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Desperate Times A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer
I have never seen a reputable gallery ever hold a gallery sale, so I was curious when I started to see this happen. I asked myself a number of questions. “Gallery Sale” - Maybe the wording is just a come on…i.e., the works in the gallery are always on sale. But then, are they creating an expectation of lower prices that will not be fulfilled? Are artists discounting their own work or is the gallery prepared to reduce the prices on the stock of work they own outright? Does creating open discounts diminish the value of works already sold and undermine collector confidence? Does this mean slashed prices? That sounds like someone is going out of business! Unusual times call for unusual policies, so this is a confusing subject.
To understand this, you need to know that galleries have an understanding with the artist when sales prices are set. There is usually a percentage of discount that can be given without contacting the artist for permission to sell the works for less than the asking price. The gallery could also reduce its commission, but the artist, in the most optimal arrangement has final say on the sales price paid.
And many galleries have their own private collection of works of art. Some stock is acquired of artist that they think is a good investment. They might hold on to the work and wait for it to escalate. Or they might buy work by their own stable of artists that comes up for sale on the secondary market. They may even have been buying work in auction in order to protect the value of works by artists they are selling. They have complete control of the final price for any of these works that they own outright.
The gallery may also be holding work on consignment for clients who are placing them at the gallery to try to resell work that they previously bought. It could be those clients need the money quickly and are willing to reduce their prices, or the gallery is prepared to reduce its commission charge for this second purchase.
So, in most cases at high end galleries, the word “sale” can simply be a case of negotiating on the final sales price. Maybe before a sale, the greater discount is discussed with the artists. Maybe the gallery is prepared to take a lower price than they previously had decided for certain of their works in private stock. Or maybe a client has reduced his asking price for a work on consignment to the gallery.
In none of these instances, should you see dramatic drop in prices as that could indeed trigger a crisis in confidence in the artist’s value.
Are there other ways to drive collectors into galleries at this desperate time, without announcing a sale? Of course, and I can think of just a few:
I was invited to attend a community organization information meeting by the Visual and Performing Arts Department (VAPA) for San Diego Unified School District this month and found out several interesting things from the director Russ Sperling and program manager Tim Benson.
A year is a long time during a pandemic and last year was declared the Freedom Summer to focus on eliminating those barriers that prevent our students of color from receiving an equitable education. One great result was the delivery of 60,000 devices to aid online studies for every student in need. Communication within the organization was strengthened and VAPA liaison were created for schools in the system. In fact, the district art show with be online this year and we are looking forward to seeing that listed on SDVAN. Up until now, it was only easily available to view on the opening night.
There is a big concentration on Title One schools with the goal expanded from higher student achievement to include increased student and family engagement and a positive school climate. The pandemic and online learning has made it more important than ever to remove non-standard criteria like attendance and deportment when assessing students.
This is a new strategic plan underway to be announced soon for 2021-2026. It was good to hear that San Diego’s creative community is a large collective resource with greater potential to augment the District’s VAPA program. A Gap Analysis has been started to try to see what schools and programs are falling through the cracks. But so far that does not include organizations outside of the schools that supply arts programs. Yes, there is a whole system of substitute teachers and art teachers which are hired to teach the arts, but many programs that works with schools are not yet documented like the Art Reach mural projects and ArtBusXpress virtual programs.
One challenge to these community organizations is the need to create contracts which adhere to the strict school district requirements. VAPA can step in and help organizations that are ready to present their Superpowered ideas for proven programs. Blanca Lucia Bergman from Arts Unites has been teaching youngster how to present their art in exhibitions with lesson than include math, marketing and communication skills. That is a superpower that most adult artists would like to have.
VAPA foresees the need for 80 arts teachers to be hired when schools come back full strength for in person teaching. The Arts Education Project (AEP), is hiring for the fall of 2021 and the online application is now open and Interested applicants may find a complete job description and apply at Arts Education Project Application . The minimum credential required for this position is a California 30 Day Substitute Teaching Permit.
On the Occasion of our 200th SDVAN RAW Column A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer
For some reason I decided to number the RAW columns for SDVAN in 2006 when they started. This month is the occasion of the 200 th of those missives on visual art world, transitions, opportunities, advocacies, events and sometimes just pure gossip. I have not tracked the number of A+ Art Blogs or Picked RAW Peeled reports or even the numbers of views of any of these communications. (A researcher could uncover that information as everything is archived religiously.)
I didn’t number these articles specially to keep track of them, but the number is recorded within the word documents for each month although not online. You could do a calculation from the beginning as RAW is presented once a month and there have been no gaps in the presentation. I have no real explanation for this except, I started way back and then just continued on automatic pilot.
So why should I bring this to your attention? During the pandemic we have been able to slow down and notice things we might not otherwise have observed. I think many of us are aware of the weight gain during isolation*. We read that the average increase is 1 ½ pounds per month i.e. 18 pounds for the year. I have slowly watched my hair grow ½ inch by half inch each month until it is now mid back. Are we just marking time in what seems to be an endless march to the other side?
Maybe numbering things helps us to have stepping stones forward. We have certainly relied on numbers to make decision about COVID-19 and what level of emergency we are experiencing: how many have the disease, how many have died, how many have been vaccinated. But our belief in numbers is challenging and not just since the election. What should or shouldn’t, could or can’t be counted is a problem that all statistician face.
I was hoping that looking back might help with looking forward. So, I dived into some of the earliest columns, as well as middle and late ones. Nada, nothing, no deep insights, no revelations. But history is re-written all the time, so maybe in the future, someone will access these records and get an idea of what this slice of life was like. Or maybe not.
