Gallery Will Exhibit Your Work If You Pay Them

- - Gallery, Just Plain Dumb

I wrote a post on this practice over a year ago with a gallery in Montreal (here):

That one looked like a steal compared to the terms on this pay-to-play group show: £2200 for a group show. Times must be tough…

Dear [redacted],

Artspace-Galleries would like to invite you to take part in our upcoming group exhibitions in the hearts of Mayfair London and Paris. This presents a fantastic opportunity for you to move into the international market and to exhibit your artwork in two of the most significant art centers of the world.

The group exhibition includes all of the following:

  • One week exhibition in London
  • Two week exhibition in Paris
  • One art opening in both London and Paris
  • On-going promotion to our client list
  • PR & Marketing of the exhibition
  • Five year presence in the Events section of our website
  • One year presence in the Buy/Sell section of our website
  • Eligibility to be selected into the New & Emerging Artist Reward Program
  • No gallery commission on artwork sales

Group exhibition guidelines:

  • We are currently accepting registrations for group exhibitions in 2011 and 2012. We have a limited number of spaces available, so we urge you to register as soon as possible to ensure you will be able to exhibit.
  • After you register your profile and submit five samples of your artwork online, Artspace-Galleries will determine if you would be suitable for a group exhibition.
  • Once selected, we will organize and promote your group exhibition with direct mail & online marketing and targeted public relations. The total fee for these services is £2200, and we take no commission on the sale of your artwork.
  • When you have registered and have been selected, you will be asked to pay a £500 deposit, which will be applied towards your total fee. This will reserve your space in the group exhibition, and we will start promoting your work on our website and to our client base. The remaining balance of your payment should be paid in full 8 weeks before your mutually agreed-upon exhibition date.
  • Your group exhibition will bring together the works of six different artists, with each artist having the chance to exhibit up to six canvases or ten sculpture/installation pieces.
  • We offer shipping of artwork from the artist to London, from London to Paris, and from Paris back to the artist for the following fees:

£600 to/from Africa, North & South America, Asia, Australia, or Oceania

£200 to/from Europe

(These rates are based on a maximum of 20 kg and no wider than 1.5m. You may provide your own shipping, however your artwork will have to be shipped from one city to another within two days.)

New & Emerging Artist Reward Program:

  • At the end of the year, the jury of Artspace-Galleries consisting of art professionals, highly qualified art directors and curators will identify the six most outstanding group exhibition artists of the year.
  • If chosen, you will be rewarded with one year of online promotion and a two week group exhibition in both London and Paris, free of charge, based on sales commissions of 50/50.

Submission and additional information:

We look forward to hearing from you,

Elina Steinhauer
Group Exhibition Consultant
Prestigious  international art galleries In London Mayfair and Paris

Here’s the contract if you’re interested (here)

There Are 16 Comments On This Article.

  1. The truth is that other galleries and curators view work exhibited in these pay for show venues with no credence. These venues actually hurt your career more than they help.

    May I suggest you use the 2200 to attend a couple credible portfolio reviews with serious curators. Lucida in Portland, Foto Fest in Houston and the small but impressive Photo DC event are excellent U.S reviews. You will get honest feedback and encouragement / direction and quite possibly a credible venue or two. You will also network with peers and make some lasting friendships which is hard to put any price on.

  2. For that kind of money you would be better off working out a deal with someone who owns many of the empty commercial spaces in most downtown areas for 30, 60, or 90 days and paying an intern to sit the gallery. It could be a solo show or you could share the space and fees with other artists. The cost for the show in the article is over $3500 US dollars (considering the exchange rate) and that could go a long way in renting space for a short amount of time and doing your own marketing. Photographers are going to have to take the bull by the horns and make their own opportunities.

    I recently spoke with a publishing friend of mine who used to own and run a fine art gallery. When I starting asking questions regarding the nuts and bolts of how they operate and make money he began to laugh. The truth is most galleries don’t make the majority of their money on the high priced art work. They make it on the framing. When he told me this I couldn’t believe it. He said that most galleries, even the high end ones, are nothing more than glorified frame shops. I think once photographers get over the ego stroke of having a show with all the crackers and cheap wine, we might actually get down to the business of making money.

