I need some advice. I was just (last week) taken on by a gallery in the city, which I am very excited about. This will be the first time I've been represented by a gallery- I've had several shows, mostly groups, but they've all been invitational (one month) shows. So, we haven't talked about exclusivity yet, but I feel like maybe it is supposed to be implied. I'll be involved in group shows for now, and solos when I've been with the gallery through this year's schedule. They've also got a booth at Photo NY every year, and I'll have three framed prints and a portfolio in that. Hurrah!
The thing is, a friend who works at a coffee shop has invited me to hang some work there. It's not anything big, just a coffee shop, but that's good enough for me. So I'm chicken to ask the gallery owner if it's okay for me to do this, since I've just been taken on there very recently. I don't want to offend. The owner is a nice person and not one of those typical snotty Manhattan gallery owners. What do you think I should do? Wait a while?
OK, let me preface by saying I have *no* experience in this...
But either you have a contract with them, which should state any exclusivity rights you have granted them, or you don't in which case it is more about custom. If it is the former, I'd start by checking the contract. If it is the latter, I believe I would approach the gallery owner and say that since this is your first time doing this, you want to discuss what the owner's expectations are regarding the exposure of your work. Use the coffee shop friend as an example.
Perhaps you could help the gallery owner out (if s/he approves) by putting up the images in the coffee shop but on the artist card below the image indicate the name of the gallery where your works are shown. It would be free advertising for the gallery.
I would - very quietly - hang my work in the Coffee Shop... probably even including little notes saying, "Now Exhibiting at XXX Galleries".
I would NOT expect the management of a "Posh Gallery" to view a few works - especially different pieces - in a Coffee Shop - to be anything like a competitive threat. If it was me. I would appreciate the extra added publicity - no matter how weak. However, tread lightly - anything can happen.
One area where I would be careful ... Pricing the work publicly in the Coffee Shop. It would be far better to have "Price Upon Request" on the work, and negotiate privately than to undercut the prices in the Gallery.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Even if your relationship with the gallery is not exclusive they may feel uncomfortable with their members or selected artists having work in a coffee shop which is typically for lesser or more amateur artists. (I personally would have no trouble hanging there) Having the gallery's name may be helpful. I don't know where you live and how close geographically the coffee shop is to the gallery. That may make a difference.
"When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy
Hey... I too show my work at the XXX gallery.
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What if the prints you hang at the coffee shop are different than the ones at the gallery?
I would not do it for selfish reasons. Presumably the gallery owner is going to take an interest in selling your work and will expend some effort doing so. If you form a good relationship with the gallery he will continue to promote your work for years to come ( assuming you continue to present fresh new, quality work).
You will (hopefully) most likely sell more prints through the gallery than the coffe shop, in a gallery the owner/ employees have a personal interest in moving your work, in the coffe shop you are providing free decoration and nobody there cares if a print is sold or not, maybe your friend will, but I am sure he has more interest in running his coffe shop than in selling your prints.
It is hard to tell a friend "no", but I would ask myself what is more beneficial to my photography and the promotion of my work? I would definitly try to work more with the gallery than with a coffe shop, it would be on my best interest.
Jorge's right. You are known by the company you keep. Some galleries will drop you if they even suspect you've been on a coffee shop or bookstore wall.
Originally Posted by Jorge
Don't even think about it. The first word out of your mouth should be "no".
I would be very careful about showing your artwork with the gallery not knowing. You need to decide right now...do you want to show in galleries or coffee shops. I don't think you want a reputation of "going behind their back." Since gallery owners communticate which each other it might be hard for you to find another gallery to represent your work.
If you are very intent in doing the coffee shop show, communicate with the gallery and let them know that you want to make them part of it.
I have never been requested or had an exclusivity obligation, unless there was a signed contract in place, when ever I place something in a gallery, one of the most important questions you can ask.....is this an exclusive agreement we are entering into, if it is, then the commissions and percentages you receive when an image is sold should reflect this fact, I never hang without discussing the details, and making sure, that I always know all of the facts that concern the hanging, but if the gallery did not sign an agreement with you, based on my experiance, then you are free to display in other areas as well..