Hi, I am not sure what is the right way to go on payment, but feel lately a good number of well subsided galleries have been using artists on the free and it needs to be addressed. There is a campaign to encourage artists to get paid by galleries, you can find out about it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMDSDe7YUs0 We need artists to stand together on this.
This is one that I haven't heard before. If you ever hear of a gallery owner who will pay artists to let him display their work, please let me know.
This really isn't the problem. The problem is a nastier one. Some of our tackier gallery owners want artists to subscribe to their services. In other words, the artist pays the gallery owner. This payment usually includes a showing with other artists, a note in a news letter and possibly a promotion folder or small ad. For additional fees, the artist can get an ad in the gallery's quarterly mailer or magazine. I keep receiving emails from a gallery in New York and another in Florida trying to get me to pay them to show my work.
This is one step above a con game. Let's face it, art doesn't move that fast. Most of the poor devils exhibiting with these "galleries" wind up taking their artwork back home unsold. The gallery owner is the only one making a buck.
Along with these fine business people are the ones who keep producing elaborate coffee table books and posh quarterlies about "today's artists". You pay them big money and they'll give you and your artwork a little spot in their publication. Pay even more money and they'll give you an little bit bigger spot. One woman wanted me to pay her to have my name and a small picture in some magazine I never heard of—if it even existed. When you get an email like that, just email back, "Get lost."
These people feed on the hopes and dreams of artists. We should be constantly on guard against this sort of racket and the lowlife bunch who are involved.