Now you have your shortlist of commercial galleries you are interested in, work through this list and try to find out more information on the gallery and its director.
This list represents points to consider or potential services depending on the gallery and how you negotiate your relationship with them. Whatever information the gallery provides can be checked through friends and other sources.
- What is the gallery about? What is their remit and long-term agenda? Are they similar to yours?
- Do they work with artists working in the same media / career level as you?
- Are their ambitions realistic?
- What are the background, CV and training of the gallery director? – it’s not always possible to glean this information easily but it’s worth trying to find out about their interests, to see if they correspond with yours, and their reputation.
- Does the gallery appear financially secure? Is it safe in a prolonged recession? Again this information, whilst important, can be hard to find, but much could be available from Companies House.
- Has the director worked for reputable galleries in the past?
- Does the gallery exhibit at reputable fairs, such as Art Basel, Frieze, or their ancillary satellite fairs?
- Does the gallery give regular repeat solo shows for their artists (not just group shows)?
- Does the gallery have strong connections with reputable galleries abroad?
- Does the gallery have a regular following of quality collectors?
Who are the other artists represented?
- If you know any of them, it’s worth asking them about their experiences.
- If you don’t know them, it’s worth asking around to try to contact them and ask.
- Is there a specific type of artist represented? What common features, if any, exist between the artists represented, and do you fit within that?
- Has there been much turnover of represented artists? If so, why?
- Have artists been poached by more established galleries, or have artists come after their contracts with such galleries been terminated?
- How many artists are represented? Galleries usually have a maximum number of artists they can represent before their resources cannot stretch to working with any more artists.
- What level of care does this gallery offer their artists, beyond shows and selling? Do they place work carefully (in important private or public collections, for example) or just sell, sell, sell?
- How exclusive is your arrangement – does the gallery have rights to all new work, work in a specific region / country?
- How does the gallery handle you selling work outside of the gallery? What percentage does the gallery get if they don’t facilitate the sale?
- Will the gallery allow you to show in other people’s shows, i.e. group shows in other galleries, if so at what percentage if sales are made?
© Medeia Cohan-Petrolino