Agora

There is some debate in the art world as to the validity of Agora Gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Some artists find this to be a respectable, even profitable way to exhibit their art, while many others have had experiences that border on scam. Agora has a pretty high profile reputation for this. Artists confront steep upfront costs to exhibit as well as commission fees. There are those who assert that Agora Gallery is held in low esteem by fellow Chelsea venues. The bottom line: you must decide whether spending thousands of dollars to put your art in a gallery of questionable reputation is the best way to launch your art career. Plain and simple.

13 comments
  • Anonymous

    They contacted me twice this week. They want to charge me fees just to send my work up there. Sounds very suspicious to me. I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like there are a number of NYC people hitting up people on Instagram. Be careful, art friends.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been asked about them too and looked in when I was in New York. the gallery was setting up for a show and it seemed to be a space for hire, nothing more.

  • Iryna

    Guys, how am i to act if i can’t finance the return of my 4 artworks from Agora Gallery Ny (after pointless exposition so i know now=too late)?
    I didn’t plan anything for the case of not selling anything, how did thát happen?!
    And gallery never mentioned this possibility.. and there’s nothing of this topic in our contract! OMG…

    Please help…anybody?! 🙁
    I would be sooo greateful!
    +31(0) 6446 12039
    ireneval@live.nl

    • anonymous

      if that is there policy there is not much you can do, I’d call the police, i’d also call better business, i’d make a complaint on more forums, and most of all I would call the gallery and ask what you can do in this situation, and try not to show with a gallery that charges you again, and never assume that all the work will sell 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I’m an attorney and work a lot with artists, your message intrigued me… I decided to check out their site… the first thing that I noticed is that on the FAQ page they clearly state that they do not make any promises that the artwork will sell… sorry but that voids your claim that the gallery never said that there is a possibility that the artwork will not sell…

      I actually just noticed that the agreement is available online and couldn’t help myself and took a look… once again I wish I had better news for you but it is clearly spelled out that you are responsible for the cost of the return shipping… furthermore it even states that artwork that is not retrieved becomes the property of the gallery. This is standard practice in such cases and I suggest you try to discuss with the gallery how to return your work in the most economical method possible.

      I understand your frustration but must tell you that, from my experience, it happens often that an artist will not sell anything when participating in a collective exhibition… it’s just the way it is

  • Roy Secord

    Another “pay to play” vanity gallery. And aside from that, if you are a professional fine artist, it is the perfect venue to put on your artist resume to get a professional “black eye” by the arts community.

  • Ram

    I was looking for exhibition opportunities in Nordic countries and found out a gallery in Helsinki, Galleria Huuto, apparently is “an independent artist run collective” managing three spaces and receiving funding from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, however it charges fees from 500€ up to 1500€ for a three week exhibition period. Does any finnish artist out there that know more about Galleria Huuto? http://www.galleriahuuto.net/?page_id=53&lang=en

  • Oscar Riquelme

    Stay away!!!
    Years ago, when I first move to NYC I went around Chelsea galleries, in a mostly fail attempt to get a gallery, art dealer or curator to see my work.
    At this point I have been living from my art work and projects in Austin Texas, where my art career developed in a very organic way.
    As I went around trying to distribute my portfolio no one even bother in looking at the work or talking to me seriously. (Now I also understand that that was the wrong protocol)
    I only got two places to look at my work, one was a gallery that commented that my work was not postmodern enough, and then there was Agora Gallery.
    They sent me an email raving about my work, and promising the earth and the sky and the stepping stone for a successful art career.
    But the first meeting o had with them I realize there was something very fishy about it.
    They basically wanted to charge me thousands of dollars to become a “artist in residency” with right to some wall space to show my work and my work featured in their own “art magazine”
    But I notice right of the back that they did not have any artist represented for more than one show. I looked up an artist that had shown there in the past.
    He told me that it cost him a bunch of money, they did not sale a single piece of work but at least he could put in his resume that he had his own NYC art show which back in his country was kind of a big deal. Specially because no one really was familiar with the reputation of this gallery.
    I would say stay away!!!!
    There is no merit in showing there you are only proofing you are one more sucker this vanities galleries have preyed on.

  • Amanda BATES

    When a gallery in the USA contacts an artist in the UK (my web address and email address both indicate my location) then you have to wonder. Either their research is unbelievably bad or they’re up to something.

  • DM

    I applied for one of their “open calls” once, years ago, when I was still an undergrad and 19 years old. Still in school, no exhibition experience, still very much developing as an artist – very green. I got a voicemail from one of the women that worked here, raving about my work, about how “wonderful” it was and how “they’d love to represent” me.
    I spoke to one of my professors, who is a represented artist at a reputable and known gallery here in New York, and asked him about this place. He laughed. He said that it’s a vanity gallery, that no serious critics or curators ever set foot in there, and that they will not only charge you an arm an a leg to show some of your work, you’ll also be asked to “volunteer” your time to help run it, sit at the desk, etc.
    He said the whole idea of “pay to play” galleries preys upon artist’s desire to “get discovered” and be famous, etc, but in reality it’s a joke. Save your time and your money and focus on your work.

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