TITLE: TRUTH in Advertising
DATE: 3/03/2005 07:15:00 AM
A little bit of Nancy Drew lives in me, I think. For the past several years I have enjoyed Art Business News (ABN) for their unusual mix of articles geared toward framers, legitimate art galleries, and artists. (To be fair, ArtForum and Art in America are publications that I have found to be filled with an equally odd mix of message vs. readership, but they also are targetted toward a higher-brow art audience.) With ABN, I've even acknowledged what I saw in recent months in a few of my blog postings.
However, today, I stumbled on the smoking gun.
One of the rear advertising pages for ABN's February 2005 issue includes a full page ad for [SOLO]. The ad says "Be Discovered. Don't miss the opportunity to break into the art 'big leagues'. The SOLO Pavilion, sponsored by ebay, is a unique setting within Artexpo New York. Designed to showcase artists who are not yet represented by galeries, SOLO booth space is attractively priced to prominently position you among the 40,000 trade and consumer attendees to the world's largest arts marketplace - Artexpo New York - at the Jacob K. Javits Center, March 3-6, 2005."
Now, allow me to translate.
Artexpo is a show in NY that allows you or your gallery to set up a booth, show your work, and sell to collectors, frame shop owners, other galleries -- you name it. I know artists who have done the show with raving success. I know artists who have done the show and bombed.
"40,000 attendees"? Well, this is a stretch. Like all trade show companies, they mean physical bodies and this very well could include smoothie salesmen inside the hall, buyers assistants, or even unqualified people who drop in off the street. Numbers that large and round can't possibly mean they were looking for quality art buyers.
Having said that, I have personally attended this show three times before. I don't recall anywhere near 40,000 people during the weekend. They do have a large attending audience, but my repeating their ad here does not mean I'm putting the stamp on their 40,000 estimate.
The really slick thing you might have missed?
Artexpo has a new exhibition space for artists who represent themselves and don't have gallery representation yet. This space is sponsored by ebay.
Artexpo is owned by the same company that owns Art Business News.
Dun Dun Dunnnnn....
Therefore, all the bizarre positive editorial coverage in ABN recently about how GREAT ebay is as a 'vehicle for art sales'? Yes, it appears this editorial space was up for sale.
It's sad, yet not terribly shocking.
I just hope artists and craftspeople DON'T begin flocking to ebay because ABN put their stamp of approval on their sales auctions. I still maintain that ebay is not an appropriate sales avenue for MOST artists and craftspeople. You have to show and sell your work in an atmosphere that is befitting of your work and it's intended audience if you hope to be taken seriously. I'm unaware of serious art collectors that actually surf ebay for their next great painting, photo, or blown glass vase.
I challenge you to prove me wrong.