This article is written for art patrons, but it is from the viewpoint of an artist. Artist friends often discuss their efforts to make applications to various art venues through organization affiliations and such. For those seriously dedicated to earning a living from selling their work, being accepted into exhibits is a critical path event. Exhibiting work is the primary means for exposure to prospective art patrons.
What is an art patron?
“‘Arts patronage’ refers to the support that kings, popes and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors.”
People who buy art are considered patrons whether they are wealthy or not. Look around at most art openings and who do you see? Artists, and lots of them. As a reviewer and reporter on the arts, principally visual arts, it is factual that the greatest appreciators of arts are fellow artists. They are the intellectuals.
Intellectuals are scholarly people or people who deliberately develop their knowledge and skill, often with accompanying academic achievement and credentials. Sometimes artists are accomplished academics, but often, their intellect is from hands-on development of unique abilities and skills in the use of artistic media to communicate and express ideas and feelings. They are cerebral or otherwise brainy and thought-filled individuals whose achievement is in the production of artifacts.
Therefore, art patrons are those who express appreciation for artistic talent by consuming artifacts as evidence of artists’ accomplishments.
A reader sent to the Arlington Art Examiner an email asking for an appraisal of a work of art that he had purchased from someone profiled in the Examiner. “Will the work that I purchased have greater value in the future?”
A story talked about collector-investors, people who purchase art with the idea that it may increase in value over time. As an independent journalist, it is inappropriate to appraise art. Yet, this subject is worthy of more discussion.
The topic here is about the difficulty of getting into art shows and into galleries.
There are public and private venues. Public are those governed by communities and non profit organizations. Private venues include commercial art galleries whose business is based on marketing and selling art with the possibility that artists works are valued assets.
The challenge to all artists who are committed to showing their work beyond that of their own self-indulgence include the following:
Art space — Wall and exhibit space is constrained. Homes and buildings have only so much space. Some space is consumed by permanent collections. Some space is available for discretionary rotation. Artists are continuously producing work that exacerbates their storage space and pushes much more inventory into the market than is consumed by patrons. There is a perpetual art glut as a result.
In some respects, that is why visual art has transformed into performance art. There are limited opportunities to see it and to retrieve artifacts from it before the art experience vanishes, maybe forever.
Gallery space — Gallery space may be public or commercial. Both are competitive. Public space is far more tentative than private gallery space that is more devoted to artists whose work sells, and increases in value. The business model, as far as artists are concerned, are vastly different.
Exhibition schedules — People who own, operate, and manage galleries control the schedules of events. Artists must plan to have specific work available that means the criteria for specific events and venues.
Themes — People who manage galleries determine themes. They may solicit assistance from curators who establish criteria for participation based on their expertise and values. The process can be quite arbitrary and random which does not work to the advantage of freedom-seeking artists.
Media — Some gallery venues restrict exhibitions to certain art media. That is another filter on creative expression.
What do patrons have to say about this subject? What do artists have to say about it?
News: Did you know that ArtNews changed hands last spring.
Founded in 1902, ARTnews is the oldest and most widely-circulated art magazine in the world. Its readership of 180,000 in 123 countries includes collectors, dealers, historians, artists, museum directors, curators, connoisseurs, and enthusiasts.
Published eleven times a year, ARTnews reports on the art, personalities, issues, trends and events shaping the international art world. Written in clear, well-crafted language that is as comprehensible to the novice as it is to the expert, the magazine offers a lively, provocative, and visually stimulating package that informs as well as entertains with news dispatches from a worldwide network of correspondents, hard-hitting investigative reports, criticism and opinion.
From its beginnings, ARTnews has balanced reporting on contemporary art with coverage of modern and old masters. In recent years, it has expanded its content to include profiles of notable collectors, museum directors and scholars; travel itineraries filled with art appreciation; inside views of the art market; and reports from the world of design.
The magazine’s thousands of contributors have included Alfred Barr, Bernard Berenson, Kenneth Clark, Robert Coles, Arthur Danto, Carlos Fuentes, Pete Hamill, Aldous Huxley, Steve Martin, Louise Nevelson, Francine Prose, Harold Rosenberg, Jean-Paul Sartre, William Carlos Williams, and Linda Yablonsky.
On May 19, 2014, ARTnews merged with an international art media company, Abbey House Group S.A. Abbey House Group is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, and has dual offices in Warsaw and New York. As a result of the transaction Abbey House Group S.A. will be renamed Artnews S.A. as of July 1, 2014. ARTnews will remain in New York and operate as the wholly owned subsidiary of Artnews S.A, with Artnews S. A.’s other subsidiaries being New York-based Skate’s LLC, the art investment research firm, and Warsaw-based Art & Business S. A., the publisher of the leading monthly magazine about art in Poland (Art & Business magazine).
The publisher post at ARTnews magazine, previously held by Milton Esterow, the owner and editor at ARTnews between 1972 and 2014 (who oversaw the coverage that won more than 40 major awards for reporting), is now held by Izabela Depczyk, the Chief Operations Officer at Abbey House Group (Artnews S.A.), while Sarah Douglas serves as the editor-in-chief of ARTnews.”