I wanted to take a minute and share with you the work of some artists I found super exciting:
Before I go, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two things.
Thing the first: very few of the gallerists took me seriously as a potential buyer, which I found to be super ageist. I’m sure, statistically, their clientele are significantly older than me, but there were a few pieces in my budget that I would have seriously considered purchasing (if not then, that at a later date) if they weren’t giving me the stink eye. Was definitely (internally) channeling Julia Roberts at a couple points.
Fine art can be a really solid financial investment (one I eventually plan on making…though I’m very much in the research phase…) depending upon factors such as the artist’s resumé (where they’ve shown) and body of work (who they’ve sold to and for how much), which leads me to thing the second: there was one gallery (which shall not be named) that was absolutely guilty of featuring a certain photographer whose work, while OK, was definitely not on par with the work in the rest of the gallery, let alone the rest of the galleries on the block. Yes, I know galleries need to make money, but this dude’s pieces were street-fair-level-good, at best, and significantly overpriced. I’m taking $450-600 for a large print. He had a decent eye, an expensive camera and a working knowledge of photoshop. I know art is entirely subjective and I am potentially jaded because I know my way around Lightroom, but his work looked like slightly artsier versions of stock photos of the Southwest, and, imho, belonged in the shops in historic Santa Fe that sold the Dias de los Muertos dolls and Mexican jumping beans, priced appropriately at $150-250 (slightly less unframed). The whole exhibit, complete with large banner outside the gallery, just screamed “tourist trap.” And considering most of the tourists to Canyon Road were senior citizens, it didn’t sit right with me. I put myself in their shoes: Imagine I’m a typical middle class senior. I save for a trip to Santa Fe, and I want to visit the arts district and purchase some art. When I walk into the galleries, I start to notice that most pieces are well more than I anticipated: $2,500-25,000. There are even large sculptures for sale with price tags in the triple digits! I start to feel a bit silly, thinking I could be the owner of a piece of contemporary art when I happen upon the gallery-which-shall-not-be-named. In the front room are large photographs of New Mexico and the Southwest. They’re really very pretty. I don’t feel a deep-heart-level connection to the work, but $500 is in my budget! The girls at book club are going to be so envious when they see that I bought ART at a REAL LIFE GALLERY on CANYON ROAD! I don’t know to research the artist prior to buying (if I did, I’d find that he hasn’t shown anywhere significant or had any major solo shows, and isn’t at the beginning of his career…which are all red flags), and I have no idea that this piece, in all likelihood, isn’t going to appreciate in value, so selling it after I’m gone probably won’t make the dent I envision it will in paying for my grandkid’s college education. I trust the gallerist, because knowing the art market and pricing pieces accordingly is their job, right?
I know, I know. My entire rant screams #FirstWorldWhitePeopleProblems. I just don’t like seeing anyone taken advantage of. Period. They probably hate thirty-somethings like me with art history degrees and enough knowledge of the art market to be dangerous…
**steps off soapbox**