Exhibiting in NYC

The end of a long, tense saga is finally here.
You might remember I exhibited this artist book at a gallery in New York, about four months ago.
Photo courtesy Robert Skelton
It was a bit of a leap of faith to send "Someday" all the way cross-country, but I took a deep breath and did it. My college friend Robert and my cousins Tim, Simone and Jackson attended the reception for me...
Photo courtesy Simone Pratt
and sent iPhone photos back so I could be there in spirit. Everything was going fine. Until it was time for the gallery to return my artwork.
Courtesy Robert Skelton
The monthlong exhibit came and went, and so did the five week period during which the artwork was to be returned to the artists. I checked their website and Facebook page to see if there was anything going on, and there wasn't -- by which I mean there WASN'T a gallery, and their website had been taken down. Other artists were posting frantically on Facebook trying to find out what happened.
In a nutshell, the gallerists seem to have had a falling-out, and they closed the gallery with no notice in June. One gallerist stayed in New York, while the other went to Boston. No forwarding information, nothing. It wasn't technically theft, but because the gallerists must have known the gallery needed to be closed down and didn't return the artwork when they knew, their actions constituted fraud. So I filed a witness statement via my local authorities, who forwarded it to the New York police department precinct nearest the gallery.
Finally, an artist who'd posted on the gallery's FB page received word from one of the gallerists, the one in New York. He said he was shipping back each piece -- from all of their exhibits since April -- one by one, which was why he wasn't answering emails in a timely fashion. He answered two of my emails as well, but then stopped communicating. Just as I was debating my next move... my artist book arrived.

It actually was shipped from the Boston area. I suppose the other gallerist must have taken some of the art and started shipping it as well. Good thing I sent it in a (decorative) box within the shipping box.
Hinges torn right off. Look what happened to the outer box.
I must say that two or three of the artists I was in contact with have gotten back their art also, in good condition and in some cases, packed better than they had done themselves. But it makes me wonder: do you have to breathe down every gallery's neck just to get your artwork back, maybe in the same condition you sent it? Does this happen at the big-dog galleries too?
Courtesy Bravo TV
During this whole personal saga, I was watching "Work of Art," and there's no way I could see the Brooklyn Museum of Art treating their artists this badly. (My favorite artist -- Abdi Farah, aka "Cartoony Boy" here on the blog, won the big prize of a solo show at the Brooklyn Museum! Hurray for Abdi!!!)
Courtesy Bravo
But then again, they've been around a long time and they're publicly funded and more stable. Maybe you've exhibited in a group show or a solo show. I'd love to hear about your experience, and any suggestions you might have about finding a more trustworthy gallery.
Posted on August 17, 2010 and filed under "\"Work of Art\"", "bitching and moaning", "personal art".