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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.
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I believe “Specto Art Space” holds “call for entry” events and never has actual exhibitions. I applied for a show and didn’t get in, which is okay… BUT they have yet to announce show dates, winners of their call for entries, or any updated information on their website. A friend of mine in the area says the gallery doesn’t exist, or in their defense, may just not be up and running yet. I have contacted a couple places that list their calls to make them aware of the situation. The owner is responsive to e-mail, but it is incredibly fishy to me that nothing has been listed anywhere. Once artists are notified, there should be a notification of who is exhibiting and when. The show dates and deadlines are continuously pushed back – something isn’t adding up here. They claim to print, frame and mount your images, and that they give away tons of prizes.
|I was so excited to be accepted to be accepted to the Arctic Circle Residency and the geography of the trip is very beautiful. However, there were so many things wrong that I wanted to let others know. First of all, the Arctic Circle residency does not provide any funding at all; it is completely self-funded – they charge $6,500, but additional costs run another $3,000; gear, travel, hotels, etc. This is probably the same cost if you got some friends and organized a similar trip yourself, something that the shipping company offers.
The worst part is that the director was very abusive to many people. Participants (each trip has about 25) were not allowed to ask any questions. If they did, they were met with a tirade. My heart went out to a 22 year old who “had the audacity” to ask him a question.
The trip is billed as a two weeks on a ship but is actually 10 days. That comes out to about $950 a day. 3-4 days were spent on land in a bunkhouse. It makes sense to get there one day early, but not at all interesting to waste time on land for $950 a day. People who left early were harassed and made fun of. That part could have been optional or they could have been up front about the actual itinerary.
I understand not wanting to waste- everyone was assigned one cup only and cups were only washed once a day, if that. Of course that was hard to keep straight so when one person got sick, many people got really sick.
The program also claims it is for artists and scientists, but there are no scientists are on the trip. That would have been very interesting.
Participants are invited to stay up as late as they like drinking – that’s how the ship makes extra $$. Not to be a fuddy-dud, but if you want to make use of the time s studio time, that is not realistic. Why not close the bar at midnight for example? The bar is in the studio space/dining room – maybe convenient for some!!, but makes it hard if you really want to use the time well.
The boat crew members were very nice, but smoked liked chimneys. Though they only smoked on deck, smoke got everywhere. However, to close on a nice note – the other participants were great.
A User sent this in – – CYNTHIA HOUPPERT, “Art Agent” and former owner of ArtStruck Gallery in Blue Ridge, Georgia. This is still so incredibly painful to discuss —I’m going to provide the facts, but it’s is a lengthy story ; worth your while to read it! I was a novice when I signed with this “art agent” and her gallery. I had NO clue what real agents do for artists; in retrospect I think she got that about me right away & capitalized on it.
Long story short, after I’d paid/insured $10K worth of my portfolio to be shipped to her gallery, months later they weren’t answering the phone OR emails. I’m 2000 mi from there so I was panic-stricken. Not knowing what else to do, I called a local art association who gave me the low-down: they’d skipped town, owing quite a few people money including the landlord; the lady I spoke with said she was pretty sure there was a warrant for their arrest, several bad checks, I think. I should mention Cynthia has a life partner whose name changes often. Cynthia and her partner were men previously and transitioning to women has helped them hide from law enforcement.
Cynthia wrote a book on getting an art agent, which was one of the reasons I signed with her; I felt that added to her credibility and I trusted that. As the days went by I spoke with many people in Blue Ridge, Georgia, desperately trying to track down my work. Although she’d sold a few pieces, she still had the majority of my portfolio.
A kind person who knew the landlord said nothing was left in the gallery space they’d rented, so I knew she had to have my work with her. It wasn’t just me, there were 11 other Artists who were robbed. When I contacted each of them, they were afraid/ashamed to go public, felt it would hurt their marketability and were embarrassed they’d been scammed. One of my fellow exhibitors was a very well-know international sculptor; interestingly enough he tracked her down and got his work back, but I think he was successful only because he threatened to go public with the story. He told me they’d re-located to Miami and gave me a phone number.
