This week we recommend reading Edward Winkleman’s How to Start and Run a Commercial Art Gallery. From someone who started his own successful contemporary art gallery almost twenty years ago so rest assured he knows everything there is to know about running the business and not only that, he is also willing to share his knowledge with all other gallery managers out there. Mind you this book is not only for gallery owners, if you are an artist, art professional, or simply interested in knowing the backstage of the trade this is a must read book. You can also follow Edward Winkleman in his eponymous blog for more interesting tips and readings. “This is a comprehensive and practical guide to everything you need to know to set up and run your own commercial art gallery. As individual as those that own them, most galleries grow organically as practices are learned on the job or innovated over time. While there are some generally agreed-upon industry standards as to how a gallery should be run, there are very few hard and fast rules. This comprehensive volume is designed to demystify the day-to-day tasks involved in running a commercial gallery and successfully combines a sound business approach with a recognition of the importance of passion and individuality in making a gallery a successful venture.” (2009, Allworth Press)
For this week we recommend The Auctioneer. Adventures in the Art Trade, the memoirs of Simon de Pury, a truly unique character in the art business. With outstanding magnetism and charm he can catch everyone’s breath in an auction room and he certainly does so in his book. With a fresh sense of humour and full of juicy anecdotes his memoirs will keep you hooked until the very end. Going once, going twice … sold! “Just as William Goldman, the ultimate screenwriter, took us inside Hollywood, Simon de Pury, the ultimate art player, will take us inside an even more secretive business, whose staggering prices, famous collectors, and high crimes are front page news almost every day. The former Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, the former owner of Sotheby’s rival Phillips de Pury, and currently a London-based dealer and advisor to great collectors around the world, Simon has one of the highest profiles of any non-artist in the art world. Even though he has an ancient title and the aura of an elegant Swiss banker, Simon is famous as an iconoclast and is known as ‘The Mick Jagger of Auctions’ for his showmanship and exuberance. His whole life in art has been devoted to bringing art to the public and to the juxtaposition of high and low. Movie stars, musicians, and athletes compete with hedge funders and billionaires for the great art, and Simon is their pied piper; he wants to turn the world onto art and this book will be his message”(2016, St. Martin’s Press)
To watch the video “New Models in Collaboration: The Gallery and the Auction House Relationship” from the Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium 2017 where Simon de Pury participated as speaker you can follow this link: https://www.talkinggalleries.com/project/video-recordings-barcelona-symposium-2017/
Our recommendation for this week is this fascinating book by Tim Schneider, entitled The Great Reframing: How Technology Will—and Won’t—Change Contemporary Art Sales Forever. Tim is the author behind The Gray Market, a blog dedicated to analysing the economics, technology, and business practices of the fine-art industry. His writing-style is fun and witty and his knowledge of the gallery sector with insights gleaned from research into economics, tech and data-analysis make him an expert in the field. If you would like to see him in action he took part in the latest Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium and made a unique presentation about the online market, you can follow the link below to watch the video.
“In recent years, observers and participants alike have passionately debated technology’s prospects for altering the art industry, particularly the contemporary-gallery sector. By revealing the secretive and counterintuitive dynamics of the 21st-century art market as only a veteran of the industry can, Tim Schneider unpacks how and why this unique space dismantles many of digital innovation’s most dependable weapons of disruption. And by elucidating tech’s winner-takes-all effects on earlier-adopting cultural sectors like pop music and film, he foreshadows the unintended (and unsettling) consequences that e-commerce, data science, and other advancements are likely to unleash on a largely unsuspecting art industry. Through this double-barreled approach, ‘The Great Reframing’ blasts open the debate about how—and how much—contemporary artists, gallerists, and professionals alike need to evolve if they want to avoid being herded onto the industry’s scrap heap in the years to come, beginning right now. (2017, Kindle)
To watch the video “Changes in the Online Market” with Tim Schneider’s presentation in the Talking Galleries Barcelona Symposium follow this link: https://www.talkinggalleries.com/project/video-recordings-barcelona-symposium-2018-2/
If you are considering opening an art gallery or -you already did! You shouldn’t let another day pass by without reading Magnus Resch’s Management of Art Galleries. Gallery team members as well as those curious on the matter included, of course; this brilliant, well-researched, amusing book is a true eye opener for anyone in the business. “The art world is tough, the rules are a mystery, and only the lucky few make money’ – so how can galleries succeed? What makes a commercial art gallery successful? How do galleries get their marketing right? Which potential customer group is the most attractive? How best should galleries approach new markets while still serving their existing audiences? Based on the results of an anonymous survey sent to 8,000 art dealers in the US, UK, and Germany, Magnus Resch’s insightful examination of the business of selling art is a compelling read that is both aspirational and practical in its approach (2016, Phaidon Press).
