Book Review: How to Approach a Gallery

how to approach a gallery

The commercial gallery scene… to outsiders it’s a shiny, beautiful, sought after world. To emerging artists it’s often the career goal to be represented by a commercial art gallery. Unfortunately how to get that representation is something that the majority of art schools never bother to teach. And with the lack of knowledge comes the sad stereotype of an artist wondering around Mayfair with a portfolio, and the generic advice that artists are given such as ‘don’t wander from gallery to gallery with a portfolio.’

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Jenny Judova’s (founder of Art Map London and co-director at Tom’s Etching Studio) new book is a surprising breath of fresh air that gives an educated answer to the question ‘How to Approach a Gallery?’. Rather than copy paste the stale do’s and donot’s for artist she takes her time and explains the art market. The first half of the book is dedicated to explaining the difference between gallery models, and how these differences influence gallery/artist relationships. In other words, the message of the book is ‘understand what is a gallery before begging it to represent you.’

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Such books for artists I find are often emotional or portray gallery owners as the rich corrupted bosses, here the author offers a surprisingly sober and humanising approach. This is possibly because Judova herself has an insider/outsider status. She is neither an artist, a gallerist, or a curator thus she has really never been a stakeholder in a gallery/artist relationship. Yet running Art Map and being part of Tom’s Etching Studio (a service provider for galleries and artists) she is in a position to be a sympathetic confidant for artists, galleries, curators, and art organisations.

Overall the book is a great read with an empowering message that turns into a question ‘do you really want to approach a gallery?’. I do recommend this book to all practicing artists and art professionals.

You can buy the book here.

 

Pluses:

The book gives order to the gallery world and rather than shout generic advice it provides a systematic approach and it takes time to explain the structure of the art market, and the gallery system.

The advice given is candid and comes from experience that the majority of art professionals never share with the new comers to the art scene.

It’s easy to read, and the dyslexic pdf edition is a nice touch in an industry where the majority of people have dyslexia.

The book is concise and to the point.

 

Minuses:

Arguably the cost of £9.99 (pre-order), and full price of £12.99 may seem a bit too steep for a short publication. That said the content though short is worth the money asked, also there are very very few books that are written on the topic and all of them are priced the same or higher. The book is also available only as an e-book which I find a bit ironic considering the author co-directs a print studio.

The book is available only as an e-book which I find a bit ironic considering the author co-directs a print studio.

About Art Map London

Art Map London (www.artmaplondon.co.uk) is an art event listing website whose aim is to promote the London art scene and to demystify it.