Do you ever wonder how a gallery decides to give a new artist a first show? If you’re like many artists, you probably think it’s all about the art. You waltz your oeuvre through a gallery’s doors, the owner swoons; game over. Right? No, not really. According to gallery owners, that’s not at all the way it works. Sure, gallery owners have to be impressed with your work and like it enough to want to show it, but according to them, that’s only a start; there’s far more to it than that. Plenty of other puzzle pieces have to fall into place in order to seal the deal (or fall out of place in order to kill it).
Getting a first show with a gallery is much more than an impersonal arrangement between two independent entities where you supply the art, they supply the wall space, and then you go on about your business while they do all the rest. You and the gallery owner are about to enter into a business relationship, a partnership of sorts, and hopefully one that will have seriously positive consequences over time. Whether you’re aware of it or not, galleries always look to the future, at least the established ones do, the ideal outcome for them being mutually beneficial and constantly evolving long-term relationships with the artists whose art they choose to exhibit. So what exactly do gallery owners look for in addition to your art when deciding whether or not to give you that all-important first show (and hopefully many more to come)?