Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Vanity Flair

I must say Yahoo Answers is a good thing.
I just had to find out about this weird Gallery Gora in Montreal, but google only came up with heaps of promotional material. The space does look very nice, bright and spacey, and satellite maps do show it just a block or so away from the Musee d'Art Contemporain of Montreal, but the fees............
I mean, I don't have much practice at exhibiting, but these fees just seemed extraordinary! And on top of that, when I wrote back to ask where they saw my work and which pieces they were interested in, it took them about two weeks to answer. This time the email was only a one-liner compared to the previous 6 page long email with contract details, agreements, forms to sign and whatnots, with bad English AND "artsalant" instead of Artslant...
So I chucked my question up on web, and back came some rather alarming information that confirmed my doubts. Of course, I never wrote back again.

http://www.atelier-rc.com/Atelier.RC/Art_Alarm.html

So I learned the term "vanity gallery". That's fine though, if someone just wants a space to exhibit, and is willing and able to pay for it, there's nothing wrong with that, it's personal liberty. But for a gallery to be commercial to the point that it actually goes out and contacts unsuspecting "fresher" artists, luring them with the bait of exposure then demanding horrendous fees for next to no services is just outrageous! Unfortunately, most artists do struggle financially, and they do need every possible exposure they can get. New coming artists, especially, cannot afford to be too discriminative when opportunities present themselves, this combination makes us voulnerable to such scams. If I were naive enough and desperate enough I might just have fallen for it! And to prey on that is just despicable.

This goes to show, once more, how important it is to be "street wise" in the art world, just as much as in any other field, perhaps even more, because we don't have well structured unions, meticulously drafted rules and regulations, or powerful organisations to execute them, because art is free. And unfortunately, there will always be "baddies" out there who are looking for opportunities to make some easy money by any unscrupulous means. So please, if you read this, pass on the info to your friends and your friends' friends, let's not give the vultures an easy ride!

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