I called until my fingers were numb; no answer. I did a paid internet search ($40) to get their email. I wrote demanding my work be returned to me at ONCE. I got back a response, loaded with snark and smartassery, as though I was the one who’d stolen $10K worth of Artwork. I threatened her with police and she said I’d signed a contract and there was nothing I could do. The contract I signed was STRICTLY for exhibit in Blue Ridge, Georgia, NOT transporting my work ANYWHERE and had actually expired. I called the FBI Art Theft Unit and was told the value of my work was “arbitrary” and that they could not pursue these crooks; also was a problem that I’d “given” my work to them, wasn’t like they’d broken into a gallery or museum and stolen it. They were kind and sympathetic but couldn’t help me. Meanwhile, I began getting threatening emails from Cynthia, saying she would “alert the Gay/LGBTQ community that I was Gay-basher” .
I was like, good luck with THAT, honey, at least a third of my buyers are Gay. So WHAT ?!?! The threats and derogatory comments continued until I finally gave up and blocked her. You could float a kayak in the tears I shed over this. This was 10 years ago; I still have not been able to recover ANY of my work and am pretty sure she sold it all & kept the money. Insofar as I know, that’s what she did to ALL of us except the sculptor. I think his international status was what helped him recover his pieces; he had an established value of his work, well-documented. My work has grown exponentially in value since that time and now hangs in seven countries and two museums. I would give anything to get back my originals.
The work Cynthia stole from me were all early originals and I have very few photos of that work, stupidly trusted her to take more photos for me and of course that never happened. This person and her partner are straight-up thieves and manipulators; they come off as highly knowledgeable about the Art World, but they are crooks and cons. I strongly urge you NEVER to do business with them; they have a long history of cheating artists and actually robbing them AND very sadly, have gotten away with it for quite a long time, ten years plus. Had I owned a ten thousand dollar CAR, the cops would’ve been all over it. But, because it was Artwork, the value only counts if you’re selling like hotcakes and an established “name”. Keep that in mind when you do business with people who have little to no Art cred.
I learned the hard way–and my work is gone forever. I want to add that I am totally disabled and Cynthia knew that; my art materials, framing, and shipping & insurance were paid for by family members & friends who wanted to help me pull up out of a long, deep depression after an accident that’d permanently disabled me. I lost everything I had and was clawing my way back into Life. Cynthia knew ALL of this and still robbed me blind of my work. THAT is a direct illustration of how craven she and her partner are.
A reader sent in the following;
Art & Sol Studios
310 NW 25TH St
Miami, FL 33127
Put out an international call for art last year with a deadline of October 14, 2016. It’s title: “Art Basel 2016” a three day event, December 1-31, 2016 in their Wynwood Miami studio to “exhibit during the hottest week in Miami” Art Basel Miami 2016. With a full color catalog to be published of entries submitted to this competition, awards and gift cards.
I paid the 42.80 submission fee, 4 stone sculptures were accepted and 2 sculptures as backup incase of sales, a total of 6 stone sculptures to be delivered and set up for the exhibition. I had been emailing and calling Christine with questions and concerns (I was getting very little communication) which began to leave me sceptical. Art drop off on November 28th, was a 5 hour drive to deliver my packed stone sculptures. I arrived to pay by the hour parking street side (not near the studio). I went into the studio to find a small so-called art studio with erotic/bondage art on the walls, a messy, dirty, unorganized street side party house.
There were no pedestals for heavy stone sculpture nor any space to place them.
When I confronted her about not having pedestals or space to exhibit my heavy stone sculptures… Christine said; I bought some pedestals and they’re waiting to be picked up at the post office. I asked for the slip, I would go pick them up, she said they’re being delivered, ” Just leave your stone sculptures on the floor and we’ll take care of setting them up. I asked about a contract to sign off my art, she didn’t have one.
