I share a lot of things with Arne Glimcher. We both recognize that the art world is frequently viewed as a mystery locale, a far-off realm, or a means of financial gain. Many people have also viewed it as an exclusive and elitist community. However, thanks to technological advancement, the expansion of the internet, and international art fairs, significant progress has been made in demystifying this wonderful and creative world and introducing its many players, including artists, museums, cultural institutions, the media, curators, fairs, auction houses, and, of course, art galleries. For 22 years, I have owned and operated my art gallery. My position has given me a lot of experience and specialized knowledge that have allowed me to articulate a gallery’s significant function and goal within the art industry.
This piece is dedicated to everyone who has and will continue to tell me, “Your work is truly amazing. You earn a lot of money by introducing attractive people to wonderful work.” This is a lovely perception, but the reality is far richer than that.
After years of residing in and contributing to the art world, I finally created my gallery. I studied art history with a focus at Middlebury College in Vermont, where I started my profession. I then moved to Colombia to work at the Gold Museum. In the same city, my career took me to pivotal jobs with the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Department at the Bank of the Republic, working in the museology, curatorial, and editing departments. In defiance of convention, I started an art consulting business with a partner in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was an innovative idea in Colombia. I started my own business, Beatriz Esguerra Art, in 2000.
An art gallery’s primary goal is to support visual artists, promote their work, and provide exposure to the general public, collectors, the media, and other cultural institutions. The gallery also makes unceasing and deliberate efforts to further the artists’ careers and establish them in the professional art world both locally and internationally. A gallery must manage administrative and curatorial staff, provide insurance, secure advertising, invest in and participate in numerous extremely pricey art fairs, develop and set up websites, purchase subscriptions, and organize timely and well-attended events to fulfill this extensive mission. Each art gallery is distinct because it represents and supports a particular set of artists who generally adhere to a specific line and style. For instance, some galleries represent up-and-coming artists, while others champion certain types of artwork, such as abstract or contemporary art, painting on paper, or works by 20th-century masters. People mistakenly believe that any artist may fit in any gallery without considering the vision, objective, and style supported by the particular gallery.
Galleries must plan in-person and online exhibitions of their artists’ work to promote and position their artists. Before an exhibition can officially open, the gallerist must visit studios, choose and curate the artworks, write exhibition texts, draught installation plans, craft and distribute press releases, and organize and produce several live events to introduce the general public, media, collectors, and institutions to the featured artists and their work. For individuals unable to visit the virtual gallery, the gallery must also create an online version of the show and enhance it with videos, interviews, texts, 3D virtual tours, and images.
A gallery must create and maintain a robust online presence across several social media platforms in addition to all of the traditional marketing initiatives and boost its worldwide visibility. The same level of attention must be taken when creating social media content and creating calendars as when managing actual artwork. It is an expensive undertaking that requires imagination, planning, and organization.
To further their careers and raise the value of their work, the gallery also submits its artists’ works for inclusion in public collections, cultural institutions, museums, biennials, and salons.
Galleries are significant in determining how much art is worth. The curriculum of the artist (education, exhibitions, publications, and experience), their talent, the caliber of their work, the cost of the materials, and the laws of supply and demand all play a role in determining their prices.
Choosing an artwork’s price is like choosing an employee’s compensation. The person’s wage will begin lower if they are young, inexperienced, and have a limited CV. Their pay will be higher and continue to rise in value if they are well-known for their contributions and professionalism, have years of experience, and have worked in their sector. As a result, one of the gallery’s primary duties is to ensure that the artworks’ prices align with the artist’s résumé and his status in the art market. Purchasing artwork from galleries ensures that these artists’ careers are appropriately managed and balances the appropriate value of their creations within the commercial art market.
Galleries that spend money to attend international art fairs and display artwork from a particular nation serve as their ambassadors through their displays of that nation’s artwork. They share their culture with the world without assistance from governments or national institutions.
Art galleries’ professional presentation of artists ensures the caliber and reasonable cost of their works of art. The job of a gallerist is to find new talent and show it to the public, media, institutions, and collectors. Free entrance is offered, and they provide a cultural and educational experience.