By Eric on 2006-08-21
This woman may have been rude, but many of us are serious about collecting art, not because we’re rich, but because we love it, and we want to invest in something that has meaning in our lives. And it is very, very frustrating to deal with galleries that are simply unable or unwilling to accomodate serious collectors, who experience disappointment time and again with galleries that flake on a constant basis when it comes to dealing with buyers that can’t be at a show. If you want to command high brow prices for low brow art, you have to respect your buyers. Ultimately, it’s often the “bitch” who makes it possible for a Tim Biskup to command ten grand for a painting, and makes that twenty dollar Post-It that someone else bought worth much more in the future. It may be great to have just your buddies at an opening, and sell art only to whomever you’ve decided is deserving, but I, for one, will not patronize a gallery that decides it has the luxury to sell art based on its hasty judgement of a buyer. How very establishment to do so, and how very unappetizing.
My response if I may…
Ah so it was you, mr or ms Anonymous?
I’m also very serious about collecting art. And running a gallery store situation in LA, SF and NY is a manifestation of that. I do understand that there are people paying a lot for “low brow” art. We accomodate serious collectors as best we can, but we don’t accomodate rude people. This woman was the latter. We had a simple and democratic numbering system in place, it was to be fair to everyone (I’m repeating myself), she basically wanted to jump ahead of other folks who waiting much longer.
Is this person more important because they have dinner plans? What about the other folks who waited and cancelled their plans so they could buy art? Is this woman more important than the next person because she may pay $10,000 for a Biskup piece, over the kid who worked their ass to spend $20 on a Post It? You’re coming at it from the opposite side. I see that side, but in the end, we’re not a huge gallery, but we are a force that has helped the same artists you’re talking about increase the value of their art. Do you think we helped Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara in America? I’d like to think so, and I know since they’ve told me so. Did we help kozyndan and Uglydolls? Sure did. We sell product by Tim Biskup, Ryden, and Baseman. Don’t you think that also helps their value go up by creating a new demand for their products, and later, their art to new people who never go to galleries? We help in ways that people never think about. But let’s get back to the point.
Look at it this way, just because I eat more, or have a restaurant which buys more food than the average consumer, which helps the markets and farmers, should I be able to cut in line at a supermarket? I collect art, therefore I should be able to cut in line at an art show? No.
Your jabs and insults are noted. I would say it’s very “establishment” to accomodate someone who is “cutting” and who is rude. But then again, we are a California corporation, we pay taxes, and I guess that makes us an establishment. But we’re not the oppressor.
We do have our buddies there, you have a point, but we also accomodate any art buyer. We have many folks who come in and say, “I went to xx gallery, and they wouldn’t sell me art even when it was available for sale.” Then they say, “I’m glad you’re willing to sell art to me.” Reason being, the gallery was “holding” art for their collector “buddies,” whether they buy it or not is another story. We don’t do this either.
For our 10th anniversary show, a woman wanted to buy the Mark Ryden piece. She told me similar stories about how she can never get the chance to buy one. Guess what? We sold it to her, and I didn’t know her. Do you think she was happy?
Another buyer wanted to buy some pieces sight unseen. I’d rather not do this since what if they don’t like it? Are they going to return it and prevent others from buying it at the opening? Because, we wouldn’t accomodate this person, they cussed us out. That’s rude right? Should we have sold them more art later on? This same person came back a few times to buy more art via the same sign unseen method. It’s not going to happen. Being rude isn’t a calling card in my world. Being polite works for us. Do you think the artists themselves would want troublesome people to buy their art? I guarantee you, a lot wouldn’t.
We do have a responsibility to try and sell art. We try the best we can to help the artist and the buyer as I have already mentioned above. When it’s not $20 and with 1200 pieces, I will try and accomodate a collector. But when it’s a free for all as in this case, we have to be fair. On the buyer, she could have waited 10-20 minutes, she was just a few places off from the current customer – and she knew this. We’ll sell her art anytime, when it’s her turn. Our judgement wasn’t hasty and if she waited, she could have bought what she wanted.
I could get more rude since I think you’re way off base, and likewise, you are getting rather unappetizing.