Not only are several dozen galleries closing every few years, but many are never getting the chance to open in the first place. Is it the rising cost of rent? The expensive and grueling schedules of art fairs? Or maybe it’s habits of collector have become too fickle.
According to the UBS and Art Basel, there has been a dramatic decrease in the rate of galleries opening within the last decade. Ten years ago, the rate of art galleries opening versus every closure was five to one. Just this past year, that statistic has fallen to 0.9 galleries opening to each one what closed. This could be a sign of increasingly high barriers to entering the art market.
A well-known arts economist, Dr. Clare McAndrew, states that the reason we’re seeing a decline in the opening of new art galleries is because there is a lack of money and contacts, both of which are crucial for opening a gallery. Banks are cautious when it comes to lending money to artists, as they are not familiar with the business model and see the non-steady revenue stream as a potential bad investment. Unless one is already independently wealthy, it’s difficult to find someone to back up the funds required to opening a gallery.
Focusing solely on current customers is another hindrance to the art world. In order to open more galleries, the buyer population needs to be expanded. This means the artist need to open their audience focus to a larger circle of buyers who may not be buying today, but will be looking to buy in a few years time.
It’s understandable why this trend occurs. Many are focused on the need to just make ends meet. This leaves little room for marketing efforts and reaching out to new potential buyers.
Attending an art gallery once excited people. Getting the chance to meet the artist in person and see the work of art right in front of you is still an exciting experience and people are missing out on it. Let’s bring back the community that surrounds art galleries!