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Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Is there anybody out there with experience of organising and staging an art nude exhibition? I'm thinking particularly of exhibitions staged in high street  outlets or dedicated spaces and galleries.

I'm investigating the possibilities of staging such an event toward the back end of 2013 and would be interested to hear of anybody's practical experiences; how easy you found it to find space, whether or not you set out to sell the prints, what marketing of the event if any you did? And of course, how it went.
Dec 13 12 07:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sospix
Posts: 21,371
Orlando, Florida, US


Talk to the guys at www.eroticsignature.com  .  .  .  they put on a big show in Miami, which becomes a traveling exhibit, and a hard bound book  .  .  .  best of luck  .  .  .  and, let me know when you want some submissions  .  .  .

SOS
Dec 13 12 07:53 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kent Art Photography
Posts: 2,861
Ashford, England, United Kingdom


I have never organized any exhibitions, but...

One I took part in - the website of, I think, the gallery, which was hosted in the US (even though it was a UK gallery), demanded 2257 compliance stuff from everyone for the material that was shown on the website, and not everyone had it.  Make sure you have no connection with the USA.

Another gallery put my stuff in the "gallery downstairs" - the basement - because it was feared that male nudes would incite the locals to revolt.  It was deemed that female nudes wouldn't.  You might not want to have your exhibition in a area where there are too many blue-rinse Tories.

I found that I didn't make much money from the shows, but I think the galleries did all right.  I would suggest that you make sure the financial side of things is robust, though.
Dec 13 12 08:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,649
Columbus, Ohio, US


A showing of just your work, or a mix of other artisans?
Dec 13 12 08:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Small Fruit Pits wrote:
A showing of just your work, or a mix of other artisans?

I'm thinking of keeping it simple and under control by just exhibiting work I plan to shoot in 2013.

Dec 13 12 08:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jhono Bashian
Posts: 2,432
Cleveland, Ohio, US


not sure about organizing one but I'll be submitting a few images to the Detroit Dirty show.   WWW.DIRTYSHOW.ORG   you might want to contact the organizers and pick their brains.  They are a friendly bunch
Dec 13 12 08:34 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Photographe
Posts: 2,350
Bristol, England, United Kingdom


Bristol is cheap as chips for studios and has a lot of rentable gallery space, so I've been looking into something similar. Doesn't seem to be any standard rules or guidelines about 18+ content in public galleries and that has been only my only concern so far, finding a gallery suitable for the content.
Dec 13 12 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
MainePaintah
Posts: 1,763
Saco, Maine, US


Drew Smith Photography wrote:

I'm thinking of keeping it simple and under control by just exhibiting work I plan to shoot in 2013.

I do not know about photography shows, but I do know a thing or two about art shows, and I would think that they are similar in many aspects.

First, are your photographs in a gallery right now. If they are, are they selling? If they are selling, tell the gallery you are in that you would like a one man show next year. See if they can accommodate you.

If you can't go that route, you can look for a space to rent, or hire a gallery for your exhibition. HOWEVER, in the art world, just hiring a space or a gallery is called a "Vanity Show", and the local critics ans newspaper will not cover it. Sure, you can invite friends and put advertisements in the papers and magazines, but your show will not be taken seriously by the art world in general, and all you may end up doing is selling a couple of prints to friends.

Google, "Vanity Galleries', and "Vanity Art Shows", and I'm pretty sure you will see what I mean.

Dec 13 12 08:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ivan123
Posts: 888
Arlington, Virginia, US


I have not had a gallery show in years but used to show regularly in a cooperative gallery just outside Washington DC.  It would be only my work, a mixture of figure work and photos of various other "stuff."  I found it went pretty well.  I would usually sell more than half my photos. 

