AND ONLINE BUYERS
SW: There are so many people writing about
art now: That’s good for the artists. They need
content and they will go to the show that just
popped up in Forest Hills or the Rockaways
or these cheaper spaces.
I think a lot of people are having trouble
because of online marketplaces and may not
even realize that. I think that the ability to
buy art online has had a massive effect on the
industry in ways people don’t realize.
One of the things that precipitated me
giving up my public space is that the vast
majority of my sales were going to people
who weren’t coming in. The last six or seven
sales I’ve made were to people I never met.
I said a long time ago that the internet
was going to affect us as much as any other
retailer. Young people are being trained…
to buy online and then if they don’t like
something, they return it.
MF: When I opened 12 years ago, the only
way one could see art and see what was new
was to go to the gallery. There was an event,
new work. In other words, the first chance
you could see it all was in the gallery, not
through Instagram, not through Facebook,
not through this post and that post.
There’s a temptation to just release, release,
release. By the time that artist wants to do a full
show of this work after it’s been out in the world
and forgotten, the genie is out of the bottle.
There’s no reason for people to come to the
show. I think an artist needs to be careful about
what they release and when they release it.
The other change that I see is how artists are
in the picture. Before, artists were viewable via
the gallery. Now artists have direct connection.
SW: I believe that artists are going to be
dealing directly with clients way more as
the years go on, and I think there will be a
platform, a really good platform created,
a digital platform to connect artists with
clients. I’m not upset about it. It’s inevitable.
I think that’s why we have to get a lot more
creative about what our role is.
MF: And about what we can offer.
DEALERS AS EDITORS
MF: Before, we offered the white walls, we
offered some guidance, we offered some
sales, but now a lot of that is elsewhere. I see
a parallel to publishing. Before, you had to
go to one of the big publishers and it would
be distributed in a certain way, and it could
only be distributed at bookstores. Now it’s
different, but the one thing that the writer
and the artist need is a good editor. I feel that
the gallerist still plays that role.
Can an artist do a pop up, one-night
show? Absolutely. But again, who’s going to
curate that and give you the sound advice
about the size of that work, how you’re going
to frame that, how are you going to price that
work? I still think those questions are all
best left to the gallerist. But ten years from
now, who knows what the landscape will
SW: People ask me all the time, why are
my artists still with me when I don’t have a
physical, permanent space. Just imagine that
you’re an artist, you’re making art, which we all
know is a very candid, very lonely experience.
Whenever I go to my artists’ studios we are
talking about them. What are you thinking?
What do you want to do? Where are you going?
What does this mean? In my case, what works
well with my artists is that I’m not just willing
to do that and be that person for them, but I
also love it. I love debating the merit of every
single piece. If [dealers] don’t move towards
that place, I think you do become obsolete.
MF: Both of us combined have had a lot of
years of experience and have seen the old way
of doing it and the new way of doing it.
Gallerists, whether they have a brick-and-mortar space or they don’t, have to be nimble
and have to be able to pivot. They have to be
open to letting old ways go and embracing
new ones, even if they’re not comfortable, and
even if it means embracing a technology that
they don’t understand.
Above: Sasha Wolf closed her gallery after almost ten years and now works from a private space. While she
represents the same roster of artists, she says she loves the flexibility that comes with not having to put on
six shows a year. “I started to feel there were too many shows going up that were good and not great.”
“ When I opened 12 years ago, the only Way one could
see art and see What Was ne W Was to go to the
gallery. there Was an event, ne W Work. In other
Words, the fIrst chance you could see It all Was In
the gallery, not through Instagram, not through
facebook, not through thIs post and that post.“
— MichAel Foley