been to a shirt that could have come from K-Mart. I've placed one screen grab above the other so that you can see the full, honking effect.




To be honest, I'm more concerned than upset. These "style" blogs are enthusiastic, if misguided, about my work. They do provide links to my website so that my work can be seen in the context in which it was intended. But the appearance of my work on these blogs is an object lesson not just for me, but for any one of us.

What happens when our work is taken out of context and put into one that disregards our intent?

Suppose one of those style people decided to create a line of plaid shirts inspired by my "madras-inspired plaids"?  Suppose an image of my work, or an image of yours, became placemats--millions of placemats--cranked out of a factory in China? Or shower curtains? Or screensavers? Or posters? Or turned up on a porn site?  Google Alerts can alert but it can't issue a cease and desist.

Are we posting too many images of our work?
Should we have a watermark in each image?
When does flattery turn into stalking or appropriation?

Today's post has no answers, just questions. Please weigh in. Have you experienced something similar? Or something nefarious? How have you handled it?

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9.22.2011

News of the World

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 David Byrne: Between a wall and a hard place


Chelsea has always had a world view, but suddenly globes are all over the place.

David Byrne’s is the biggest, pressing out from its confines in a former parking lot under the High Line on 25th Street, now an unofficial Pace Gallery space. Hmm, just as the world is getting smaller with social media, the subject in Pace Gallery’s official space next door, Byrne’s inflatable globe seems ominously ready to burst. 
Tight Spot, up through October 1.

Pulling back into the street: Two more views of Tight Spot


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Ingo Gunther has an installation of them in a group show at Bryce Wolkowitz on 26th Street. Called Worldprocessor Globe Installation, it features several dozen 12-inch acrylic spheres identified not only with land masses and countries, but with such information as geologic and atmospheric conditions, time zones, fault lines and other scientific and political information.
Live Theory, up through October 15

Two views of Worldprocessor Globe Installation



Ingo Gunther: Geopolitics and art

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Nick Cave's world view

And over at Mary Boone on 24th Street, one of Nick Cave’s fetishistic sound suits features a clutter of globes and global culture. (Globes or not, see this installation, which Cave himself describes as a “psychedelic, functified freak show that is an accumulation of the decades from the perspective of voodoo woo-loo.” )
For Now, at Mary Boone Gallery, through October 22 and its (globe-free) companion exhibition, Ever-After, at Jack Shaiman Gallery, through October 8.

More geopoltics?? While Byrne's global bubble seems about to burst, Cave's is teetering precariously on a seesaw


You can see some of Cave's costumes in motion on this You Tube video

9.21.2011

9.19.2011

Marketing Mondays: Who is a "Professional Artist"?

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Some years ago, my mother had plans for me to marry a “nice Italian doctor” and live next door to her with my five kids. When it appeared her dreams would never be fulfilled, she revised them. “I hope you’ll marry a nice Italian man.” As time passed, she adjusted her expectations: “A nice man,” she asked for. And then, "A man." Over time it became, "You don’t have to get married right away, as long as you’re serious.”  Followed by, "Have you ever considered having children on your own?"

When she finally accepted my not-in-this-lifetime position about a husband or a husband-like equivalent, and the beyond-remote possibility of offspring, she started in with the idea of my settling down with “a nice woman.”  And now, given the new marriage equality laws in New York State and Massachusetts it’s, “Do you think you’d ever want to get married?"

Some version of this scenario has been mined by comics for years. With good timing, it's truly funny. But that's not why I mention it. I do so because revised definitions were part of  a recent conversation with a friend. He and I were talking about the efforts of a mutual friend, whom he dismissed with, “He’s not really a professional artist.”

I’ll spare you the details of the discussion, because it was the comment that interested me. Thinking blog post, I asked: “What exactly is a professional artist?” 
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“Well,” said my buddy, "it’s an artist who makes his living through the sale of his work." Eyeing me he added, "Or her work.”

My buddy is a tenured professor. While he’s gallery represented and his exhibitions always carry red dots, I know for a fact that it’s his teaching salary that pays the big bills—that and the fact that his partner pulls in a nice salary in a financial industry job. I reminded him of that. 
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He revised his definition: “It’s a gallery-represented artist who shows and sells his or her work.”
“What if the artist doesn’t make enough to live on, especially now? Is the gallery-represented artist any less professional if a partner or spouse to assumes a portion of the expenses?” 
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“Well, no,”  said my friend. “If he’s gallery represented.” 

