International Biennale Artists

A Discussion Forum For Artists

Dear Artist,

I entered the art world years ago and noticed so many changes in trends and objectives. Years ago galleries' revenues came from sale of art and were obviously seeking art that can sell. In the last few years the galleries embarked on a new source of income - charging a fee for a show + commission from sale. This opened two sources of income for the galleries but made our lives as artists so much more difficult. This also created a situation in which you don't have to be a good artist in order to show your art as long as you can afford it. The big problem is that a talented artist with little means have very little chance to show his/her art in reputable galleries. Since we as artists had to accept the new approach by the galleries, we paid the fee galleries charged us for shows. The only way to avoid paying for shows is by showing our art in inferior venues such as schools, community centers, community art-fairs, etc. What intruges me very much is why would an artist pay $4,500.00 - $5,000.00 for a 5 day show. I am not writing this to complain or criticize artists, I am just trying to understand the logic behind such a huge fee for a show.

I invite all of you to share your opinion about this issue. I can promise you that I will always do my utmost to reduce the fees galleries charge us for International Biennale Artists. It is my deep conviction to enable emerging artists succeed.

Elisha Ben Yitzhak       

Views: 80

Comment by Dennis P. McCann on October 25, 2012 at 7:57am

Elisha, the day I pay a fee to exhibit my art.... please shoot me.


Comment by Joyce Ellen Weinstein on October 25, 2012 at 8:16am

Dear Elisha,

I cannot begin to tell you how timely your letter was this morning about fees, etc. Contrary to my better judgement I participated in an art fair this past weekend in NYC. It was the biggest bomb. Fortunately the booth fees were low which was what tempted me.  The only other one I ever did was years ago at the Florence Biennale which was a big ri[p off. I swore I would never do it again, but I did and now I am so sorry.

I totally agree with everything you are saying about the art world. Like everything else money means everything and quality very little. Even colleges and university galleries are charging fees. It is a total outrage. It is a sorry time for artists. Your letter just bumped you up many notches in my eyes.  Thank you for writing and sending it out and please do keep me on you mailing list for possible future shows.

Best regards,
Joyce Ellen Weinstein

Comment by Mila Ryk on October 25, 2012 at 9:53am

Dear Elisha,

That is a subject that interest all artists and everything you mentioned in your letter is absolutely true. And yes, talented artists are left in a shade. 

As an artists I stopped doing the fairs, as it is a waist of money, as a business owner I created a helpful tool for artists to self-promote their art to multiple galleries and museums in a low price and be constantly promoted through Art & Beyond Online magazine and its printed version twice a year. 


Mila Ryk

Comment by Despina Tunberg on October 25, 2012 at 2:11pm

I think the artists should be more careful when they look for a place to exhibit.

If a gallery asks the artists a contribution to the shows expenses - no more than $1,000 for a two week solo show - this is fair. If a gallery asks $5,000 for the same show, it is not fair.

And if a gallery asks contribution to expenses then they should get a lower commission. Everything has a value. It is fair a gallery not to take all the risk of a show. But it must be a win win situation for both parts. I don't believe in these big fairs where the costs are extremely high and even if the artists sell they will never make the money they paid. But I believe, artists, as all other professionals, are smart and thinking human beings and they can make a decision of where to show and sometimes, if they don't find galleries to accept them, maybe they should work harder and try to improve themselves, instead of paying to show even if they are not ready for that. 

Comment by Paloma Bernaldo de Quiros on October 25, 2012 at 5:44pm

Hi Elisha

I've been in art world just 3 years and I understand, doing this Galleries shows are a good plataform, to unknown artists. In my opinion you get some curriculum, but a few sales.

But I think we can do much better if we (artist), together work or try to find another fomula. For example,

Instead of paying a fee to a Gallery, why not to contact charitable institutions and make auctions so we pay to a charitable institution same 30% to 40% of the sales, but the institution organize and promote the auctions and pay the expenses.

So peopople invited to this auctions, are peopople, who go to buy first to help the charitable institutions, but also because peopole like the art he/she is buying.

 So you will have a much better option for a real  sales.







Comment by Joyce Ellen Weinstein on October 25, 2012 at 5:49pm

Paloma's idea is terrific.

Comment by Yelena Dyumin on October 26, 2012 at 1:41am

Dear Elisha, you're 100% right. It's exactly what's happening in Australia. It's not what and how you do it, but who you know. 


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