Thursday 3 April 2008

Gallerinas and Pop-Tart-Art

Via Edward Winkleman, this New York Times article on gallerinas.

Published in the Fashion & Style section, it has insights ranging from the "yeah, I can believe that":

Many galleries cultivate a front desk image. The Mary Boone Gallery usually presents fastidiously groomed men at uncluttered desks. The Gagosian galleries are known for the “Gagosian girls” — smartly dressed, smart and stunning women. Metro Pictures seats men and women up front who favor a downtown, 20-something aesthetic.

“Everyone wants a look,” observed Ms. Pasquarella, the art consultant. “They want someone who dresses a certain way: Armani, hippie-dippie, freak. It’s about building the gallery as a brand. And it’s divorced from the art on view.”

to the "oh, really?"

Assistants hold the public at arm’s length because, frankly, that’s not where the gallery’s clients come from. Top dealers, who must manage an artist’s career and cachet, are exquisitely selective about buyers. The public is almost irrelevant: encouraged to look and buzz loudly, but that’s about it.

“A gallery is not like a retail store,” explained Ms. Plummer of Lehmann Maupin. “For every 100 people who walk in, maybe one-half of one person actually buys something. It’s rare that collectors even come to the galleries — it’s mostly art advisers. And they have appointments.”

Somehow, the commentary on Ed's post has gotten wound up in the issue of art-uninterested punters making use of dealer galleries' toilet facilities. As Ed acknowledges, it's all a bit of a beat-up, even if it is a funny one at times - I'm sure it wouldn't have so much mileage if the term 'gallerina' wasn't so fun to bandy around. I've found New Zealand dealers to be a pretty friendly lot (and often well-dressed) - maybe the key difference is that our dealers are usually out on the floor when you visit.

In a completely different vein: 10 things to keep in mind when making art from trash / pizza / PeaRoeFoam, via


Anonymous said...

I am usually too scared to go to dealer galleries in case they ask me to leave for giving the place a 'bad look'. I must read up on the gallerina image and remember that the staff are 'just shop girls'

Anonymous said...

Ooops - please note the 'shop girls' comment comes from Abolutely Fabulous when Edina says to a gallerina "You just work in a shop you know, you can lose the attitude."