After all the excitement following Baang + Burne Contemporary’s 2011 exhibition season, we’ve decided, once again, to do something a bit unconventional. We are launching an international open call to artists.
Just to be clear, we are not doing an open call for a juried group exhibition; we’re looking to sign new artists to our gallery for inclusion in exhibitions, projects, and events for the 2012-2014 seasons. We’re offering the chance to be represented by the gallery.
We want to find artists whose work we admire, and help to promote and sell their work for the next two years. The fact that their art will be featured in an exhibition in New York City is really just the icing on a very sweet cake.
Why Are We Doing This?
Let me tell you a little story.
Once upon a time a team of gallery directors went about the task of finding new artists for their gallery. They asked their friends for suggestions; they searched the internet; they did studio visits; they went to MFA thesis exhibitions. After months of searching, they realized something: They were doing this the hard way.
Why not put out the word you’re looking for new artists to work with, tell the artists what type of partnership you have to offer them, and then let interested artists come to you? So that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Why the Fee?
You learn a lot when you decide to open an art gallery. First lesson—everything costs much more money than you thought it would. In the pre-internet dark ages, sending submissions to a gallery was a real chore. Luckily, nowadays, submissions can be completed on-line. Quick, easy, and free, right?
Whether it means buying more storage for your e-mail server and spending hours downloading thousands of individual images, or paying a service to store and organize the images, accepting submissions on-line costs money. A lot of money. In our case, we decided to license software to handle the submissions. That meant an initial investment of around $1000 before we’d even announced we were taking submissions.
Bottom line: We need to charge a fee to cover our costs or we’d have to forget about doing the open call all together. In the end we decided we didn’t love the idea of charging artists money, but absolutely hated the idea of not doing the open call at all. The lesser of two evils: We’re charging a $45 fee. A relatively small pill to swallow considering the opportunity we’re offering.
What’s In It For Artists?
From the very beginning our goal has been to create projects and opportunities for artists that challenge the very idea of what an art gallery can be. In the first 16 months of our existence, we produced 8 exhibitions and organized nearly 20 events bringing about unexpected alliances and partnerships between creative fields outside the art world and non-profit arts organizations.
We’re interested in engaging the world at large and presenting work that generates cultural dialogue about what art can really do. We wanted to educate our fellow artists and provide them with the tools, information, and resources they need to advance their career. If all of the above makes your heart sing, you might be a perfect match for us.
So here you have it: This is what we do. This is why we do it. If that trips your trigger, send us your work.