Remember, if you are selling framed prints, then you are expecting people to hang them on their walls;  I found that more abstract figure images sold better.  A straightforward shot of a naked woman might be nice to look at it but will not find a place on the wall of most homes.  Also, I did all my own silver printing or antique printing so that made each object a unique, artist-touched thing.  You may think that the image is all that is important but people like to have something that seems special and had some physical contact with the artist.  Since almost all photography is now digital and "printing" involves sending computer files to a robot, it is hard to suggest that hands-on connection.  But at least be careful to mount things neatly.  (But don't sign the mat! Please.)   I have no idea what people are looking for in quality of prints these days but what I see in galleries is often appallingly bad so maybe you can get away with that.

I think it is true, not sure, that you do better with a bunch of related images.  Artists like to show off their range but gallery visitors like to see a "coherent body of work" as galleries will say.  They like the work of the artist overall, then they pick an example to take home with them as sort of a reminder of the entire collection.  At least that seems to be the psychology I notice based on wildly unscientific observation.

At the end of the day, though, don't expect to get rich.  On my best year I almost, not quite, but almost, broke even.  If you want to make a lot of money at this, you should consult with someone else (and then tell me how they did it).

Ivan
Dec 13 12 08:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Form and Pressure
Posts: 710
Auburn, Maine, US


Maybe a better way to go is to find a gallery that sells work to the same audience that you seek, and present them with a cohesive body of your work. It is important that you listen to the gallery owner about your target audience as galleries are in it to make money. If they don't think they can sell your work, they wont show it. If you are just trying to get into the game and get your name out there, then a good start is to submit work to juried shows in your area. Google "call for artists England".

Best of luck.
Dec 13 12 08:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 36,649
Columbus, Ohio, US


Drew Smith Photography wrote:
I'm thinking of keeping it simple and under control by just exhibiting work I plan to shoot in 2013.

I was putting one together for myself a number of years ago.

Do you have deep pockets, & willing to enterain a large loss for the exposure variable?

Location costs, print/matting/framing of a quality nature, printing/advertising, catering....coming in at around 12k, and I was shoestringing it IMHO. Oh yeah....that was 8 yrs. ago.

Could you do it for less? Probably...depends on what kind of event you wish to have.

Dec 13 12 08:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Zack Zoll
Posts: 2,572
Glens Falls, New York, US


Ditto on the vanity show comment.  Your work is excellent, but there is a lot of artifice in all the images in your port.  Don't take that as a criticism, as it is not meant to sound critical; artificial images can be beautiful too.

But because that style is common in your work (I'm assuming your MM port is representative of all your work), it limits you in what shows you could get.  In my experience, the "fine art" community is going through an ultra-genuine period ... to the point of being so genuine and heartfelt that most of it has GOT to be bullshit.

I really don't see you fitting in with that vibe, and I think that will make it really hard to get yourself a solo show in a reasonably-sized gallery without footing the bill yourself, even if you did have other shows under your belt.

What I would do is look at current shows nationwide in cities the same size as your own; I know your city is big, but I have no idea how big.  If your art scene is trying to push how cool and modern they are, then look at what's going on in London instead.  Come up with a written proposal a page or two long explaining your idea, how it relates to the art world, what you hope to see when it's finished, and what your personal role will be.  Shop it around, and expect to get a lot of, 'we're sorry, but we're not interested's, and a lot more followed by, 'but you should talk to so-and-so.'  Go talk to so-and-so, and name drop the person that sent you there.  Don't expect anything to happen fast though - I don't know what it's like in the UK, but galleries in the US usually plan out their shows 12-18 months in advance.

If you've done everything right, and pestered the right people, then your proposal will be accepted, and there will be a neat little hole for you to drop yourself into wink
Dec 13 12 02:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Zack Zoll wrote:
Ditto on the vanity show comment.  Your work is excellent, but there is a lot of artifice in all the images in your port.  Don't take that as a criticism, as it is not meant to sound critical; artificial images can be beautiful too.

