Thursday, December 3, 2009

An 11th Hour Save

My exhibition COURSE: Selected Photographs of the Nude Female Figure, 2002-2009, has run its course. The show came off the gallery walls yesterday afternoon.

It was beginning to look as if this show was going to be a record breaker, and not in a good way. Without question, the artist's reception had the lowest turnout I’ve ever experienced at an opening. Worse, it seemed that none of the work was going to sell, and that struck me as quite remarkable. In the ten years I’ve been showing my work in galleries, I’ve always sold at least one piece from an exhibition. But in the end, the very end, something did sell, and it sold late yesterday morning.

Under the terms of my show contract, I was to be present during the removal of unsold works. The contract specified the take down to start no later than 9:30 am on Wednesday, December 2. However, late on Tuesday afternoon, the gallery director called me. She had fallen and broken her wrist sometime during the prior week, and because of scheduling issues with the artist following my show, I was not to be at the gallery for my take-down until mid-afternoon on December 2.

In a remarkable, if not odd sort of way, things came together in my favor at the last minute. Had the gallery director not broken her wrist; had the artist following me been able to adhere to a delivery deadline, I very well may have had my record breaking show.

Body at Rest, Study #2, 2006

“Body at Rest, Study #2, 2006” was the piece sold. It was one of the show images in my post of October 19, 2009, when I announced COURSE. It also happened to be one of five that I and the gallery director had pegged as a sure seller. Still, we were both keenly aware that any sell would be a tough sell, given the current economic climate. I suppose there’s validation in the sale from that point of view as well, but one thing’s for certain. Five, seven, or ten years ago, I would not have considered one print sold to be representative of a successful exhibition.

Having said that, I also want to say I consider COURSE to be an overall success. Certainly, this was not a successful show on every level. However, it is the show in which the work received a good amount of favorable press from unexpected sources and it is the show in which I established the most beneficial contacts in the art markets. Success isn’t always represented by dollars.

Here’s one other thing I find interesting; the greater portion of my nude work sold in Savannah has not remained in Savannah. It’s always left for New York, Chicago, or London to name a few locales. I can only think of two exceptions, and now I have a third, as this particular sale was to a local collector. I suppose that represents a something of stronger foothold in the local market.
The work from COURSE will be delivered to Horizon Gallery Friday, December 4, for long term display.

To all that did see the show, and to all that helped spread the word, you have my sincere and heartfelt gratitude. Thank you.

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