I refused to leave my artwork. I had to stay in a hotel because of another 5 hour return trip back home. I never heard from her or Salim (who knew nothing about anything when asked)
Juror: Christine Madison; B.A. in Business & Visual Arts: Purdue University, Owner/Curator of Art & Sol Studios.
An artist herself and originally from Sanford, Florida. Set up shop in Miami.
Another Juror; Salim Cortes; B.A. in Visual Arts Columbus College of Art & Design.
A user wrote the following –
Do NOT work with Joseph Latimore of Gallery Sensei, now based on 135 Eldridge Street.
He owes me 3K, he owes a friend 9K, he owes people in London 30K and the list goes on and on.
He has made a business of hustling artists, curators and anyone trusting enough to give him opportunities and/or work for him.
On top of that, his gallery is a pay to play.
A user sent this in –
Galerie Bernard Jordan, Paris, did not return one of my unsold artworks after an exhibition. After emailing Jordan many times he finally admitted he could not find it back in any of his storages. He did not offer to pay for it. I was so kind to make him an invoice for less than the amount we had agreed on in case of selling it. But after several reminders he paid only a fraction of that amount.
Think twice before you work with this gallery. They maintain a high standard in respect to the quality of the art that they show, but not in respect to paying artists apparently.
An artist sent this in –
A particular company to watch out for and AVOID is one called Museum of Cultural Arts, in London, UK (situated at Canary Wharf) and run by a woman called Lorraine Gabriel. Do not have anything to do with her, she is very dangerous. What started out as a linked in contact, with offers to represent me, and host an art exhibition for me in London, became a huge horrible heartbreak. End of 2015, we met in London and she charged me 280 pounds to represent me. A couple of months later, she asked me for 1500 pounds to do a special clothing line of my artworks. That never eventuated at all. During 2016 as we communicated by email, she was a little cagey with details. She asked me for 6400 pounds for the venue hire in London and to manage everything from easels to transportation of the artworks to the gallery, and said she would pay the deposit to the venue right away. At one point, when I asked her about where the money was going, she got snappy and angry with me and really upset me that night. I should have listened to my gut instinct and pulled out right away, but I did not. We proceeded communication, and few months later, in late 2016 came the time to prepare for my exhibition in London and I flew all the way from Australia to have it and on the very night, thirty minutes before the exhibition was due to open, she cancelled! With weak excuses saying that the car hire company had cancelled on her, and a couple of days later, we found out that she had not paid the venue at all, and the venue told me she told them a different story, that she could not afford the car hire or the easels hire. I felt very angry! This was 6400 pounds I had paid her for all of this, where had it all gone? So we got about reporting her to the police and fraud squad and the embassy, which all were on our side. Lorraine says she will do this and that for you, but never does anything, just pockets the money and runs! Stay away from her.
A user submitted the following;
I would like to report and warn all of an artist residency retreat business called Starry Night Artist Retreat. Be very careful. They offer you a special opportunity called Exposure, to exhibit in Miami, USA or Venice, Italy at art expos. They charge you thousands of dollars and then they pay themselves to fly from where they are to the expo and then if you do something slightly so wrong (in their eyes!) such as converse with an art gallerist (which you should be allowed to do!!!!) they go off at you and run off with your money. The promises they made to support artists like myself for one whole year which they did not honour, breaching the contract I had signed. I also won a scholarship to do one of their courses (which I must mention was nothing but cheap silly point form information and no real content!), and then was selected to be in an art expo, which then they charged me $6000 for, and promised me ongoing support. Later when I went to dispute the breach of contract by them, they told the gallerist that I had paid for the course – after telling me I had won it. So effectively they told lies to get out of paying me my money back which still has not come back to me three years on.
This person Monika Proffitt is the person you need to watch out for. An awful temper, a great jealousy of good artists, and will take your money and run! Do not give Starry Night Artist Retreat your business, no matter how glowing reviews may be on their site, they are not honest! And their prices are ridiculously high! Just another Vanity type of art service! I make no apologies for exposing this horrible company.
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.