But because that style is common in your work (I'm assuming your MM port is representative of all your work), it limits you in what shows you could get.  In my experience, the "fine art" community is going through an ultra-genuine period ... to the point of being so genuine and heartfelt that most of it has GOT to be bullshit.

I really don't see you fitting in with that vibe, and I think that will make it really hard to get yourself a solo show in a reasonably-sized gallery without footing the bill yourself, even if you did have other shows under your belt.

What I would do is look at current shows nationwide in cities the same size as your own; I know your city is big, but I have no idea how big.  If your art scene is trying to push how cool and modern they are, then look at what's going on in London instead.  Come up with a written proposal a page or two long explaining your idea, how it relates to the art world, what you hope to see when it's finished, and what your personal role will be.  Shop it around, and expect to get a lot of, 'we're sorry, but we're not interested's, and a lot more followed by, 'but you should talk to so-and-so.'  Go talk to so-and-so, and name drop the person that sent you there.  Don't expect anything to happen fast though - I don't know what it's like in the UK, but galleries in the US usually plan out their shows 12-18 months in advance.

If you've done everything right, and pestered the right people, then your proposal will be accepted, and there will be a neat little hole for you to drop yourself into wink

Thank you for the time and effort you took in constructing this response.

I know exactly what you mean and I didn't take it as criticism - one of the objectives of this project is to limit my post processing more and try to create a more 'original' abstract feel to the images.

Your advice and opinion is much appreciated.

Dec 14 12 12:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Small Fruit Pits wrote:

I was putting one together for myself a number of years ago.

Do you have deep pockets, & willing to enterain a large loss for the exposure variable?

Location costs, print/matting/framing of a quality nature, printing/advertising, catering....coming in at around 12k, and I was shoestringing it IMHO. Oh yeah....that was 8 yrs. ago.

Could you do it for less? Probably...depends on what kind of event you wish to have.

I have pockets. I'm not sure I'd like them to be THAT deep though. smile

Thanks for the heads up on your costs.

Dec 14 12 12:32 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Ivan123 wrote:
I have not had a gallery show in years but used to show regularly in a cooperative gallery just outside Washington DC.  It would be only my work, a mixture of figure work and photos of various other "stuff."  I found it went pretty well.  I would usually sell more than half my photos. 

Remember, if you are selling framed prints, then you are expecting people to hang them on their walls;  I found that more abstract figure images sold better.  A straightforward shot of a naked woman might be nice to look at it but will not find a place on the wall of most homes.  Also, I did all my own silver printing or antique printing so that made each object a unique, artist-touched thing.  You may think that the image is all that is important but people like to have something that seems special and had some physical contact with the artist.  Since almost all photography is now digital and "printing" involves sending computer files to a robot, it is hard to suggest that hands-on connection.  But at least be careful to mount things neatly.  (But don't sign the mat! Please.)   I have no idea what people are looking for in quality of prints these days but what I see in galleries is often appallingly bad so maybe you can get away with that.

I think it is true, not sure, that you do better with a bunch of related images.  Artists like to show off their range but gallery visitors like to see a "coherent body of work" as galleries will say.  They like the work of the artist overall, then they pick an example to take home with them as sort of a reminder of the entire collection.  At least that seems to be the psychology I notice based on wildly unscientific observation.

At the end of the day, though, don't expect to get rich.  On my best year I almost, not quite, but almost, broke even.  If you want to make a lot of money at this, you should consult with someone else (and then tell me how they did it).

Ivan

Ivan - thank you for taking the time to write this.

I understand exactly what you are saying about the narrative and congruent theme to a 'collection'. It's with this in mind I'm planning the shoots for 2013.

And, no, I know I won't get 'rich' off this. My main drive (apart from vanity smile ) is to go through the whole creative process and see what end product can be achieve given the goal I've set myself.

I'm confident I'll learn a lot and meet a number of fascinating people on the way.

Dec 14 12 12:38 am  Link  Quote 
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