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These are positive and / or negative reviews of galleries, art fairs, consultants, writers, online pay to play offers, residencies and more – all written by artists so that other artists can beware of situations where institutions treat artists badly, or that end up costing the artist money or are outright scams. However, it is important to note that “member” or “artists run” spaces are cooperatives and not in the same category as vanity or “pay-to-play” galleries.
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If you know of a gallery or art fair or any other online place for artists that is asking for money or has treated you badly, that is not listed here, add it in the comments below this text and I will make a category for it on the left. But if you have any experience or information about the galleries or categories on the left, please add your comments below that post.
If you are a gallerist or someone named in a post, feel free to respond in the comments of that post.
A reader sent in –
Artlimes – a website – they claim they only take a 3.5 commission, and you get to upload 5 artworks for free for review, but the second menu when signing up is asking for your banking information and routing number to your account. WTF? They say they are based in London, but only have one or two likes on their Facebook page posts.
A user sent in the following –
Rebecca Barrett who owned Link Gallery in Estes Park, CO and then in Cheyenne, WY. After selling artwork, she did not pay. She also took money from artists for a co-op ad, overcharge them for the space, then never paid the advertising bill and kept it all. I have confirmation of this from the magazine ad rep directly. I am not sure if the gallery is still open, but I believe she still “represents” artists.
A user sent in this comment –
Ken Featherstone who repeatedly made promises but never “fully” delivered. He is involved in many types of artists’ opportunities such as exhibitions, on-line representation, and advertising/editorial/representation. I have had three separate dealings with him. I continued to give things a try, thinking that surely I was mistaken. In the end, clearly, I was not. His emails and messages were extremely angry. After politely responding to his last email request, I received a very unprofessional response that I do not feel appropriate to share here.
Bottom-line, in my dealings with them, neither of these two people were who they seemed to be on the surface.
A user submitted post —
I am writing to report unethical unfair and unprofessional practices by Lab Art Gallery, LLC of California owned by Iskander Lemseffer. I am an artist who sold a painting through the business owned by Mr. Lemseffer.
Mr. Lemseffer is a thief and is in breach of contract on two counts: not disclosing the true price of my piece by not issuing a copy of the sales receipt and not paying me in full. In addition to this unethical behavior, he also “left” my painting in the potential owner’s house for 18 months after I repeatedly asked of its whereabouts. I eventually started receiving payments after insisting for months that he remove my piece from her house.
I gave the gallery owner ample opportunity to pay me in payments which he did but he was once again negligent in keeping his word whereby first promising to pay $1000/mo. of the $4000 owed (the painting could have been more, I may never know). He paid the thousand then dropped the payments to $500/mo. then $250 every other week. He stopped paying me a few weeks ago and has stopped responding to me with a balance due of $1500.
While I realize that my hopes for restitution could very well be in vain, (this amount is too small for me to to waste my energy fighting him in courts), I do want people to know of his unethical behavior. This was a very large and very reputable gallery. He struggled so much at the end of last year that he is now in real estate but the Lab Art gallery remains as an online store. He had another location in Texas but I don’t know if it is still open.
In Lisbon Portugal, a city I’ve frequented and love very much, there is near its castle Colorida Gallery. They approached me via Linkedin and after some correspondence I agreed to be included in a summer exhibition that went from two weeks to two months. A map of the gallery indicated the wall where my 8 paintings would hang in my bonding contract, and yes they asked for money to cover the expenses of an online booklet included on their website. When I arrived, on the Thursday before their Saturday reception reassembling my paintings, I noticed in the hours spent there that no one paid the gallery a visit, which I dismissed knowing the difference would be made during the reception. My wall was given to another which I didn’t protest (my regret). A mutual friend of the late Francis Bacon flew in from Paris as did another from England. What I was to discover is that the gallery is situated way behind the castle where no traffic, tourist or otherwise, would manifest, the reception was discouragingly feeble, the gallery sold nothing, no collectors, and my conclusion is that they just live off of international artist monetary contributions, Americans included, and I’ve yet to have galleries charging artists sell substantially having no collectors. There’s much more but not worth stretching into this comment, although I’ve noticed Colorida in previous forums where many struggling artists have been approached and question their legitimacy. Sometimes we artists must take chances and make sacrifices, but my heart bleeds when we consider adding up all that it may end up costing and yet a gallery is incapable of selling and just continue targeting vulnerable artists to keep their expenses paid.
