Cutting Costs

Daniel Grant has an interesting article on the Huffington Post about artists and galleries using email instead of print.  We have seen the auction houses cut back on print and mailing expenses, and it now appears to have taken hold within art galleries as well.  Many galleries and artist are cutting back on exhibition notices and fliers and are using email delivery systems.

The trend is of course moving toward more electronic communications, but many gallery and artists are using a slower and more common sense approach and taking advantage of both print/mail media as well as  electronic media.  But there is no question more and more items are moving to the web, especially with the new viewers and flash based movies, as well as social media.

Grant reports

To a certain degree, the move toward email-only communication is becoming less of a choice for gallery owners and, by extension, for artists. Fewer and fewer actual and prospective collectors offer their traditional home addresses and home telephone numbers on those sign-in books at the gallery desk or when they meet dealers at galleries or art fairs, preferring the more anonymous cell phones and email addresses. Jessica Martin, a painter in Healdsburg, California, stated that between one-quarter and one-third of her mailing list is email addresses only, and she claimed that "the Internet is the primary source of information for more and more of the people interested in my work." The artist sends "physical announcements" - postcards and flyers - for major events, such as solo exhibitions but emails for everything else (inclusion in a group show, updates about her career, notices about newly produced paintings, new galleries representing her work). When people on her mailing list move, the postcards are often returned by the postal service, "but people keep their email addresses, so they get the information anyway."

These modern forms of communication allow would-be buyers to be more accessible wherever they are and whatever they are doing, and it is also a way of being "green" by opting out of the cut-down-trees system of information dissemination.

Sometimes, of course, round-the-clock accessibility sounds better than it actually is. "I called up one collector on his cell phone to ask, 'Are you still interested in that $35,000 painting?' and he said, 'I'm in the bathroom now,'" Louis Newman, director of New York's David Findlay Jr. Fine Art, said. "Another time, I called up a collector who told me that he is in his doctor's office." After that, Newman specifically began to request land lines when asking for contact information of gallery visitors and collectors. Those kinds of awkward moments occur with increasing regularity these days. "It's not a big deal," said Andrew Witkin, director of Boston's Barbara Krakow Gallery who has had similar experiences. "Everyone's polite and understanding."
To read the full article, click HERE.

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