What Is an Art Gallery?

An art gallery is a space in which visual artists exhibit their works to the public. It is often a privately owned business that takes on the responsibility of managing its artists and promoting their work. It typically collects a percentage of each sale, which can range from 25 to 50 percent. It also organizes in-person and online exhibitions to introduce the public, collectors, journalists, and art institutions to its artists and their artwork.

Art galleries are a vital part of the art world, acting as the bridge between the artist’s studio and the global art market. They promote their artists to the public, collectors, media, and art institutions both locally and internationally to advance their careers and establish their value in the professional art marketplace. This is a very labor intensive process that requires an enormous amount of creativity, strategy, and organization. It includes making studio visits, evaluating artist’s portfolios, establishing relationships with the press and other galleries, organizing in-person and online exhibitions, preparing for and participating in multiple international art fairs, coordinating art events, publishing artist statements and biographies, and managing artists’ financial accounts.

While art galleries can take on all sorts of artists, many prefer to work with established artists who already have a following and a track record in the art industry. They may also prefer to represent a group of artists that share a similar style or line. As such, it is important for an aspiring artist to research the history of galleries they are interested in before submitting their work.

It is also important for an artist to understand how a gallery operates. Galleries work based on trust and mutual respect with their artists. If an artist feels that the relationship isn’t beneficial, they can choose to withdraw their artwork.

A common practice in contemporary art is for artists to collaborate with a number of galleries at once to display their work in a series of popup shows that last anywhere from a day to a month. These are often held in vacant commercial spaces, a practice that has become more formalized and coordinated as “first Friday” events in several cities.

When an art gallery displays a new work by one of its represented artists, it usually announces the show with a launch party. These often include performances, lectures, or other events to celebrate the opening of the exhibition. A gallery can also hold auctions to sell its inventory of art pieces, which are often resold at higher prices later on the secondary art market.

In addition to the traditional art gallery model, there are now a number of websites and other venues that allow artists to showcase their work to an online audience. These platforms can make it easier for an artist to connect with potential galleries, and they can also provide a more convenient way for a gallery to review and select work for their collection. This can help save both time and money in the long run, as it means the gallery doesn’t have to travel to view the work in person.