*My husband and I are actually social eaters and both managed to lose 20 pounds during isolation!
We can all agree it has been quite a year. A confusing year but one with time for contemplation. We are all worried about health during the pandemic but world health has always been a concern. The MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, Anti-AsianHate, Antisemitic, political and environmental movements all draw our attention. You want to be supportive but sometimes it is overwhelming to know what to do.
I just had my second vaccination. By the beginning of April, I am hoping to be as immune as possible from Covid-19. But I had after effects from the shot and spent days in bed and woke up on the fourth day with a vision springing from a dream. In the dream I was trying to help someone decide how best to help the world. I kept returning to the subject of racism. It seemed to be such a core part of the problems. I talked to my sister and she helped me understand that racism has many, many causes. But they all have one thing in common and that is the idea of supremacy.
In economic supremacy, we want security but that can lead to massive unfair practices. Sexual supremacy can challenge the ego and create insecurities about adequacy. Divine supremacy puts one god, yours, over all others. Ecological supremacy is the survival of the fittest without regard for our responsibility for our planet and all the creatures on it. Military or Corporate supremacy is dominance without regard to human rights.
Supremacy seems to be a pit to be avoided. I am a big fan of Tina Turner, but Simply the Best is a not theway to go. Yes, be the best you can be, but being the best i.e. “better than anyone else” should not be a life’s goal. In fact, it keeps us from working together to solve our problems.Instead, life should be like a four-way intersection. Stop, be courteous, wait your turn, then move forward. My wish is that you will have lots of passengers in your car wanting to go to the same destination of peace on earth and goodwill to all. Happy Springtime as we come to the season of rebirth.
Finger on the Pulse A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer
This past year, like many of you, I questioned most days what I am supposed to be doing. There is no business as usual, but there is a lot of time to fill. Normally, proactive, but getting on in years, I found myself deciding to wait and see. I did use my non-profit website to list visual arts virtual events in San Diego (about 150) and I did, myself, attend many of those events and even report on some in my blog . I continued to make my own art and I looked at lots and lots of art on Instagram and the internet.
Only now am I realizing, that what I was actually doing was keeping my finger on the pulse of the art world. I was tracking visual reactions to Black Lives Matter. I was immersed in the election and how that might affect the art world. Support of the arts on the city and county level are particularly important in San Diego. We are the only county in California not to have an arts council. I was noticing and participating in thank you banners for our first responders and frontline workers and hoping to do so to encourage people to vaccinate.
I was absorbing the lost of art friends, people who now have no pulse; not gathering for funerals, of course, but writing words of consolation to family and friends. I was celebrating birthdays, sunsets, even a new water heater, a good harvest of lemons, and continued good health. I was spreading joy with cookie exchanges and spectacular holiday light reports. I was being a friend by lending an ear. All these day to day activities are an integral part of the pulse of our community. The small acts need to continue to be rooted in compassion and awareness.
I have made a personal symbol for myself to commemorate the new year and new hope. My Finger on the Pulse bronze and silver bracelet is comfortable, light weight, shiny and a reminder to me that what goes around will come around.
See more works from the Not Your Mother's Finger Bowl series by Patricia Frischer
State of the Arts 2021: San Diego Creative Industry by the Numbers A+ Art Blog by Patricia Frischer
Archived A+ Art Blog
2018 past A+ Art Blogs including
2016 Past A+Art Blogs including
2015 Past A+ Art Blog including
Mural by Paola Villasenor at SDAI and Art Fair Miami
Turn on, chill out and Pop up
Incubator for Innovation - final 9 teams for San Diego
London Journal 1: Tate Britain Folk Art
London Journal 2: Horst at the Victoria and Albert Museum
London Journal 3:Today's Special: Pace Gallery, Tate Modern Matisse
London Journal 4: National Portrait Gallery and Saatchi
London Journal 5: London Fashion Week and London Design Show at Tent and Super Brands
London Journal 6: Gilbert and George, Boyd and Evans, Anslem Kiefer and AI WEIWEI
A Call to Action
SD Fringe Festival Art Exhibition at Ten Street Art Center
ILLUSION: Nothing Is As It Seems at the Ruben H. Fleet Science Museum
Deborah DeLisi and One Minute Mandalas at SDVAN sponsored Mission Federal ArtWalk
DNA of Creativity Introduction at Oceanside Museum of Art
Notes on Aesthetics and Authenticity Symposium
SD Art Prize has its roots in the Turner Prize
2013 Past A+Art Blog including
State of the Arts: The Rise of the Living Artist, 2013
New Art at the SD Airportt: Flying High
San Diego Incubator for Innovation
Arts Leaders Motivations
Politics and Art in San Diego
Art Eats Food
Alternative Materials Panel Discussion - Sparks Gallery
London Art Newsletter 2013
San Diego: Identity Crisis or Identity Opportunity? March 2013
Palm Springs Art Fair, Feb, 2013
Corporate Collecting Book Review, Jan 2013
2012 Past A+Art Blog including
2009 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2008 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2007 Past A+ Art Blogs including
2006 Past A+ Art Blogs
PATRICIA FRISCHER, author of "The Artist and the Art of Marketing" has lectured extensively on marketing for artists. She is a trainer of artists’ agents, art dealers, consultant and collectors. Frischer has taken on the roles of gallerist, curator, writer, teacher, website coordinator and artist. Her many metamorphoses make her difficult to fit into any of the usual art world categories. She is a founding member and coordinator of the San Diego Visual Arts Network, (www.SDVAN.net ) which funds the SD Art Prize, directory and events calendar and SmART Collector features. Her own artwork (www.DrawsCrowd.com ) has been shown internationally and her most recent one person show was at Oxford University.