Here in Australia there have been plenty of art galleries closing their doors, downsizing or merging together in recent years. The financial crisis is playing a large part in the gallery clean out, but I think the Internet is more to blame. Artists and collectors have worked out that they don’t have to pay the middleman his cut and everyone is happier for it, except the gallery owner. Gallery owners are no longer the gatekeepers they once were and they’re struggling to adapt.
They haven’t given up the fight yet though. They just haven’t finished evolving into whatever it is they’ll end up becoming to make a decent profit in this new environment. Retail is changing, the music business is changing, we’re all changing.
The Age newspaper recently asked are art galleries becoming obsolete? Their answer was predictably NO because they asked people with an interest in the answer being NO, but I think it’s the right answer. As great as the Internet is there will always be a place for physical exhibitions.
Just thinking about my little collection of art that I have acquired.. and all of it has been bought online. The artist doesn’t have to have gallery representation and he or she doesn’t even have to be in the same country as me. I love the Internet!
It’ll be interesting to see how Amazon selling art online will change the landscape.