BOOK REVIEW: Management of Art Galleries

The art industry is the only few unregulated business left in the global economy. A bit like the Wild West, but with prosecco and a more sophisticated language. Magnus Resch, entrepreneur, lecturer and a former gallery owner himself, aims to demystify the international art market through his own experiences and those of artworld veterans including superstar gallerists such as Gagosian, Sprüth Magers & Stefan Simchowitz. Utilising insights from an anonymous survey sent to over 8000 art dealers in the US, UK and Germany, this is a compelling read that explores the inner workings of a very private world. Resch even attempts to provide the holy grail: a business model that works.

Management of Art Galleries is a concise and well-structured book which dissects repetitive mistakes that are made such as, focusing on the same clientele it also highlights new options in a crowded sector. It provides a clear categorization of the different types of visitors that spend time in galleries. The ones that are worth investing time and the ones that are not. His classification of artists is as accurate as entertaining: superstars, mature/successful artists, local shop artists, vanity artists and poor dogs. Myself, also an artist, sometimes wonder if I can be labelled in the last two.

Although it lacks a chapter on Social Media and online selling/promotion, the book is a clear insight into an industry that can be seen as obscure. It demystifies cliches such as location and printed invites with an emphasis on developing other group of clients and how to reach them. Samples of the different ways of succeeding such as Clearing, Gagosian and Skarstedt.

As Resch says:

“The art world is tough, the rules are a complete mystery to the uninitiated, and only the lucky few make money. Life in the art market means being constantly torn between culture and commerce, and nowhere is this more effectively illustrated than in art galleries… “So why are art galleries in such poor shape? The answer is simply this—their business model hasn’t changed with the times. Other industries have seen rapid changes in the past twenty years, while the art market has continued to occupy what it still believes is a privileged space. If galleries want to enjoy real success in the future, they need to shine a very harsh light on their business practices…This book offers a practical management approach to real improvements in the gallery business. It gives valuable insights into the art market, presents and classifies its players, and for the first time develops an economically sound and sustainable business model for art galleries.”

Management of Art Galleries is a fascinating insight into the world of professional gallery management, from attracting the right clientele, to approaching new markets and most importantly making any gallery a success. Buy it here

About Lorenzo Belenguer

Artist, writer and curator based in London and Valencia. Belenguer has collaborated with The Guardian, The Independent and many other specialised Art Magazines such Sluice, Artlyst and FAD. Belenguer's art is strongly influenced by Minimalism. He exhibited and performed at The Serpentine Galleries, TATE Modern and the 56th Venice Biennale.