Art collectors at the opening of Nostalgic Dreams an art exhibition by Georges Bahgory, one of the Art Exhibition Openings at the gallery Al Masar Gallery of Contemporary Art. Image courtesy of Al Masar Gallery of Contemporary Art
BALTIMORE, MD — Art exhibition openings are frequently over looked by many young artists who do not understand how valuable they are to their career. While art openings, especially in galleries, are opportunities to present original art for sale, going to openings can be so much fun and beneficial to young artists. In addition to the food and drinks that are readily available, art exhibition openings bring together a lot of artists, curators, art collectors, art historians, and contemporary art critics. The convergence of these art professionals in one place is always an opportunity for young artists to network, learn a little about curatoral practice, and how to present their work for sale.
Young artists must take art exhibition openings seriously because they are beneficial. That is why these tips about the benefit of art openings and how artists should conduct themselves are very important. There are so many important reasons young artists should go to art exhibition openings. Although this list is not exhaustive, the tips are essential for young artists aspiring to succeed in their chosen career:
Unlike in the past when many young artists go to exhibitions dressed inappropriately, it is imperative to understand
that openings are significant social events. Everyone is expected to dress properly as well as be of good behavior. Dirty jeans, torn shirt, ragged shoes and some of those behavior that defined artists in the past should be left in studio. While it is not essential to wear a suit and tie or tuxedo, it is important to wear clean clothes that reflect your personality or style.
Young artists must see exhibition openings as business events and must present themselves in good light. Exhibition openings provide one of the best opportunities to meet artists, curators, contemporary art critics, art historians and other art professionals from all over the metropolises. Consequently, young artists must be ready to network and interact with the people they encounter. In New York, Chicago, Washington DC and other major art cities, openings are a must for artists who want to connect with other art professionals and share ideas. When artists meet at openings, they not only talk about the show they came to see, they also converse about their own work and new art projects they are working on. Such discussions and exchange of ideas could lead to an exhibition or joint project. It is a fact that many group and joint exhibitions developed from artists meeting other artists and art professionals at art openings.
In addition to artists, curators also go to openings. They go to openings for many reasons, including to look at artworks, follow artistic trends, and also discover new artists. Since curators are always looking for new artists to show, they are always at openings. That is why openings are some of the best places for artists to meet curators and introduce themselves, work or project. It is essential to have lots of business cards at hand. Business cards do not have to be anything elaborate. They can be designed using Microsoft Word publisher template or other free templates available across the web. What is important is that your card contains name, and other contact information, including studio address, email address, phone numbers and website. Artist’s website or blog is essential because it provides a place for new contacts to see your artwork. Setting up a website should not be a major problem. There are many free reputable platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Wix and several others that have professionally designed templates. All you have to do is register and start uploading images of your work.
In addition to your contact information, your business card should also include Facebook page, twitter account, and other social media networking sites that you have established a presence. Social media information is important because it enables you to constantly connect with new contacts and be aware of what is going on.
A portfolio or album of works is also essential when young artists go to art openings. The album could be just pictures of works or scanned images. With an album or portfolio, artists, art collectors and curators are afforded immediate opportunity to have a quick look at your work. In the event that a curator shows interest in any work, appointment should be made, and if possible, a studio visit requested. Don’t forget to exchange business cards. It is the best way to remember new contacts and also keep in touch with others.
Food and drinks are perhaps the major reasons many people go to art exhibition openings. Anyone who has gone to exhibition openings knows that there is always a lot to eat and drink. In fact, some openings are like parties with DJs, disco lights and a lot to eat and drink. While it is okay for young artists to have fun when they go to exhibition openings, it is important not to overdo things. Eat and drink in moderation because appalling behavior can leave bad impressions. While food is free, etiquette is of utmost importance. Eat slowly and don’t stuff your mouth. Also, chew with your mouth closed and don’t talk with your mouth full. This also goes for drinking. Drink in moderation. Free booze does not mean you have to over drink and throw all caution into the wind. It will be sad to see yourself on YouTube, Vimeo or other web channels vomiting in the middle of an exhibition hall. While this is a great idea for a performance art, it will be uncanny to see yourself in such a situation. Above all, if you know you cannot contain your drinking, have a designated driver ready.
Young artists should not forget to get or buy exhibition catalogues when they go to art openings. Exhibition catalogues have significant benefits for artists. Artists who want to learn how to describe their art, write artist’s statement and also present their artworks for sale must get a catalogue. Catalogues often contain outstanding description of artworks and essays written by exceptional art scholars. Young artists can follow the examples of these writings to write compelling artists statement, strong headlines, as well as describe their own artwork and inspiration.
Artists biography is an essential element in art marketing. Many exhibition catalogues and brochures contain well-written biography of exhibiting artists. For emerging artists, catalogue essays can be very useful especially when it comes to writing about themselves. For artists who struggle with how to write about their own art and practice, exhibition catalogues provide important reference that can be emulated.
Going to art exhibition openings presents young artists with very rare opportunity to learn the tricks of how to present original art for sale. While the concepts of museum exhibitions are different, the main idea for showcasing works in a gallery is to sell to art collectors. This is why proper presentation and installation is an integral part of art marketing. Poorly presented works of art will not only repel buyers but also impact the artist negatively. Painters, sculptors, and photographers, for instance, can learn how to hang and present their own original artworks for sale by observing how works are hung and located within the gallery space. Artists also have the rare opportunity of asking questions and getting tips about curatorial process because most curators are present at the opening of their shows.
When artists go to art exhibition openings, they have the chance to learn about art pricing and how to set prices
for their own works. By discussing with other artists, they can figure out why certain paintings, sculpture, art prints, photography and decorative art carry certain prices. Additionally, openings allow the chance for young artists to understand art trends and what path to follow in their artistic career. Above all, they will learn new tips about how to price their works and what to do to bring them to the standard presented at museums and galleries.
The importance of networking for young artists cannot be over emphasized. There is no doubt that young artists have a lot to gain by going to art exhibition openings. Besides learning about art prices, meeting new artists, art collectors, art historians, and curators, they also have the opportunity to learn how to write about art and also present their works. Above all, they become better informed about which direction to take their creativity if they must survive in this highly competitive art market.