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  1. #1

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    Joining an artist coop gallery

    Hi,

    Any opinions on joining an artist coop gallery and exhibit regularly? Can you share your experience? The good? the bad? And, hopefully not much, the ugly!

    Any recommendations on reputable ones in NYC? Are they easier or more difficult to get in than the commercial galleries?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    I'm a member of 2wo co-operative galleries. One on Long Island, Stepping Stone which I joined about a year ago and recently one in Manhattan, Soho Photo Gallery. The one on LI has 11 members and is easier to get into than the one in NYC.

    Soho has a formal review commitee which reviews portfolios the 2nd Saturday of each month and has a little over 100 members. They have been around almost 35 years. They ask for a presentation of 12-16 photos with a similiar look and theme ready for hanging without the frame. They have 4our solo member shows (I know this doesn't make sense) each month and the criteria of the review is "is the work as presented worthy of hanging in a show" Usually about 4 people present their work each month and typically 1ne is accepted. I was accepted as an associate member meaning my work was good but needed some improvement before I could become a full member. I can participate in all gallery functions including full voting rights and can submit work for member group shows. In 6ix months I can present my portfilio again.

    Members of co-operative galleries are expected to participate in the needs of the gallery. For example in the larger galleries like Soho participation in a committee such as promotion, newsletter, grants, etc. You are expected to help hang shows, even if it is not yours including the preparation of the walls. Sitting is also usually expected. People take turns there. The 2wo galleries I am a member of have national open competions to help raise additional funds in addition to the annual member fees. Hope this helps.
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
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    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy

  3. #3

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    just keep in mind that part of your "dues" is helping out at the gallery. As already stated that can be anything from sitting at the front desk to helping with repairs, carpentry or in any area you may have some experience.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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  4. #4
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Cecil -

    Seems to me that there are two issues. One, as Jim notes, is that being a member may obligate you to the gallery in some way - and you need to decide whether you can afford the time and other consiuderations that obligation entails.

    But the otherissue is that being a member of the cooperative gallery assures you of being able to show in the gallery. OK - the upside of that is that you would have access to the gallery and could should your work. But there is also a downside - it can be argued that showing in a cooperative gallery is not the same as showing in other galleries for the simple reason that individuals who are not members of the cooperative cannot show their work, and the process for jurying working, if one exists at all, is subordinate to whether the artist is a member of the cooperative. That is, a cooperative gallery provides a venue to artists who can't get a gallery showing any other way.

    The New York State Lottery currently is running a humorous TV commercial featuring a make-believe baseball team manager being interviewed by the press - the manager is asked about a player who is clearly incompetent, and he responds that he needs to be given more time to develop his style. A reporter then asks if it matters that that player, who apparently has won the lottery, has just bought the team, to which the manager responds "Next question". Likewise, being a member of a cooperative gallery sometimes has the connotation of being an way that dillitantes inflate their egos.

    Obviously, I don't know the specifics of the cooperative gallery you are considering, but you might want to think whether that involvement would be viewed as a positive or negative factor if you were seeking representation by commercial galleries in a major city.

  5. #5

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    Gerald,

    How much time do you spend helping out at Soho Photo? Can you tell me some of the things you do there? Also, 100 members sounds a lot. Are they all actively exhibiting? How often does a member have solo shows?

    Thanks.

  6. #6

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    Thank you Gerald, Jim and Monophoto (sorry I don't know your name) for the very helpful information.

    I am considering artists' co-op simply because there is a well defined way to get in. It seems that the way to "get picked up" by a commercial gallery is to know someone who knows someone. I don't know anyone who can give me a lift.

  7. #7
    geraldatwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil
    Gerald,

    How much time do you spend helping out at Soho Photo? Can you tell me some of the things you do there? Also, 100 members sounds a lot. Are they all actively exhibiting? How often does a member have solo shows?

    Thanks.
    I've only been a member for a month so "officially" the only activity I've participated in is submitting a photo for the group show. To get my feet "wet" I will go to the next members meeting July 12th which they have every month. From what I understand about 25-30 people generally show up. The gallery closes for the month of August mainly for clean up and for painting. So I volunteered for that. I think about 6-8 people will do that and it takes 2 or 3 days. I'll probably participate in hanging the next show and they want members to sit for visitors at least 2wo days a year. Some of the members are very active participating on numerous commitees,as officers,doing numerous jobs and always hanging around the gallery. Some of the members hardly do anything. I expect myself to be somewhere in the middle.

    There are member shows about 9 or 10 months a year with 4 solo shows each month. So 35-40 people per year can have shows. I gather a good percentage of people don't show that often so if someone was interested they could have a solo every couple of years. What is interesting is before a show is accepted it has to pass the review comittee. So just because someones work was accepted in the past is no guarantee of new work being accepted. This keeps members who want to show to continue to produce new work. 100 members sounds like a lot. Some people wait to have a show then quit the gallery. They also have spotlight shows of 3 photographs which there is room for about 3hree of those each month. Again I am an associate and must re-submit my work in 6ix months. I have posted a link to the gallery for you to take a look at. There is a members only area which contains a lot of additional information which you won't be able to get into.

    http://www.sohophoto.com/index.html
    "When elephants fight it is the grass that suffers"
    African proverb

    IRAQNAM is Bush's legacy



 

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