That last comment unleashed a cascade of questions:
. "What if the artist works full time and isn’t gallery represented but regularly applies for and and receives art grants and residencies?
. What if the work is not commercially viable but critically considered, as in academic galleries and non-profits where sales are not usually part of the agenda?
. Is there a difference between the artist who works every day in the studio and sells through a gallery and the artist who does the same thing and sells through open studios?

“Well, uh, I don’t know,” replied my buddy.  

I don't know either, but it felt like one of those conversations with my mother and her endless revisions about what she wanted for me in a partner.  

Is it just income that makes one a professional artist?  What about professional achievement? Given that the majority of artists do not support themselves fully on the sale of their art—even some of those big names have tenured teaching positions or real estate holdings or family money or a financially supportive spouse, or eventually retirement benefits if they've been putting into a retirement account—I think this is a question worth exploring. 

What do YOU think is a good definition of a "professional artist"?

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9.16.2011

Critical Mass., Part 8: The Last Roundup

Click here to Send Me To Miami.

Before this series: The Chain Letter Show
Part 1: Jennifer Riley, Damian Hoar de Galvan, Nancy Natale
Part 2: Cape Cod Museum of Art and Lorrie Fredette
Part 3: New England Collective

Part 4: Not About Paint at Steven Zevitas
Part 5: Strand at Boston Sculptors
Part 6: Swoon at Boston's ICA
Part 7: Eva Hesse at Boston's ICA

BOSTON--By the time you read this I'll be back in Manhattan to see a new season of shows. In Chelsea I'm particularly interested in seeing Jennifer Dalton at the Winkleman Gallery,  Melissa Meyer at Lennon Weinberg, Ann Pibal at Meulensteen, and a three-artist show, Douglas Melini, Gary Petersen, Sarah Walker, at McKenzie Fine Art. On the LES I'm looking forward to Loren Munk at Lesley Heller Workspace. In Williamsburg, Richard Timperio at Art 101. And in Dumbo, the opening of the new Minus Space. I hope to have posts from all those venues.
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But for now, we're going to take one final look at Massachusetts. This post is the last roundup what I saw and liked. 

Man Ray: A l'heure de l'observatoire - les amoureux (Observatory Time - The Lovers), 1964, after canvas of c. 1931; Man Ray (1890-1976. Image from the PEM website


Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, through December 4

I knew about Emmanuel Radnitsky, aka Man Ray, the American-born artist who spent much of his time in Paris, but not about Lee Miller, former Vogue model who turned things around and became a war photographer and, not incidentally, a contributor to the fashion magazine she once posed for.  Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism celebrates their creative collaboration, which commenced when they became lovers in Paris in the Thirties and ended, for the most part, when she left him several years later.

Lee Miller, Untitled photograph. He looked at her; she looked at the world. Image from the PEM website

No photography was allowed, so I'm keeping my comments brief. since I can't show you what I saw.  This  small, interesting exhibition presents the work they did with and for one another (though Miller was the less obsessed of the two) and includes work by their contemporaries, including Picasso, Dora Maar, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst and Le Corbusier. Calling the relationship, "an extraordinary exploration of the love, lust, and desire that drove the art of the Surrealists, and of a volatile love affair that helped to shape the course of modern art," as the press release does for the catalog, hypes the subject unnecessarily. But if you're in the area, go see it.
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While you're at the museum, stop in to the Art and Nature Center (i.e. the kids' section) to see Ripple Effect, The Art of H20, up through April 30, 2010, which will please any adult as well. I took my almost-10-year-old niece and we both enjoyed it. 


Mags Harries, blown glass, app 24 inches diameter. Image from the PEM website

Then stroll down to actual water--the harbor, which is a five-minute walk away. Avoid the tourist-trap witch stuff on your travels--and unless you are a freak for horror themes and serious traffic congestion, avoid Salem the entire month of October.

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In his third solo show at this gallery, Als Ick Kan, translated as "the best I can do," after a phrase found on several Van Eyk paintings, Sprecher shows mostly loose and appealing abstractions with a geometric bent. I am partial to the smaller works for their quirky composition and palette.

