General policies and operations of selected Chicago art galleries
Dlugopolski, Edward Joseph
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The structure and organization which makes it possible for the commercial art gallery to serve as a significant instrument for the promotion, exhibition, and sale of the artist's work, have generally gone unnoticed. The purpose of this study is to investigate the current general policies and operations of selected Chicago art galleries. The study will deal with specific data and information as related to the basic practices and concerns of the gallery for the artist and his work. It is hoped that the answers will reveal sufficient facts, opinions, and related thoughts on the varied aspects of gallery ownership and management. Hopefully, it will provide us with a greater insight into the workings of the commercial art gallery in Chicago, as well as to develop a greater appreciation for the galleries in general. In some small way, the findings nay prove useful to those who participate in and promote art seriously. A further effort is made to compile the practical knowledge accumulated, in order to make it known and available to the interested and serious art student wishing to learn more about the subject; to the newcomer to the exhibition scene who thinks about the prospects of a future one-man show; and, to the established professional artists and artist-teachers residing in the Chicago area, and elsewhere. Hie study concerns itself with the commercial art gallery, and essentially with those in the near North Side of Chicago, The method of investigation is that of a survey, using the taped interview as the instrument of inquiry, A questionnaire was designed for the use of those galleries who prefer to respond in writing. Questions for the interviews are organized into four sections, each composed so as to bring forth factual data and opinions. The material shows the accumulated Information pertaining to (1) the gallery calendar, (2) the selection of the artists and their works, (3) business arrangements, and (4) additional responses relating to the owners' thoughts on matters such as; satisfaction derived from gallery ownership, the prime function of a gallery, and the gallery as an instrument in the education of the public in matters of art. Of the thirteen galleries asked to participate in this research, ten were able to take part in the study at the time it was conducted. The conclusions, subject to the limitations of this study, are as follows: 1. The study revealed a generous amount of information pertaining to art galleries in general that has not been expressed before and mode known In the manner of this investigation. The accumulated answers will provide much valuable and practical information for students and artists alike. 2. The gallery owners recognize the scarcity of information with respect to basic policies and operations of their business,, and were very cooperative by responding sincerely and without hesitation during the interviews. 3. The galleries are knowledgeably involved with the dally work of promoting the artist and his work, and have many firm convictions as to how it can best be accomplished. 4. Definite ideas exist amongst the owners of the selected galleries as to what constitutes a good work of art, the price it should sell for, or what work will or will not be hung in their respective galleries. 5. The galleries are deeply concerned with the future of art and artists in Chicago and elsewhere, and with the function and maintenance of their galleries in order to meet the highest standards of an art dealership. 6. Excluding the obvious need for most galleries to make sales and profits in order to earn a living, the interviews did elicit some sound and meaningful reasons for organizing an art gallery. In some of the operations of a gallery, there was evidence of similarities in procedures and agreement among the various owners. Reasons for, and philosophy, varied somewhat where it concerned itself with gallery ownership, the main function of a gallery, and the educational responsibilities of a gallery.