A defence for the traditional gallery model?

Published May 9 2018 by Deborah Carver, Director

For reasons not to do with art, I recently visited Vancouver and had a little time to go into several commercial galleries to browse. They range from huge and impressive manufacturing spaces outside the center of the city, to intimate downtown premises. It may have been because the weather was gorgeous; but they were very empty of visitors. At the same time, Julia Matthews, Studio 21’s Director of Sales & Marketing, was in Montreal at the art fair Papier which is run by AGAC (Association des galleries d’art contemporain). She and a regular Studio 21 art fair staffer, Hannah Davison, were deluged by thousands of potential clients and were very successful selling works by I-Chun Jenkins, Susan Wood, Francois Vincent, Jennifer Hornyak, Mariette Roodenburg and Charley Young. Thank you to our new friends and clients in Montreal!

It is a continual puzzle to gallerists whether maintaining our costly permanent space makes sense in the face of the opportunities at art fairs, and perhaps online.  A recent article in the online magazine Artsy provides a defence for the traditional gallery model. The writer is Thaddeus Ropac, a major European dealer who represents international contemporary artists from gallery spaces in Salzburg, Paris and London. His impressive artist list includes Anselm Kiefer, Antony Gormley, Lawrence Weiner, Georg Baselitz and Sylvie Fleury, as well as the estates of Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys and Robert Mapplethorpe. The essence of his position is that the artists deserves the care that we put into presentation in our spaces and the experience we give our visitor is unique.  Read what he says and please come and visit Studio 21, or any other gallery that you choose.


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