5 Questions all gallery owners should be asking themselves

Analysing the developments of the galerist and its current issues

"The art market has never been so fast," said Marc Spiegler, last November in his ovation speech during the Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium 2015. Art Basel global director notes the major changes that affect galleries today, including in depth. By isolating 10 major issues that all gallery owners should ask themselves today, Marc Spiegler says it is vital that the profession of gallerist changes according to the market and its new issues. Artsper selected 5 questions you have to ask yourself today.

1. How many art fairs should I do?

Art fairs bring some credibility to the galleries that have a booth. For a gallery, choosing to apply for a fair rather than another is not always an easy decision.

The "fairtigue" contraction of fair and fatigue is a consequential phenomenon of the growing number of fairs over the last decade. This neologism depicts the feeling caused by an overflow of fairs and artwork in the context of these events periods primary to the functioning of the market. Finding your path in the increasing number of new fairs and new branches of existing fairs seems harder that ever and some galleries invest their time and money in inappropriate fairs. In fact, they mostly feel the need to attend numerous fairs to be visible, both to their collectors but also to their artists. It is better to be on a fair for 2 or 3 years rather than give up on a fair that was inconclusive. In fact, in terms of sales,it is more conclusive to choose quality rather than quantity.

2. Is the art world’s speed a fatal addiction?

The art market is constantly changing and it is sometimes difficult to follow trends and news.

The artists' careers is increasingly shortening, they start early and have a few years to prove themselves. The market is changing, offering some works at auction only two years after leaving the studio. One consequence of the fastmarket is the effect on the work of young artists who don't represent a movement but whose artworks are more kind of "merchandising". To illustrate this trend, Marc Spiegler quotes an article entitled Zombies on the Wall, published on www.artcritical.com, in 2014. The rise of the online art market also increases the speed of the market. You can purchase art everywhere, at any time and with one click. Communicating online massively democratizes contemporary art and sharpens the eyes of collectors and first-time buyers.

3. Does Instagram replace Artforum ads? Art fair booths? My gallery? Me?

In 2016, Instagram is the most used network by actors of the art market. A meteoric rise that worries some.

Some Instagram accounts are presented today as exclusively online galleries. Without a storefront, art lovers are turning gallerists to promote their artists online. Meanwhile, some artists think they can sell their own artworks through social networks and remote exhibitions. Indeed, the end of galleries was foretold a few years ago but it still seems that the traditional gallery space confirms its importance in the context of the art sale. Fairs for their part are always full of visitors, confirming the importance given to social events of the art market and in human contact for selling art. Instagram has therefore not planned to replace you.

4. Do I need to be paying rent for a gallery space?

Mutations in the art market lead the most pessimistic to question the traditional white cube and the space of the gallery in general.

Ironically, while some gallery owners plan to continue their careers without renting an exhibition space, many galleries open a 2nd space in the same city or abroad. Although some argue that no one enters the gallery, the physical space is always paramount. Artists do not want to work with galleries that do not have a space. That said, it is important for a gallery to renew. Change space every 7 or 10 years energizes and revitalizes the work of the gallery. The architecture of the place and the neighborhood in which it was implemented is part of the identity of the gallery. A classical White Cube in the Marais will not have the same effect as an Hôtel Particulier in Montmartre.

5. Should I continue being a gallerist?

Marc Spiegler, concluded his speech with an existential question. His answer in video:

Marc Spiegler, 2 November 2015, Barcelona © TALKING GALLERIES

Kenza Zidi

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