Thursday, August 13, 2015

Greedy artists make it tough for dealers to earn a buck

In the 1980s Wellington had a dealer gallery called 
-->331/3. The name was painted in blue right across the entire front of the bright yellow building. Why would you call a dealer gallery that? It was simply the rate of commission that art dealers took off artists in order to sell their work back then. Later it jumped to 40 percent and more recently 50 percent. What’s an artist to do? Run might be a good idea as a new threat looms on the horizon - German academic Magnus Resch. He's looked at data from 8,000 galleries based in Germany, London and the U.S and he is not impressed. In fact Resch discovered that 30 percent of the galleries weren’t making a profit at all. Change your business model says Magnus in his new book Management of art galleries, and change it fast. Apparently the problem is fourfold:
•  Rents are too high
•  Unique product is increasingly hard to find
•  Gallery staff are paid too little and..oh, oh…
•  Artists make too much money.

The solution, from this German anyway, is to raise the commission to a 70/30 split and we’ve got to tell you that 70 percent is not going to the artists. Impossible you say? You'd think so, but had you suggested to Gallery 331/3 that one day it would have to change its sign to a 50 they'd have laughed in your face.

Image: Adam Parker Smith’s 2013 painting I’m Looking for a Gallery Better Then This One