If you have not booked yourself a holiday yet we propose you join Sarah Thornton in this special spy tour into the inners of the art world. You will find her book Seven Days in the Art World to be an excellent companion that will take you away to openings, fairs, art schools and more. “Contemporary art has become a mass entertainment, a luxury good, a job description and, for some, a kind of alternative religion. Sarah Thornton’s shrewd and entertaining fly-on-the-wall narrative takes us behind the scenes of the art world, from art school to auction house, showing us how it works, and giving us a vivid sense of being there.” (2009, Granta Books)
Is life after death possible? This week’s recommendation is not a philosophical one but a very practical one. On how to make sure an artist’s legacy will be properly handled in every sense of the way, we recommend Loretta Würtenberger’s bible-book The Artist’s Estate: A Handbook for Artists, Executors, and Heirs. “Andy Warhol memorably said that ‘death can really make you look like a star,’ but death in itself is not a guarantee of the relevance of an artist. What is of crucial importance is the proper management structure for the posthumous preservation and development of an artist’s estate. ‘The Artist’s Estate’ presents the possible legal frameworks and appropriate financing models available in this situation, as well as the proper handling of interest from the market, museums and academia. (…) Based on numerous international examples, the author explains the different alternatives for maintaining an artist’s estate and makes recommendations on how best to handle work, archives and ephemera following the death of an artist.” (2016, Hatje Cantz)
For a long-overdue acknowledgement to the women in the art gallery business, Claudia Herstatt’s Women Gallerists: In the 20th and 21st Centuries brings readers the chance to get to know thirty women in the trade—of the many more out there—and their inspirational life and work trajectories. “With the exception of Peggy Guggenheim, little has been written by or about the astonishingly influential women who have built their careers around art and artists. In a selection of 30 portraits, this book presents three generations of women who have pursued their ambitions in the gallery business, starting with the pioneers and the established and leading up to the new generation. They include: Juana de Aizpuru, Helga de Alvear, Ilona Anhava, Catherine Bastide, Ellen de Bruijne, Chantal Crousel, Sorcha Dallas, Barbara Gladstone, Antonina Gmurzynska, Marian Goodman, Bärbel Grässlin, Karin Guenther, Annely Juda, Atsuko Koyanagi, Ursula Krinzinger, Pearl Lam, Hyunsook Lee, Michele Maccarone, Giti Noubakhsch, Maureen Paley, Eva Presenhuber, Janelle Reiring, Denise René, Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Elena Selina, Suzy Shammah, Filomena Soares, Ileana Sonnabend, Monika Sprüth/Philomene Magers, Luisa Strina and Helene Winer.” (2009, Hatje Cantz)
For this week we recommend Iain Robertson’s Understanding Art Markets: Inside the world of art and business, this in-depth analysis of the international art market, a must-read for anyone involved in the art trade, as well as for those who are curious to understand the complex nature of this field. “The global art market has recently been valued at close to $50bn—a rise of over 60% since the global financial crisis. These figures are driven by demand from China and other emerging markets, as well as the growing phenomenon of the artist bypassing dealers as a market force in his/her own right. This new textbook integrates, updates and enhances the popular aspects of two well-regarded texts—‘Understanding International Arts Markets’ and ‘The Art Business’. Topics covered include: Emerging markets in China East Asian, South East Asian, Brazilian, Russian, Islamic and Indian art, Art valuation and investment, Museums and the cultural sector.” (2015, Routledge)
Maybe you have been navigating the art market for a while, perhaps you are a newcomer, or you are just curious to know more, in either cases Noah Horowitz’s richly documented, researched and enjoyable Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market, would be the perfect tool to dive into the market with the proper gear. “Noah Horowitz exposes the inner workings of the contemporary art market, explaining how this unique economy came to be, how it works, and where it’s headed. He takes a unique look at the globalization of the art world and the changing face of the business, offering the clearest analysis yet of how investors speculate in the market and how emerging art forms such as video and installation have been drawn into the commercial sphere.” (2011, Princeton University Press)
Our weekly recommendation is to plunge into the fascinating life of Leo Castelli, a key figure in the international contemporary art for more than forty years who changed the way the art world worked Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli by Annie Cohen-Solal. “Leo Castelli reigned for decades as America’s most influential art dealer. Now Annie Cohen-Solal recounts his incalculably influential and astonishing life in ‘Leo and His Circle’. After emigrating to New York in 1941, Castelli would not open a gallery for sixteen years, when he had reached the age of fifty. But as the first to exhibit the then-unknown Jasper Johns, Castelli emerged as a tastemaker overnight and fast came to champion a virtual Who’s Who of twentieth-century masters: Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein, Warhol, and Twombly, to name a few. The secret of Leo’s success? Personal devotion to the artists, his ‘heroes’: by putting young talents on stipend and seeking placement in the ideal collection rather than with the top bidder, he transformed the way business was done, multiplying the capital, both cultural and financial, of those he represented producing a generation of acolytes, among them Mary Boone, Jeffrey Deitch, Larry Gagosian, and Tony Shafrazi.” (2010, Alfred A. Knopf)