Hello, please excuse my naivete on this subject but I know next to nothing about gallery shows. I was wondering all the basics such as why put them on? How do you put them on? Is it primarily to show the art or sell it or both? Is it only for original art? Screen prints? Can offset be shown? Can they be held at places other than galleries? How do you find galleries that are interested? Etc, etc.
Hey Dave,I have had but two exhibitions so far and neither of them were in an art gallery.the first one was in the town library in the exhibition area and the second was in a french cafe in cardiff where my friend used to work!i suppose the primary reasons for having an exhibition is to get your work recognised and to sell a few pictures;you'd have to discuss with the proprieter or whatever what kinda work they're looking for but i doubt that would be too much of a problem.in saying that,i recently contacted a gallery who were having an exhibition of posters but they didn't want my work cause they were only looking for american posters for current gigs,which kinda sucks cause this gallery is in england!
I own what I guess might be considered a gallery. It's actually a frame shop(in chicago), but it has a decent amount of wall space, so I am starting to hold shows. As the owner, of coures the point of a show is to make money, or at least break even. Besides that, it is also used to get some exposure in gallery listings, newspapers, etc. I've have seen a lot of shows in alternative spaces: bars, coffee shops, public institutions, etc.
The biggest challenge for me is to hold a show that actually attracts people who will buy. My mailing list isn't that extensive yet, so that is a limited option. Advertising is another option, but that only goes as far as the artist's name will take it. The rest is just the word of mouth and circle of friends of the artist and the gallery. It's tough to justify a show for me right now, as there will certaintly be the expenses of advertising, catering, printing costs for show literature, and labor, especially when you consider the cost of this kind of artwork. Taking a percentage of the sales, we'd have to sell a shitload of $30 prints to cover. I'm hosting a show for Steve Walters in July, and I'm doing it to coincide with a big ass street fest to be held on the street I'm on. That will provide the crowd I need, and also provide nice exposure for both Steve and the gallery.
With all that said, I'd say the biggest problem for lesser known artist to get a show consisting of gigposter type prints is in the nature the art sold. While a show selling more expensive fine art originals, or prints by well known artists like Kozik or Hess, might only have to sell 10 pieces to be considered successful, a show with $30 prints will have to sell twenty times as many to be successful.
I do think that a large scale show consisting of a bunch of artists from around the country could be successful. A gigposter "convention" was mentioned on this board a while back, but I don't think anything ever came of it. That is still something that I'd like to get going.
Pretty long winded, I know.
Anyway, I'm a seller of this type of artwork, and more than that, a fan. My advice to an artist is to approach place like cafes, bars, etc that have revolving art displays and get it going that way. You probably won't sell much at first, but it will get your stuff seen. Places like that will be more receptive because they aren't really trying to make money off the show, they just want cool stuff for their walls. They usually won't do much in the way of promotion, though. Past that, there are the instutional type shows at libraries, schools, etc. Galleries specializing in pop or lowbrow art might also be receptive. Group shows are also great, as they also provide bigger built in audiences. Go into the cool galleries and businesses in your area, and just talk to them, show them your shit, see what they say.
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: hammersmith on 2002-05-12 11:55 ]</font>
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: hammersmith on 2002-05-12 12:27 ]</font>
I curated a show at a student-run gallery here in Baltimore last fall. I was approached by the gallery to put to put on a show of my posters there a few months before, since most of the students who frequent the gallery were familiar with the work, and so were lots of people outside the gallery. Two weeks later they said, well how about you curate a show that's your posters, and work you think makes sense with yours...so I threw in sculptures/paitings/prints/drawings/comics by a bunch of kids I knew. The show went over very well...
Two months or so passes after the show, and a member of the mayor's art council emails me telling me he loved the show and wonders if I'd want to curate a show for the annual arts festival in Baltimore. I say of course, we meet up, and he said to me "what I liked most were the posters". So right now I'm in the finishing stages of lining up that poster show...I'll be posting info on it here as soon it's all concrete (there're a few details to be finagled still)...
So for me...it all just kinda fell into my lap. Well, the first one did, then I proved myself good at putting a show together, so another one happened.
I'd say just ask around town at local alternative space sorta galleries or like others suggested, bars, coffeeshops, libraries, etc. I had talked with a friend about showig my stuff at a bar he works at in Richmond, but nothing ever came of it...maybe it will soon... and my Senior Thesis first semester exhibition I did on the second floor of the Ottobar (where most of the psoters were made for). The "show" was only up for like 4 hours, so my teacher could come see the work in its natural environment, and so I could have an excuse to have a private-ish sorta party with a lot of kids from school and let em see my work, eat lots of food, and see my band play, all for free.
So I'd say some smaller, more easily accessible place like that is the best place to try and start (and honestly I'd be just as happy to show in a bar/library/whatever as I am in this gallery...they both have the pros and cons).
Oh, and you asked about "why" show in a gallery. Well, my reasons are multiple.
1. The bulk of gallery art is stale, dead, boring, of no iterest to a lot of people (specifically people my age)
2. I love posters, but I think most people overlook them as just trash (well, they are just trash, being that they're glorified/fancy flyers, which are temporary things, but yknow...) or just not a totally valid art and/or design medium and putting them in a space like a gallery is:
3. Good for business. If people see these posters as not just some crap on pole or wall then maybe they'll realize they're worth something. NOT in the collector mentality sense, but instead in the "hey, these are hi-quality posters/promotional items, we should pay these people good money to do posters for US."
4. It's a language of common people, well, not totally I know, but moreso than abstract expressionism (which I do like, but IS pretty esoteric...my parents just dont' get franz klein, yknow?) ...and personally, I think what's considered "culture" should reflect thd actual culture of the people, how they live and what they make in their lives, and not just high minded artsy painting and sculpture.
5. It's fun, coz, yknow, they're posters for rock bands!
6. It freaks out the squares (okay well not always, but since this new show I'm curating will hang in city hall, hopefully some squares will get freaked out...ha!)
I think I covered all the bases..if not i'll be back...
(oh yeah and I know I've talked crap on galleries being tombs before, and for the most part I think they are, and these two times I've worked with galleries, it's been because they're not your typical set-up...and they get foot traffic from the average joe, and not from snooty moneyed gallery types).
<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Nolen Strals on 2002-05-13 06:33 ]</font>