This viewer (I think it's Greg Cook, author of the blog, New England Journal of Aesthetic Research) is looking at two of the paintings I found most appealing. See below:

Above: Silent Hand, 2011, oil on linen, 20 x 16 inches

Below: Inside, 2011, oil on linen, 16 x 12 inches


 Installation on the back wall, which is also partially visible on the top photo in this grouping

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24 Solo Shows  at Bromfield Gallery, Boston, through October 1

The members of this cooperative gallery describe their sprawling exhibition as "24 solo shows." Well, it's their gallery so they can call it what they want, but it looks like a group show to me. The work in the front gallery has a textile bent, and since I'm co-curating a big show that examines textile sensibility in contemporary painting and sculpture (that'll tantalize ya; more down the road), I found several pieces particularly appealing.

As an aside, let me add that Boston artists seem to do well with co-op galleries; there are three within spitting distance (Bromfield, Kingston, Boston Sculptors) in the South End, the work is good, and all  receive media coverage in a way that New York's cooperatives don't.

Ellen Wineberg,  detail from Idyll, mixed media and embroidery on canvas

Below: Wineberg's installation


Corner installation, viewed as you enter the gallery

Tim McDonald, White Noise/Titanium Slide, 2011, acrylic, canvas, flannel, and burlap, 31 x 16 inches. That skin of white acrylic functions as "cloth" while the fabrics function as "painting"

Kathleen Volp, I Think of You, 2011, oil and graphite on fabrics and wood, 18 x 18 inches

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Abstraction: Two Views at the Hoadley Gallery, Lenox, exhibition over (but some work may still be available for viewing)

View of the gallery from the street

If you spend all of your time in New York City or any large metropolis, it's easy to forget that the white cube is not the only way to show art, and that fine art is not the only creative product available for exhibition and sale. I was pleasantly reminded of this when I stopped in at the Hoadley Gallery in Lenox, in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Thomas Hoadley, with his wife and partner, Stephanie Hoadley, run a gallery that shows paintings and fine crafts. The exhibition I saw was Abstraction: Two Views, which eatured Hoadley's work, as well as that of the Michigan-based painter, Graceann Warn.

Both artists work abstractly, geometrically, with rich surfaces--Warn with encaustic, Hoadley with marble dust mixed into his acrylic. It is the materiality of their surfaces, as much as their restrained compositions, that drew me in. (I'd juried a painting of Hoadley's into the New England Collective show in Boston, which is the first time I saw his work, and why I decided to detour into Lenox on my way to the Hudson Valley.)

Graceann Warn, Abacus, encaustic assemblage on panel, 30 x 60 x 2 inches

Paintings by Warn, foreground, and Hoadley, occupy the walls, while ceramic objects occupy the gallery space

Below: the painting visible on the far wall
Thomas Hoadley, Gray Area, marble dust and acrylic on linen, 17 x 12 inches


I had such a good (and relaxing) time in Massachusetts this summer that I'm going to do it again next year. I guess that means Critical Mass., Volume 2. Now it's back to Chelsea

9.14.2011

Artists and the Economy

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"American artists, performers and thinkers, representing our values and ideals, can inspire people both at home and all over the world."
- Barack Obama


Recently 65 artists sent postcards to the White House acknowledging their economic concerns. Conceived by Mat Gleason for artists who have 50K or more in student load debt, the project expanded to any artist who was experiencing money troubles. I suspect there would have been more participants, but we were all too busy working.

New York artist Caroline J. Nye created a blogsite to show the work. I pulled one image and its accompanying quote for this post:


Deborah Colleen Martin, New Mexico
"I'm a bronze sculptor, self-empolyed, 57, no health insurance or retirement,still have 20K in student loan debt from grad school. Here's my card, It's polished and engraved sheet metal with patina and applique lettering. Hope they get the message...."


Meanwhile . . .

The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced in a press release just how much the arts can stimulate the economy. I'm reproducing the first few paragraphs: 

(New York, September 12, 2011)—The Metropolitan Museum’s concurrent presentation of four acclaimed and widely attended exhibitions in the summer 2011 season—Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty; Anthony Caro on the Roof; Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective; and Rooms with a View: The Open Window in the 19th Century—generated $908 million in spending by regional, national, and international tourists to New York, according to a visitor survey the Museum released today. Using the industry standard for calculating tax revenue impact, the study found that the direct tax benefit to the City and State from out-of-town visitors to the Museum totaled some $90.8 million. (Results of visitor survey are below.)

