Since I'm no longer doing Marketing Mondays and have not yet started Marketing Monthly let's just file this under Major Fraud:
"Atlanta police Major Fraud unit raided a well-known midtown gallery after allegations that the owner has not paid artists for their work."
--Atlanta Channel 2 news
Reporter Rachel Stockman had the story . . .
. . .identifying Bill Lowe as the dealer under investigation, noting that the Major Fraud officers had removed artwork from the gallery. It's important to note that no charges have been filed as this point, but . . .
Donald Sultan, who has been represented by Lowe, put it plainly, as you can read in this screen grab:
In the vast information system that consists largely of artists talking with one another--and now, sharing information via Facebook and other social media--Lowe's name has come up again and again as the dealer who didn't pay. Some recent Facebook comments:
. " I was perpetually puzzled by friends who complained about him but sent work to him anyway. It was a good looking gallery with some well established names like Sultan, and I think some people were willing to put up with him for the resume entry."
. " I know three artists very well who are owed many thousands of dollars by Lowe. There must be dozens at least."
I've talked with dozens. Some artists have gotten paid, typically years after their shows. Here's one artist: "I showed with him from 1989-1994. Finally got fully paid in 1999."
A decade before full payment? That's a disgrace. Some artists did get paid more quickly, others are still waiting.
The majority of art dealers are honest and dedicated, and most are not wealthy. They're in it because they love art. If we are lucky, we get to work with them--and they, with us. We are partners in art. But use the artist information system, contribute to it. It's not libel (written) or slander (spoken) if it's true. There's is nothing libelous or slanderous about relating your personal experience about a gallery that has withheld payment or cheated you. There's nothing libelous about reporting news or investigating allegations.
If you are an artist invited to show at a gallery, ask around, do your due diligence. Talk to other artists from the gallery--or better, artists who have been but are no longer involved. If it sounds bad, even anecdotally, let that be a red flag. Don't get involved with an iffy gallery thinking it won't happen to you. Listen to Donald Sultan.
. There's a written report from Channel 2 Action News, Atlanta, from January 29, 2013, which quotes Sultan and contains a disclaimer from Lowe
. From Marketing Mondays: Gallery Red Flags