Monday, March 22, 2010

Taking it to a New Level

Crussell Fine Arts in Orange CA has issued a call for art to be purchased by a new Bloomingdale's store to open in August 2010 in Santa Monica. Crussel will administer the purchase of the works.

This sort of thing is usually handled by an art consultant. There are thousands of art consultants in the US. They range in experience from hey-what-the-hell-I'll-give-it-a-try to savvy professionals who help corporations and individuals build up impressive collections. They generally operate by building up a substantial registry of images from artists whom they have selected as appropriate for their client base. The legitimate among them do not charge these artists to submit. Rather, they make their income from actual sales, normally taking about 50% of the selling price.

Mr Russel, too, is taking a 50% commission on all the work sold to Bloomingdale's. That should result in a hefty fee, which we don't begrudge him. But he is also requiring artists to pay him $35 just to submit their work to be considered. That's not normal. It's also not good business sense, either, as it will screen out the more established artists who feel, rightly, they shouldn't have to pay for their work to be considered.

The cynical among us might think he already has his "better" artists lined up to show Bloomingdale's and is simply issuing the pay-to-play call to pick up a bit more cash and perhaps a few more artists for the pool. But it would be too cynical to think such a thing.

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