The success story of the famous American art dealer Larry Gagosian still gives no rest to novice collectors and gallery owners.

In his youth, the unknown son of Armenian emigrants Larry Gagosian didn’t even think about the world of art and worked where he could, parking cars, etc., until one day he started selling posters. Later he switched to painting, began to promote the paintings of contemporary artists, and one day it was thanks to him that the world recognized Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. After that, Larry Gagosian became fabulously rich and for a long time headed the ratings of the most influential figures in the fine arts. History of the American Dream, isn’t it?

Myths and reality.

In fact, the art world is a little different. Modern conditions in which there is painting, requires from the gallery owner a great patience, serious material investment and painstaking work to form their audience especially because of worldwide known bad experience of affaire bouvier.

Three steps to success.

What are the first questions to decide if you are determined to link your future with art objects and become a gallery owner? Of course, the main thing that can not do without – a passionate attitude to art and confidence in their own artistic taste and intuition. The second is special knowledge, which can be obtained both independently and with the support of art market professionals. It is also possible to enter a specialized university. From foreign specialized educational institutions we can recommend Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, where professionals in the field of art are trained according to programs of different duration, from summer courses to master’s degree.

Besides, of course, you should visit exhibitions, communicate with artists, gallery owners and collectors. This is the only way to understand what’s going on on in the art scene and determine the directions that will be closest to you. But if you are no longer a beginner in the art community, it’s time to start taking concrete actions.

Step one.

Determine the circle of artists you will represent on the market. All galleries can be conventionally divided into two types: actual and traditional. The first one reflects the latest trends in art, discovering the actual and new, the second one represents long-known art forms. And if the former tend to epitate the public with new original ideas and expensive projects, the latter, on the contrary, are conservative and usually organize exhibitions and sales.

The projects of the former are interesting because they are dynamic and sharply reflect the social processes that take place in society, these galleries have their own fans. However, there is another part of the audience, those who will follow the painting for their collection to the traditional gallery, because they are close to art, time-tested and not subject to market fluctuations.

Actual galleries address their projects to a politicized public, as well as those interested in a protest movement or ideas that open new horizons in the mind. There are also those in the audience who simply want to surprise their wealthy friends.

If you have decided on a direction, found your niche – try to get the support of at least five to ten artists who will work with your gallery. At the opening stage, you should also involve two or three well-known artists – this way you can generate initial interest in the gallery. And for a spectacular market launch, try to make your first project interesting and extraordinary.

Step two.

Choose a place for the gallery. There are certain areas where it is customary to open them: in New York, London and Paris there are entire districts where art institutions have started their activities. Other galleries may also be located outside the clusters, but preferably in the city centre, because traffic conditions must be taken into account and visitors’ time respected.

The home format is also possible, and there are many such galleries. Its advantage is that you do not need to spend money on renting space, which becomes the most burdensome expense. Therefore, some galleries do not have a permanent address, and use each time a new space. This format is interesting because it enhances the curator’s ability to present the next exhibition project in a new, suitable environment. In this way you will be able to offer the concept of going beyond the usual walls of galleries and museums, as many new galleries do today.

Step three.

Launch of the project and subsequent marketing activities. The preparatory work before the opening will take a lot of time, but it is impossible to do without it. Development of corporate identity and the launch of the site is simply necessary: otherwise how will you identify a potential buyer? Naming, creating a logo, preparing and printing catalogs, booklets and invitation cards, writing announcements and releases – that’s just a small part of promotional activities. Get ready for the gallery space and make the hanging.

It is also necessary to come up with some branded “chip” that distinguishes you from your competitors. Next, determine the circle of invitees to your gallery opening, whether it will be closed or available to everyone.

Notify guests about the date and time of the opening, think about the treat and program, write a press release. By the way, prepare yourself for the fact that you will have to constantly monitor everything that happens in the art market, attend many events and communicate a lot with people, participate in international art fairs, that is, be in constant search and movement.

So, you opened up and your gallery became known to a certain number of people. Among them, perhaps, there are your future customers. Now it is important to maintain their interest in new projects, to open up to them the names of young and promising artists, that is, to turn visitors into buyers, and perhaps even real collectors. Whether your gallery will become an attraction for investors and connoisseurs of painting, for journalists and artists depends now on your professionalism, your ability to communicate with people and, in no small part, on your luck. I wish you good luck!

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.