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Old 03-13-2014, 02:06 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 647
Re: Should visual artists be paid for exhibitions?

Yes; when performing artists put on a show, it's generally assumed that they'll get paid for doing it, and audiences will pay to watch. But when visual artists put on a show, they usually have to pay for the privilege. First there are jurying fees - do actors have to pay to audition? Then there are "hanging fees" , and contributions expected from the artists to cover refreshments, publicity, etc. - if it's not a co-op gallery where artists bear all the overhead.

This is justified by the supposition that the artist's work will sell for high prices and cover all costs with a profit left over. But how often does that really happen? People attend art shows in the same spirit they attend a performance; they go, have a good time, see some art, and go home - there's no pressure to purchase anything and hardly anyone does. With much contemporary art taking the form of installations, videos, and similar things that would be difficult to buy even if someone wanted to, this distinction makes little sense any more.

Canada has taken an enlightened position on this matter, and has instituted CARFAC rules that stipulate payment for all artists, visual or performing. I'm not sure that's universally applied, but it seems like a step in the right direction to me.

Andrew Werby
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