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The New York Times takes a shot at a trend piece on the gallery landscape in New York after a series of recent closings. After some stabs at trying to compare the art economy to “the solidifying of a class society,” the Times draws sweeping conclusions:

rather than visiting individual galleries — and perhaps discovering new talent — collectors are focusing on market-tested trophy works carried by major dealers; are sometimes buying from Instagram or other online images without seeing the work in person; and are less willing to gamble on the emerging artists represented by small and midsize galleries.

Deeper in the story, we actually hear from the gallerists who are shuttering their retail locations, it turns out there is something else going on. Instagram is reducing foot traffic (there’s no evidence that it has become an alternative distribution channel.) But the shift in the way artists are represented by primary gallerists is being driven by a number of different trends, including the greater reach of social media and art fairs but also the costs of maintaining street-level spaces in city centers for an exhibition program that may not produce immediate revenue nor results.

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