Another New York City venue with a mixed reputation, Ico Gallery offers the same “deal” as the other pay to play places. For an upfront fee, artists are given space to display their work. The gallery is in the habit of sending unsolicited emails just as many other vanity venues do. The emails explain that they have viewed work online and would like to offer a show if the artist is willing to put up the cost at the outset. If you haven’t begun to pick up on the general thread of things by now, let’s be very clear. An artist should never, ever have to pay to display their work. Modest cost sharing for advertising and split commissions are the norm, but overhead costs are not.
A number of artists report being contacted by Montreal’s Galerie Gora with offers of exhibitions. Of course at first these emails are met with excitement, but then many of them realize they never submitted work to the gallery and they go on to read the terms of engagement. Galerie Gora solicits emerging artists, offering them exhibition space at very high cost. Again, while there is some debate over the validity of the gallery itself, it is a good rule of thumb to never fall victim to an email requesting money.
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.