Artists often wonder how to get representation by a gallery as an entrée into the established art world. Mega- galleries such as Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Lelong welcome artists of multiple viewpoints, artistic modes of practice and styles of representation. For large and smaller galleries, an overriding agenda is important in maintaining a personality within the gallery world, and the artist must research what that agenda is, and apply to the gallery that most fits their work. Galleries run the gamut from concern with the environment, social justice, identity, abstraction, representation by national or ethnic identity and more. However, should an opinion expressed in an artwork not be initially shared by a gallery, if an artist’s work can convince the gallerist that his concern and viewpoint is worth displaying for the gallery’s audience, and his or her expression is remarkable, the artist will be accepted into the gallery’s fold.
Believe in yourself. In developing your practice, don’t try to find what is current or selling. Leave academic exercises in grad school. You are a professional now. Paint from the heart and the mind. We gallerists can tell when you are producing work that you believe in and to which you are emotionally attached. Find your territory and stick with it, go deeper, not broader. That means if you are a great painter, commit to painting. Find a gallery that shows painters and appreciates your style. Then continue with it. Don’t look at other media until you are exhausted with painting or really feel that other media would enhance your work. If you don’t believe this, see the careers of Frans Hals, Picasso, Lisa Yuskavage and others who have made it as painters before exploring other media. The same goes for sculpture, photography, filmmaking, installation and any other art practice. Before you make your next move, consult your gallerist as to your next step. They are a valuable and willing resource who will guide you.
(To read more, pick up a copy of our latest issue! Find a pick-up location near you or Subscribe Here.)