23 Mar 2007

Art Exhibition

Remember the earlier article on organizing an art exhibition, here's another one, which new and upcoming artists may find useful. This was written and published in Financial Times, Bangalore (June, 2004). The information is quite relevant today as well, however, the rates mentioned at the end of the article may not be valid.

Art exhibition – behind the scenesBy Nalini S Malaviya

The art market is booming in Bangalore, and if art dealers and experts are to be believed this is just the beginning. The next few years should see the city as a more mature and happening art scene. While, established artists command higher prices, the good news is there is a growing market for fresh talent. According to artist Gurudas Shenoy it is great that architects and corporates are factoring in artworks within their budgets. So, not only private collectors but also interior designers are on the look out for great art at rational prices for their clients. This is where young artists can score with reasonable pricing. Although art is not a commodity, it does need to be showcased well so as to reach the buyer. As Shenoy explains, just as a film launch is done with great fanfare, art shows too need to be presented well and it is important for artists to do their homework thoroughly.

Planning a showGallery owner, Renu George suggests, “artists must have a show only when the quality of their work is first-rate and they are ready to take responsibility for their works”. She says it is important to have their works assessed by a few gallery owners or from a knowledgeable source. Galleries are sometimes booked weeks to months in advance, it is therefore advisable to select and book a place while working on the collection. You could also visit art galleries with a portfolio of your works to look for sponsorship. Some galleries when sponsoring an artists take care of the invitation card/catalogue, sending out the invites, press coverage and organizing a preview. Gallery owner, Gita Maini says, “I end up spending around Rs. 50,000 per show, when I sponsor an artist”.

When you rent a gallery either on a per day basis or a package that the space may offer, you are responsible for the logistics, although some galleries will guide you informally. It helps to print a catalogue or an invitation card with at least one of the paintings to generate an interest in the show. Presentation and media interest in the show are a must – the artworks must be packaged well in frames that are subtle, that will hold the work together and should be finalized only after a lot of thinking, advises Shenoy. A press release or note must be sent out a few days in advance to ensure the print matter coincides with the exhibition dates. Also, if you are organizing a preview, don’t forget to invite the media – reviews always help.

Reducing Overheads
Renu George suggests, “upcoming artists could do a group show or hire a small part of the gallery to keep overheads in check”. It is important to price the works reasonably, after all why should one buy a new artist’s painting versus a fairly established one. According to Shenoy the pricing should increase progressively over the years as the works reflect maturity and experience. Also, sales don’t necessarily happen during exhibitions, a studio is another place where prospective buyers can approach and a good ambience can make all the difference. Whenever possible, artists should invest in having a good facility with sufficient comfort factor, this also establishes the seriousness of the artist. Success doesn’t come easy and in an instant, well not always, artists should keep an open mind to all kinds of art, especially in the initial stages when one is trying to make a living as an artist. They could do freelance commercial work or portraits and basically be open to any creative outlet, advises Shenoy.

Some costsFrames: Rs 30 per meter to Rs 600 per foot
Gallery rental: Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 per day
Gallery commission: 20% to 40%
Invitation card: Rs 3.50 per piece for 2000 copies (without photograph)
Rs 10 per piece for 200 copies (without photograph)
Rs 10 per piece for 2000 copies (with photograph)
Postage costs extra
Preview costs vary according to the menu and the number of invitees, usually galleries
prefer to get these events sponsored.

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