The survey found that 68% of the visitors traveled from outside the five boroughs of New York. Of these, 20% were from the Tri-State area, 38% were from other states, and 42% were international visitors. Eighty-two percent of travelers reported staying overnight in the City; of these, 72% stayed in a hotel or motel. The median length of stay in the City was 5 days.

These visitors reported spending an average $927 per person ($599 for lodging, dining, sightseeing, entertainment, admission to museums, and local transportation and another $328 for shopping) during their stay in New York.


Bottom line: Arts enrich a city not only culturally but economically.


And meanwhile still . . .

Let's assume there are plenty of visitors who also come for the art galleries, On-and Off-Broadway shows, the jazz concerts, musical performance and dance.

While many galleries and small commercial institutions are holding their own, some are barely squeaking by. Many not-for-profit institutions have seen their funding cut drastically. As artists in all creative disciplines, we understand the stituation. It is we who are the backbone, the lifeblood, the heart and soul of these venues. Without us there is no there there.

So yet again, I have to wonder: How are artists being funded and supported now? How many studio rents are subsidized? How many grants are being given? How many paintings and sculptures are being acquired--not in the multimillion-dollar stratosphere but at the proponderance of mid-level galleries who represent mid-level artists?  How are all those newly minted artists supporting themselves? And how are senior artists, many of whom have worked a lifetime in their studios, faring if they don't receive retirement benefits of any kind. (You have to pay into a 401K and Social Security to be able to get anything out of it.) 

And that brings us back to the postcard that opened this post.

Added 9.14.11
In 2009, just after the bailout to the banks started, I wrote a piece called Where's the Bailout for the Arts?  in which I noted the kinds of creative-economy jobs that get lost, and the impact those losses have on the economy of New York City. Repeat this scenario in every major city, and you see the scope of the problem.  A commenter on the original post asked why the government should get involved. Because federal money is used to support many kinds of projects from roads to education to healthcare. The arts are no less legitimate or important. 

9.12.2011

What's the Deal . . .?

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Today I've grouped  five related questions  from readers, all recent. One of those questions began with “What’s the deal . . .” and I've adopted that phrase as the title and the repetitive element for each question. I have  written about each of these topics in the past, either in dedicated  posts or in passing, but there are a lot of  new readers  (welcome!) so I’ll address them here with reference to the earlier posts.


What’s the deal with galleries that state ‘we do not accept unsolicited submissions’ on their website? Is it still OK to contact them and ask them to look at my work, or do they just wish not to be bothered? "
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Dealers running a private business have every right to determine how they wish to run it. If they do not wish to view unsolicited submissions, you will most likely waste your time and money preparing and sending a package. And if you contact them and ask them to look at your work,  you will almost surely piss them off.

Dealers are always looking on their own terms, however. Here’s how Chelsea gallerist Edward Winkleman, writing his book, How to Start and Run a Commercial Gallery, found/finds his artists, in order of frequency: "recommendations (including from other dealers), institutional exhibitions, open studios, cold-call submissions."

Winkleman is not alone. Unsolicited, or cold-call, submissions require a staffer to open them. In lean times such as this, galleries are cutting back on staff, so a staffer's time will more likely be put to use in helping run the gallery's day-to-day operation than opening packages and sending yea or (mostly ) nay letters. Instead, consider other ways to get a dealer's eyes on your work. Send a postcard of a show you’re in, a website that’s been updated, new work in the studio, or news of an Open Studio. The postcard is a quick look for a dealer, who has the option of responding or not. If the exhibition is nearby, a dealer whose interest is piqued by the image just might pop in to see the show. Make sure your name in on the front of the postcard with the image. Just as you might post an interesting postcard image on your wall, so might a dealer or gallery assistant. Over time, that image may work its way into the psyche of a dealer. Then again, it may be tossed along with the junk mail—but it’s certainly cheaper than an unsolicited submission package, and a lot less intrusive to the dealer.

Additional MM posts:
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"What’s the deal with artist-curators who put their own work in a show?

Eyebrows used to be raised when artists put themselves in exhibitions they curated. But since the economic downturn, artists, dealers and curators are finding ways to create opportunities for themselves. As a result, I think there’s new respect for the entrepreneurial artist-curator. (Frankly, in this economic climate, I think there's new respect for anyone who can keep doing what they do.)

