Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reality Check & a Dossage of Tough Love!

Photos by Ruben Natal-San Miguel


ARTmostfierce already got the memo last Friday at the end of the day after several co-workers  got a pink slip...DID YOU?

It seems that the Art World has not in so many ways. Every other businesses and institutions are taking the proper precautions and tactics to weather the current economical storm. 

What exactly are The Art Galleries, The Art Non-Profits Organizations, The Artists and The Collectors doing about it ?

Well...not much exactly.

After I toured the Chelsea Gallery District Saturday afternoon and felt like walking in a ghost town in  The Wild West, tumbleweeds included by this  meaning, the artwork being returned back to the artists from the soon to be closing  galleries .

 Speaking of the West , Artist , Doug Aiken has a wonderful WEST light box/letter installation sign in the front window of the 3o3 Gallery at 22ND Street (second photo). Is it  a premonition of what is already happening?

The Art Galleries are still hoping that the Euros will march in and save the day since the Dollar is already history. Well...guess what?...The Current Financial Crisis has reached Global proportions. With the galleries high rent and people marching in at show openings to drink the free wine and socialize because, going to an actual bar to have $15.00 drinks now is out of the question ...the galleries will not generate any sales and then... What happens? 

Gallery closings are already happening but, other galleries seemed unfazed by it and the prices of art have not changed nor re-adjusted to accommodate the new market needs.

Most of the Non-Profit Organizations jumped into the Art Roller Coaster ride, increasing the pricing of its limited editions and mimicking the manner and style of Art Galleries, making almost impossible nowadays to even purchase limited edition prints. The pricing is so absurd that even at auctions , most pieces donated by an artist and  galleries to a non -profit, the starting auction art piece  price is elevated higher than the galleries current  selling price . 

Are you Kidding Me?

Do you think that the public doesn't do their homework?

I understand that the purpose of non-profit organizations is to raise as much money as possible but, not by insulting the donors. Do the people in charge of these events and organizations are in touch with the times that we are facing now?

If I can buy a Burtynsky print...yes Burtynsky for under a thousand dollars from Blind spot why would I even bother to consider the work of a so called emerging artist (nowadays everybody is trying to emerge from a financial hole) for the same price or more?

Come on... let's be real!

For more than six months, I personally had been telling several Non Profit Organizations that I collaborate with and purchase from, to be careful while pricing limited editions. Maybe your boss don't care much because at the end, you will get the pink slip, not them!

Are they acting responsible towards the non-profits(their employer) and to the public who sponsors them?

Are they following the most current art auctions and market results to realize that, for one thing they are mostly empty and two, that nobody is  buying because its over inflated pricing?

They say that in troubled economic times , The non profits, are the first ones to hurt. far I don't see any response to it yet.

If you chose to look the other way and not incorporate the right business tactics , You are not only hurting the Non will end it up without a job!

Now, let's move on to the Artists!

It is over for the MFA's (Master of Fine Arts Wonder Creatures) while in school or finishing school and having guaranteed the celebrity status and the perks that used to come with it. It's over folks!

All the over priced artwork will collect dust in the galleries or be returned back to you.

Artists need to realize that now the word AFFORDABLE must be even worn in T-shirts.

Small sized editions with an affordable  price is the way to go now. Photographers like Will Steacy had taken advice and action  by making small limited editions and hopefully everybody else, will follow suit(or follow Will). At the end of the day artists want to eat and collectors want to keep collecting even if it is a $50.00 print.

 Kudos also to Photographers Cara Phillips and Amy Elkins for their constant hard work with organizations like Women In Photography , keeping their visibility by being in several group shows and maintaining prices affordable at Humble Arts Foundation, a non profit still not caught up in the Gallery wanna be syndrome . Amani Olu and Jon Feinstein are doing had a great job by  bringing new emerging artists and keeping prices affordable. Keep it up guys!

As for the collectors like me , we can only hope that one , we stay employed, two that the galleries, non profits and artists cooperate so we can keep satisfying our greedy habit of collecting art. Otherwise I got enough on my walls already and will keep a tight grip on my wallet.Here is my memo and I hope you get it before the pink slip or the eviction notice will hit you!

Let me know what your thoughts are and if  you can help in any way. Please post comments here, don't e-mail me. 


Tough Love,




dating girl said...

Right on!

Lisa Hunter said...

Being a contrarian, I've always thought recessions were the best time to buy art. I have a post about it on my blog (Intrepid Art Collector).

ruben said...

I agree that during an economical recession it is a good time to buy, if the prices are reflecting the times. So far that has not been the case.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Ruben. I used to buy regularly from not-for-profits but now I often find that I can't afford their prices. If they can sell the work, more power to them. Lisa: Have you actually seen the prices come down as a result of this recession? I mean, in the not-for-profit world?

Laura said...

I wish the Non-Profits luck in these times! I'm with Les, if they are selling the work... good for them! As a young collector though, I can't even toy with the idea of buying right now... I guess I'm the one at the galleries for the free wine :/!

DSM III (g.a.e.t.) said...

Extreme weather, construction disasters, political scandals and recessions can all flush out fluff and excess. I'm sure we'll all be all right, and hardship and outrage breeds good heartfelt art.
That said, I'm glad I have seeds, firewood, and an abattoir as the winter nears.

Rebecca Sherman said...

As an emerging artist, I have made the decision to sell some of my work directly (although a selection of my pieces are only available through my dealer). Being an oil painter, the costs to make the work are quite high and it is difficult to reasonably price the work and make any profit, especially at an "emerging artist" phase. However, I have taken initiate to sell prints and other reproductions of my work by almost taking a step back and relying on the internet as a resource. I have an account on the Red Bubble website (which produces these reproductions and creates online stores for artists to sell their work free of charge). The costs are incredibly reasonable for buyers and unlike many over-saturated, online art galleries, there is some great, quality work on the site. Here is the link:

ruben said...

Thanks for your input. Sounds like you are taking already the right steps to curve this situation.