Has anyone published in Artvoices Magazine? Or been involved with any of Terrence Sanders efforts? Platform Contemporary Art Show etc. The organization seems to have good intentions, but there is a sliding scale of cost with most of his projects. Typically a red flag, but he seems to be putting good effort twds some alternative channels for artist. And the shows seem to have some curatorial strategy behind them. Just not sure of his figures / claims – ie 15k-20k people showing up at Platform Contemporary Art Show. Thought I would post and see if anyone has shown with this organization.
Can you set up a residency category? Lots of problems there is you are just beginning. I traveled to India last year to this place: http://tvakstudios.blogspot.com/ Owner did not connect me with sculptor after 10 days. I went with a local friend and set it up with said sculptor in under an hour. When I got back to Tvak, owner kicked me out and kept $700 USD. She is notorious for doing the same to local artists. She also tried to derail my connection with the sculptor. Mean person. In April 2017, a poet came from UK and she said she’d get him a place to stay in town. Never did and he had to rely on another organization. Steer clear.
One user sent this in –
This is a gallery that specializes in photography. They put out a “call” for a subject or keyword and make a selection of “winners” to be exhibited. They offer print services if you send your files. I had 3 pieces selected for one of their exhibits. The “opening” was on a Saturday. I live in NY but my son lives in L.A. and wanted to see the exhibit. That began to unravel the despicable sham this place is. Going online to fine a phone number – no listing. We could not get days or hours without emailing. There is no website. Well there is, but it takes you to a FB page. There’s no photos of the gallery itself, and when I emailed for days and hours of operation so my son could go, the response was that there are no hours, that he should EMAIL to request an appointment to see the exhibit, and it was too bad he didn’t come to the “Saturday” opening, because the exhibit would only be up for a week and unfortunately the gallery was going to be CLOSED for that week! I paid for them to print the 3 pieces which were supposed to be shipped back to me after the exhibit, and I have yet to receive them.
A user sent in the following comment;
Please list Heaven Art Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ. They are a new brick and mortar gallery that just opened. They display the submitted art on large monitors in their gallery to customers.They started a contest and exhibition, but have no standards for judging – they welcome ALL art submissions so they can display it and sell prints. It is a vanity art gallery that charges the artist $10/month per image to be displayed. I had an email exchange with one of the owners to get more information, since there is little information on their website http://www.heavenartgalleryusa.com/
They started a contest and exhibition to get artists to submit their work for a $10 fee. I entered the contest in May and won first place in Portraits, but the only “prize” was to be included in a one month “exhibition” with all of the other submitted works for “free”. In other words, it’s a vanity gallery that you have to pay $10/month to display each image per month. They do no promotion of any artist, and all of the work is lumped together regardless of media – art, photography, sculpture, etc. Some of the accepted works are clearly amateurish, but there was no judging criteria for the contest. The artist gets a commission for each print sold. The gallery only does prints, so if a customer actually wants to buy the original piece the gallery gives them the artist’s contact information. There is no contract agreement for the gallery to represent your work – only the online agreement when you upload images.
A reader sent in this –
Please look into Working Artist Grant. Charges $25 as a submission fee which goes directly to the individual who runs it not to a nonprofit organization. Does not have a legitimate jury selecting artwork, but just collects funding from applicants so as to make a profit. Winner receives $500 but not really because they must then donate an artwork to the organization.
Any comments, research?