In today’s challenging artistic ecosystem, galleries need to work together to succeed and prosper both locally and abroad. New markets are not only a source of untapped income, but also a source of unknown culture. The original brick-and-mortar art gallery was a very specific model. It operated in the midst of confidentiality, buying from the artists and navigating the market with considerably less art dealers. With the evolution of internet, art fairs, online marketplaces, and the pandemic, the art industry finds itself in perpetual movement, constantly reinventing and redefining its rules.
Gallerists have to adapt to the new ways and understand how collectors are experiencing, buying and engaging with art. Resources and habits are reviewed, but a few years from now, what model will succeed? Is the traditional model of the art gallery and the idea of working independently, still what needs to be followed?
1. The digital era
Most galleries have developed an online presence, being through social media, websites or online marketplaces. Digital platforms are a new way of working for art galleries, and many positive aspects can be taken from them. The considerable increase in traffic and the ease it brings to communication are two essential outcomes. Social medias, online marketplaces and online art fairs make it constantly possible for gallerists to exhibit around the world and reach new art collectors. Regarding communications, through social media, email and even telephone, it has become instant. Nowadays, it takes less than a day to get in touch with a gallery or an art collector located half way across the world.
While we can be thankful for the digital era, it presents its limits, especially when talking about real life encounters. Not everything can be understood, comprehended and felt through a digital support. At Muse Square, we focus on servicing real life exchanges by easing collaborations and building strong networks through the use of a digital platform.
It has been proven that sales would pick up if consumers could see the art they are interested in buying. Digital should not be a barrier, but a stepping stone to increase art sales. Working with galleries that already have an established reputation and trust, with a defined network of art collectors, is a key. They are aware of the market, know the habits and challenges that can be faced and are the best judges and advocates to help sell artists in new destinations. Digital is a solution but not the only one. It and can undoubtedly be a complementary mean to real life collaborations.
2. The importance of collaborating today
Frank Gehry once said “I like the idea of collaboration – it pushes you. It’s a richer experience…”. We can safely say it has been proven over time. While gallerist is seen as a very individual work, it does not have to be. Gallerists don’t see their business thrive and expand as much as when they collaborate with one another.
Artists are the gallerists’ main source of dedication. Exhibiting and promoting them abroad is a tough challenge when operating on your own. Through the Muse Square Fellowship program, gallerists can easily find a gallery peer that can host them and promote their artists in new markets and help grow their notoriety. So, what if you could exhibit in two places at once, with minimized costs and low risks?
Find a gallery peer that is open to creating a project with you and exhibit in both locations at the same time. You could be in Madrid and Paris simultaneously and so could your artists. This could enable you to double your sales and expand your network of art collectors.
While rents and costs are rising, and galleries struggle to maintain their venues, diversifying your incomes is more than necessary. Money and profits are hard words to associate with art, and yet existential if artists and gallerists want to pursue their careers. Gallery districts evolve, exhibition spaces are reduced or split. If a gallery rents out their space to another, those costs are reduced. Don’t hesitate to rent your space out a few weeks a year to another peer. Be open to hosting them, show your collectors a new program and help them discover galleries from all around the world without them needing to move.
Contemporary art does not have to stop at the doorstep of a white cube. Moving beyond the walls of your gallery is an essential part to growing and strengthening your business. Taking part in art fairs and hosting events is a good start, but collaborating and working with galleries across the globe is the future. It will help growing gallery’s collector’s networks and bring together businesses that were set apart for too long.
Sign up with Muse Square and be part of a network that will make galleries from across the world your new neighbors.
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