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 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.
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.
Galerie Michael Janssen refused to return my artwork and eventually destroyed it never paying me a cent.
My experience with Gallerie Michael Janssen (Michael, Dane, and Nina) started off great. They were very supportive, and I produced hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sculptures for them. They took all my work to Germany with the agreement that what they did not sell they would return to me. I never saw any money. After years of trying to work something out with them and being ignored and disrespected. I asked them for a small portion of what they owed me. They continued to avoid the conversation. Today I’ve decided to let it go. Now I know without a doubt the type of people they are, and I feel sad for them. They have to live with themselves.
My part in this is that I did not protect myself. I did not have a written contract, and I trusted that they would do the right thing. I am not asking for career or legal advice I am only stating my experience. I think it’s important to name names. Most artists don’t do this because they are scared it will make them look bad. I believe more artist should speak out and name names because we all know this is common practice for many (not all) galleries.
Galerie Michael Janssen Galerie Michael Janssen Galerie Michael Janssen Singapore Dane Reinacher
Feel free to share
Art Platform NYC http://www.artplatformnyc.com is a very good international art scam. It formerly went by Art Approach NYC and is now opening a branch in Washington DC, http://www.artplatformdc.com They have a rather professional website, with lots of talented artists and art shows around the world. They contact you by email to say they have been following your work and would like to represent you. They offer various packages, differing in price range and the amount of work they will do to represent you. They offer exhibitions, presence on their website and copies of, high-resolution, coffee-table size art books with your work, to be sold on Amazon, at B&N, and given to gallery directors and curators. The books never materialize. They especially target artists outside of the US because they can then (and do) make multiple charges to credit cards for which there is no legal recourse as the US (they are based in NYC) has no jurisdiction for credit card fraud that is not perpetrated here. They have a very good grifter as a front person, named Juliette Townsend. She is knowledgeable, charming, and very clever. She is the person to hook the artist. Then over the course of months the artists receive emails that are in broken english from various people with one name (supposedly part of the organization, who break appointments, make excuses for things not moving forward as planned and discussed, and promises for better services. When the books don’t materialize and you finally realize you have been scammed, it is often too late to do anything. I have been in touch with over 50 artists from their website who have had the same experience. Legal pursuit has proved fruitless. Some of the artists, those that used credit cards that were charged multiple times, have had some success in getting the money returned by the credit card companies. Others have not been so lucky. Some of us have made reports at http://www.ripoffreports.com which is a great site! All these galleries should be listed there for the benefit of other artists. The reports take minutes to make, come up on line within a half hour, and climb in google rather rapidly, so that within days, they start to show up right under the organization that has been reported, when you google that organization. This warns off other artists so they cannot continue to operate quite as effectively. Art Platform NYC actually shut down it’s website for a week and rearranged everything on it when the reports started to come up.
from Artnews –
The artist claims the gallery chopped off 10 inches from his painting.
UPDATE: The attorney for the plaintiff informed artnet News that Grunert paid the judgment in full following the court order.
A judge ordered Manhattan dealer Tanja Grunert and her eponymous gallery to pay an artist the sum of $500 a day after failing to comply with an order handed down in earlier this year.
The judge in the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, ruled in an order filed on December 8 in US District Court, Southern District of New York, that Grunert is in contempt of court:
“Ms. Grunert shall pay to plaintiff in addition to all other sums owed by her, the sum of $500 per day for each day following the date of this order during which she has not fully and completely answered the interrogatories that she was directed by the Order to answer.”
In 2013, Brooklyn-based artist Joseph Marino Statkun, known as Jomar Statkun, originally sued Grunert and the gallery for “damages for violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) of 1990.” According to the suit, a copy of which was obtained by artnet News, the complaint centers on a painting Statkun created, titled Tubal Cain at Beggar’s Creek. The original dimensions of the work were 60 inches by 72 inches.
The painting was sold for $16,000 in August 11 2010, according to the complaint. Two years later, Statkun claims he learned from a former employee of the gallery that “approximately 10 inches were cropped from Tubal Cain at Beggar’s Creek, without Plaintiff’s knowledge or consent,” according to court papers. A copy of the invoice is attached to the suit, noting the new dimensions of the painting as 50 inches by 72 inches.
In addition to the VARA violation, the artist made claims for violation of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, breach of contract, fraud, and defamation. He was asking for statutory damages in the amount of $150,000.
However the judge, deciding on a motion for default judgment, awarded $3,500 plus attorney’s fees, noting that “the dimunition in the size of the canvas was less than enormous. It had the effect of permitting the sale, at a substantial price, of a canvas that had not sold for an extended period.” Kaplan wrote that while the court did not want to “trivialize” the violation of Statkun’s rights, it saw “no reason to provide the artist with a windfall at the expense of the gallery.”