This short post is both a reminder for myself and others. I think there is this misconception that, because I work at a gallery, I don’t really “work.” People seem consistently surprised when I mention that I spent and afternoon entering costs into Quickbooks or creating spreadsheets to measure the efficacy of marketing campaigns. They look at me with wonderment, as if the idea that I don’t sit around in studios all day sipping Chardonnay with posh artists is such a wild deviation from their vision of the gallery business.
And I’ve encountered this bias at many levels: from parents who say, “Well, your brother work works,” to interns who don’t take the job seriously, to accountants who don’t take me seriously, to friendly neighbors who ponder from their stoops what I could possibly be doing all day!
Art is a business. That business is art. Art, like any other business, has a lot of day-to-day muck that is boring and tedious and not all that exciting. We, the galleries, do the business so that our artists don’t have to. We sell and pitch and market and mend so that the artists can create and network and develop meaningful, creative relationships. We have regulations and laws and taxes just like any other business. We have commitments to landlords and open hours and staff to pay. It takes long hours of hard, competitive work. It’s a tough business to be in. But when done well and with passion, it is glorious.
If you’re just getting into the business (or thinking about it), you need to think like an MBA not an MFA. Just a little PSA from me to you.