  3. Disgusting!! This trend was on its way for a while now. First to enter just about ANY competition there is a charge whether accepted or not, even if there is no ‘swag’. Then restaurants wanted to ‘use’ your artwork; a cheaper way to decorate. I mean really what are the odds your work will sell there? Then it was galleries ‘renting’ space plus commission. And finally now you just pay for your work to be shown. You have to be kidding me! Basically the market is so flooded with photographers coupled with an ever vascillating economy that galleries can actually ask someone to pay to show their work. And for god’s sake they do.

  4. Oh lest I forget the ‘portfolio reviews’. Pay to have someone MAYBE use or show your work. At no less than $500 and up to several thousand out of your pocket, not including airfare, lodging and meals. What a racket!!!

    • @Pamela Reed,
      Love this comment Pamela. As a friend once said to me “There are more people making money on people who want to be photographers, than there are photographers making money”.

  5. Use that money to shoot new projects, in this digital era if you are good the right people will know, all you need is ideas and a website.

  6. for the most part Photographers are too busy paying off last years bills to ever be players in the art market. Buyers on the other hand will drop money on whoever they are persuaded to like.

  7. Donnar Party

    It seems that any gallerist under 40 has no confidence in their taste. (I know there are exceptions, but I’m talking generalities here). They seem unable or unwilling to take risks, to see art that appeals to them and decide if they can sell it in their market, then make this investment. Instead they crowd source, let semi-credentialed or the dubious “jury” entries, essentially passing the responsibility for decisions and taste to a commission. I believe Jen Bekman was the inovator in this regard, bringing business practices to fine art photography. This obviously leads to the ultimate abrogation of responsibility: passing ALL risks to the artist.

  8. Well, it sounds like we’re going to witness a lot more crap in galeries soon :) Because seriously, who’s willing to pay this kind of money to be exhibited while we all know this should be the other way around. Photographers work to be paid, not to pay the people who are supposed to help them making money.

    So who’ll pay ? Photographers who have no one chance to be exhibited any other way than by paying :) Haha. This will be quite terrible for our eyes.

  9. virgilstarkwell

    ok, not to meaning to stir the pot here but – for the sake of conversation – how is paying for exposure in a gallery and different than, for example, following an earlier posters suggestion and creating a website? i mean, i know it goes against the purist, and maybe idealistic, notion of our work being plucked out of thin air and hung on a gallery wall but, once you lump it into the category of another means of self-promotion is it really all that different?

    in fact, i think i could make a case for it being a better value. i could spend $2500 on a site and then work my ass of trying to get people to actually visit it – or i could spend a similar amount on a ‘pay to play’ thing where i know people (and the right people) will see it. will they look down their noses on it because they know the secret (that i paid to be there)? maybe – but then it comes back to the work. if it’s great, are they really going to say ‘well, that’s great work but i don’t want to have anything to do with it because i know how it got on that wall?

  10. I agree with the general feeling here. It is not generally worth paying to get exhibited. What being exhibited brings your CV is a sense that other people have invested time and money in you and your work, that they think your work is worth buying, thus selling or at the very least that it has great relevance for today.

    You could do a lot of things with those $2K. Most would be more interesting & rewarding than paying for a show.

  11. Hi All,

    Mayfair is one of the most expensive cities in the world, it costs almost £10.00 an hour just to park in mayfair.

    Our proposal of a group / solo exhibition is to give opportunities to those great emerging artists to showcase their work in both the heart of London and Paris art districts, which is highly competitive and gives artists whom are yet to make a names for themselves a chance to gain exposure in the international art scene.

    Therefore our proposal is for those whom want to make a name for themselves exhibiting in two of the most sought after cities in the world. Which is an amazing oppourtunity.

    This contribution directly goes to the marketing and organisation of the exhibition with ZERO COMMMISSION. This gives artists with interesting artworks not ONLY a chance to showcase their work in London and Paris, once a sale is made the artists GAINS the benefit of the full price acheived as we don’t get any commission on sales, like most other art galleries.

    We also take into account a variety of different budgets with the artists, by proposing packages starting from as low as £550 gives the chance to everyone to take part.

    Most artists are aware that you need great representation, exposure and press presence to make a success in the industry. This is what we offer, the opportunity to be seen through the windows of a great international art gallery.

    View our recent exhibition images to see for yourself.

    Any comments would be appreciated.

    Artspace-Galleries Admin