An Offer I CAN Refuse

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So it's not enough that I get unsolicited e-mails for Viagra and penis enlargements. Now it's one for career enlargement. Talk about getting dick.

Here's the opening line from Galerie Gora ( "We have viewed your work and would like to offer you an opportunity for an exhibition of your work in Montreal, for the year 2007/2008."

Umm, hmm. An unsolicited offer from a gallery that I've never had anything to do with? From a gallery that trolls for artists in the classified ads of the art magazines? Let's look at their "opportunity" on the Con-O-Meter, shall we? I've excerpted some of their "Terms and Conditions" in red.

. They want money to show your work. . . . (The fee for a solo exhibition is US $2,400.00 to cover gallery expenses. The fee to take part in a group exhibition is $250.00 for first work and $150.00 for each additional work...Please send to the gallery: Completed and signed application, International bank/postal money order or bank transfer. You will then receive a confirmation, an exhibition date and other related information....The balance of the fee is payable 5 weeks prior to the exhibition date. )
And how many "solo shows" will they install at one time?
. . . .needle skipping over Legitimate and jumping straight to Con

. They expect you ship it to them at your expense. . . (Artists are responsible for all shipping fees and procedures to and from the gallery door.)
After they've taken over two grand from you?
. . . needle heading from Con to Rip Off

. They expect a commission if the work sells. . . (The gallery takes a 10% commission during the 3 week exhibition.)
Sounds like a nice low commission, but where's the incentive for them to actually sell anything if they've gotten their money up front from you? Ten percent of nothing is, um, let me calculate: Nothing.
. . . . needle heading from Rip Off to You Can't Be Serious??

. You need to retrieve the work within 10 days after the show ends. . . (If the work is not retained for representation, it must be picked up from the gallery within 10 working days following the end of the exhibition.)
And why should they retain it for "representation" when they can bring in a new batch of paying artists?
. . . needle heading from You Can't Be Serious?? to You're Effing Kidding Me!

. They assume no responsibility for the work. Ever. . . . (Gallery Gora will take every possible care for the safety of all work; however, Gallery Gora or its staff is not responsible for any loss or damage of any work, during shipping, storage, on exhibit, at art fairs or at associate galleries.)
They take take no responsibility for the work even after you pay to ship it and show it?! Out of the money they take from you--which they say is to cover gallery expenses--they can't provide insurance? Insurance is a gallery expense.
. . . Con-O-Meter needle heading straight to Ninth Circle of Hell

Wait, there's more! (Gallery Gora also offers: Custom framing, Publication of artist catalogues and posters. For a price quote or for more information, please contact the gallery.)

And more! (Advertising options are available at extra cost. )

I'll pass on the extras and the options. In fact, I'll pass on the whole offer.
Comments welcome!


Lisa and Tam said...

Thanks for telling it like it is. As an emerging artist, it is refreshing to see someone being honest and upfront about the shadier aspects of the art biz. You're artwork is an inspiration, and your words ignite!

Daniel Sroka said...

These types of emails are especially grating because they prey on the hopefulness of many artists. They exploit that feeling you get when you first see the subject, and for a moment think "hey! someone wants me!".

In addition to emails, I've even gotten phone calls like this. Two were from "television producers" looking for artists to interview on their HGTV-like shows. After the first blush of pride wears off, you quickly learn that their shows are just paid advertising that they hope to sell to local TV stations with dead air in the middle of the night.

Walker said...

Hey, I thought I was the only artist invited! Yea, I read through the fine print and came to the same conclusions as you - but you sure said it better! Hope your message gets out to the more gullible ones.

Martha Marshall said...

Great post, Joanne! Thanks for shining a light on a vermin-infested corner of the art world.

Lisa Hunter said...

Another tell-tale sign is a Canadian gallery looking for American artists. Many galleries here get government subsidies for promoting Canadian art, so the criteria are somewhat nationalistic.

Bradley Hankey said...

Thanks for the post Joanne. It is nice to hear a voice standing up for emerging artists instead of trying to scam them into an expensive 'solo' show.

johann said...

oooooh! Ive been approached by them too...and have agreed to send 3 works for an exhibition. Im a little concerned, but have to say that the treatment Ive had from them hasnt raised any problems yet...they are helpful and seem genuine. I'll let you know what happens after April when my 3 works go on show there in a group exhibition. Keep fingers crossed please!

Anonymous said...

I had an email like this today, March 19th 2009. They are obviously still going strong!

Tyler Snoek said...

I'm afraid I got suckered into this as well. It's a complete nightmare. My opening is on the September 29th. Come take a look. You'll be so glad it's not you. Anyone who has had any experience with these guys please contact me. It's time for a change. I'm at

Michael Tangen said...

The e-mail is still circulating and they're still hitting up artists (new, emerging, and wanna-be) for exhibitions and the prices have gone up.

3. Exhibition Fee
A - Solo Exhibition
- Each artist can have up to 20 pieces of work depending on size
- The fee for a solo exhibition is $2,700.00 to cover gallery expenses.
- The first $2,700.00 of sale are commission free.
- The gallery takes a 20% commission during the 3 week exhibition
- A deposit of $800.00 is paid together with the application. It is
payable by International Money Order to “Gallery Gora” or an electronic
bank transfer to (see application form page 4)
- The balance of the fee is payable 5 weeks prior to the exhibition
date. All money is refundable in full if Gallery Gora cancels the
B - Group exhibition
- The fee to take part in a group exhibition is $275.00 for first work
and $160.00 for each additional work.
- The number of artists in a group show depends on the total number of
works. The width of each work should not exceed 3ft or it will be
counted as two works. The mode of payment is similar to the solo
exhibition, deposit is 20% of total fee.

Anonymous said...

Galerie Gora is a SCAM! Stay away form them. Seriously, it is one big ponzi scheme. They use artists and lie, and they seem to have a different person working with them every week!!!

They are not the least bit helpful!

Unknown said...

Galerie Gora does exploit artists and it is a scam. They will display your work and hold an "exhibition" but not one that attracts attention that will get your paintings sold or gain you recognition.

They do not advertise the exhibitions of the artists professionally in which will gain attention. The minimum turn out for an artist opening (which they send out invites via their FB page)is maybe 15-30 people(maybe more if it is a local artist but this is rare) in which mostly come for the free drinks offered for the opening. Not only that, nobody visits this gallery unless it's for an event.

Their major income comes from events. They hold "events" at the gallery while your works are paid for an exhibition. Their events consist of weddings and corporate business parties in which they rent out their gallery space with your works on display- and if your paintings don't fit with their theme for their events they will take your paintings down before your time is up after you've paid for an exhibition.

Basically, they troll the net for gullible artists and use your art free of use ( after you pay!!)and then they use it to promote their gallery as a space to rent out at absurd fees for their "events" with complete catering to host parties. And you wonder why they say " we are not liable for any damaged works...ect" because they serve alcohol and food around your paintings which could become damaged.

Avoid this gallery like the plague- I hope people become aware of this and don't fall into their scam. I find it disgusting at how this Gallery could even consider a business ripping off artists like this.