In my own experience, sometimes I include my work, sometime not. I think if an artist curates and always includes her/his work, you have to examine the artist-curator's ulterior motive. Are they not getting invited to show anywhere else? On the other hand, sometimes the fit is right. Pop-up shows and academic galleries seem like good places for artist-curators to include their work; indeed non-commercial venues of all kinds seem to encourage a colloquy—of community, of concept, of colleagues—which the curator can be part. In commercial galleries, not so much.

Additional MM posts:
. Artists: Should We Write and Curate?
These are not Marketing Mondays posts, but in them I talk about curating:
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"What’s the deal with curators who make a studio visit and then . . . nothing?

I’m going to go back to a post I did in February 2010 with Mary Birmingham, then curator at the Hunterdon Art Museum, who says it clearly:
 “Curators visit artists for all kinds of reasons. Maybe I'm planning a show and am considering your work; maybe I'm curious about work I've seen in an exhibition and want to see more; maybe I'm doing someone a favor or accompanying another curator on her rounds; maybe I'm actually interested in possibly offering you a solo show; or maybe none of the above. The important thing is to not read too much into it. I sometimes sense an impatience on the part of artists I've visited when nothing immediately comes of it. Curators have lots of other factors that influence whether or not they will work with a particular artist--often out of their control. Remember that if a curator visits you there's a good likelihood he/she liked your work to begin with. That may be all you get--at least for the moment.”

I have made studio visits to artists whose work interested me and whose work I wanted to follow. While a visit has sometimes resulted in an immediate blog post, it may not have resulted in anything tangible (yet). However, having seen the work up close and visited with the artist, I have mentioned an artist to a gallery or curator or to other artists. Right now I am planning to include an artist in a show I’m co-curating; the studio visit took place over a year ago.

Additional MM posts:
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"What’s the deal with collectors who expect huge discounts? Don’t they know I’m already giving 50% of that price to the dealer? "
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You’ve brought up two issues here. First, You are not giving up 50% to the dealer. You and the dealer have reached an agreed-upon price that satisfies each of you. You make the work; the dealer sells it. Even Steven.

However, as a second point, I couldn’t agree more: Some collectors are asking for too much in the way of a discount. Thank you, crappy economy.
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It’s not unusual for a dealer to allow a 10% “courtesy” to a regular client (or for artists to build that discount into their price). But some aggressive clients, taking advantage of the current financial climate, are requesting discounts of 30 or 40 percent. You want a dealer to deal--to negotiate a financial arrangement that satisfies the client without giving the work away. Fifteen or 20 percent? Maybe, if they're regular clients, if they're acquiring multiple works of yours. If you have a dealer who's caving to bigger discounts, speak up. Let the dealer know you're willing to go up to X percentage, but not more--or at least not without a discussion. This is your work we're talking about!

There's no hard-and-fast rule about discounts. Some dealers expect you to split the first 10 percent and will then absorb the rest, while other dealers expect a split down the middle. Make sure the discount terms are in a contact. Absent a contract, talk with your dealer. Remind him, that you're not getting 20 percent off your monthly rent (but he knows that, because he's not getting 20 percent off of his, either.)  
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Some artists and dealers have countered by adding an extra 20 or 30 percent onto their prices so that the collector is happy with the "discount," but that creates a potentially endless price inflation at a time when sales are slow for the average mid-level dealer and artist.
Additional MM posts:
. The Dealer’s Commission
. Lets Talk Prices
Update 9.12.11:

. Paddy Johnson's report on gallerist  Priska C. Jushka getting sued by an artist for, among other issues (like non-payment) over discounting work without the artist's permission
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"What’s the deal with: Galleries that expect 60 percent of the sale price?"

The 50/50 split makes sense for the reasons I noted in the previous response. But I have to say that 60% of the price, even if you get what you want, makes me nervous. Who made the art, anyway? I'm aware of one gallery in San Francisco and another in New York City that operate with these terms. An artist who shows at one said, in essence, “They sell so well for me that I go along with it.”  But in a business where there are few hard-and-fast rules, mutuality is one of the basic concepts we can expect. I'd like to hear from anyone who feels they can defend that imbalance.
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And as always, your comments are welcome.

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