Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
I don't believe gallery owners in general are raking in the dough, nor do I have disagreement in principle with anyone making money. What I am trying to say is that all costs are self limiting in behavior. The market determines exactly what it will bear. Higher prices in good times, lower in bad or vice versa depending on exactly what the commodity is. There is no shortage of photographic art, but if there becomes a shortage of photographers willing to shell out to be in shows because they can't afford it, either the price will come down if there is enough margin to sustain a price reduction, or the venues will go away or find a different model because the structure isn't viable in the current economy. My guess is that there will be both. I suspect if the model of hanging photographs for free and charging admission were viable outside a museum, it would be in widespread practice.
The reason many galleries don't make money is they are run by people in denial about what, exactly, a gallery is. An art gallery is a retail store that sells art. No more, no less. It is not a museum. The problem is that many art dealers feel that art is somehow 'above' commerce, and they themselves are above 'mere merchants'. The result is merchants who are ashamed to be merchants and who are thus ineffective at doing what merchants do: selling things. Every city in the country is filled with retailers ranging from little mom & pop shops up to Wal-Mart, selling everything imaginable and making money at it. Merchants don't treat their suppliers the way art dealers treat artists; they wouldn't have any product to sell if they did. If stores selling clothes, hardware, toys, books, groceries, and everything else you can think of can make money off the sales of goods, then why can't art galleries? It is mismanagement, pure and simple, and we should NOT have to support that.