Clothesline Exhibition-Sale in East Hampton, Sat. Aug. 5 & Follow-up

Clothesline-photo by-Brittany-Brouker

“Be there or be square,” as thousands of art aficionados gather at Guild Hall at 158 Main Street, in beautiful East Hampton for the spectacular annual outdoor /indoor massive event.  There’s art by the best of New York artists, near and far.

I have five pieces up for display and sale, and there are likely thousands more to choose from. Prices range from $75 to approx. $2200.  I don’t know if prices are negotiable, but the event makes art affordable for everyone. Check it out.

Whether you purchase or not, it is a fun and fantastic experience to see all that is out there to enhance your office, home, or to give as gifts. It happens rain or shine, tomorrow, Saturday, August 5, 2017. It opens 9 AM, and it’s over at 4 PM.Rain or shine. The event benefits the arts. Fifty percent of the purchase price goes to Guild Hall, which promotes and supports the arts.

Follow-up:

It was an experience in which I am glad I took part. I learned what people want — great bargains, and tourist souvenirs. Next time, I will bring unframed small paintings and monoprints, (not expensively framed larger, more expensive pieces).  I didn’t put my best in, and stuck to what would be desired by a designer, someone who wouldn’t want intensity;  prettiness and color instead.  My rationale was that the prices were too low, based on the restrictive scale allowed for participation.  I did overprice three pieces that I witnessed people obviously wanted. I kick myself now in retrospect, because I made it impossible, with my overestimation of what people would be willing to spend.

In BJ Spoke Gallery, I ask the President of the gallery to tell me what price is reasonable. I didn’t have his feedback, nor did I exercise insight to ask him for his opinion. I trust his opinion. Instead. I asked my spouse (who doesn’t appreciate most abstract art, but loves and appreciates me and is aware of the time, effort and expense I put into each creation), and that is how I overpriced the most admired pieces.

One learns from one’s mistakes. This has been a good lesson. I can’t feel badly as I did when I left, because I was prepared with feedback from other artists (whose work I admire, truly skilled and gifted) who told me they had not sold a thing two years in a row, and their work does sell elsewhere. It’s the venue. One has to be prepared for it with foreknowledge, and have enough self-confidence to persevere and not take the sales figures as critiques of one’s talent. (Vincent Van Gogh, who sold nothing in his lifetime and more great artists flood to mind).

Many artists lie about their sales. In fact, I recently read that Salvadore Dali bought out his first show in NYC. That hiked up demand for his work.( It is cheating.)  Galleries maintain records of what is sold, by whom and for what dollar amount, and these records help in valuation of the art in an estate or in future sales pricing. It takes not just ego, sweat, courage and talent, but also it takes a lot of money to launch a career in art. And then the studio space, storage space, materials and the training, studies, the framing the time and effort promoting, and the costs to enter. Even the Clothesline charged $15 per artist to participate.

When people put a valuation on a painting they should consider what went into the creation they consider purchasing. Art is not free. It costs the artist and the artist cannot live on passion and paint. Buyers and exhibition venue administrators should be sensitive to this reality. Too many artists give up because they can’t make a living doing art. What if that next great artist was a reincarnated Picasso and he decided to chuck the brushes and to become a stockbroker instead to pay his bills?

The Clothesline event was akin to a bazaar. Paintings, photographs and other objects of art were hung and on the floor and a major hodgepodge that doesn’t do the individual pieces justice.

In contrast, in a gallery setting each piece is given space and a chance to be seen in its best light. This wasn’t the case. I didn’t know it would be like this, thus a valuable learning experience. I intend to do it again, sometime in the future, knowing, at best I will recover cost of materials, without profit, as it is a fundraiser and I must keep that in mind.

The event was held indoors, this year, due to the dampness following rain in the morning and the previous evening. The crowd was substantial. Some sold, most didn’t, as is the case year to year. Unfortunately, there is no arrangement to allow bargain hunters to ask artists if they would reduce prices on particular items.  (It’s better that way for the artist, but not if he/she wants to sell to clear inventory of a prolific nature.)  An elderly impressionist who sold two small pieces, was slapped with a W-2 form as was another woman ahead of her in line for one small low-priced painting. That “was not done before” she grumbled. She said only the material costs were covered by the sale,.
 Guild Hall was following the law. It does take a hefty 50 percent commission. Galleries and exhibition venues usually take 20-25 percent commission. In the case of Guild Hall, the Clothesline is fundraiser to support their arts programs.The lovely people administering the show were volunteers.
… I was permitted to move my framed and matted 1/1 and signed silkscreen monotype “Playtime” up, from  the bottom of a metal fence like rack. It had been at a disadvantage well below sightline. A woman had been crouching down, studying it.had not realized how it sounded,when I said, “this is mine” as if I removed it and moved it up, breaking her concentration and losing the potential sale.I hadn’t known at that point that when someone selects a piece to buy, they take it off the hook and bring it with them to purchase. There I was taking it off the hook and making that claim. (Dummy!  I learned from that mistake too).
I found my most expensive piece was hung well and yet someone had placed or dropped their whole bio page on it making it look like she did the work. It was an artist who went to Queens College. I went to Vassar College and our names were not alike. I was perturbed by this and wondered if it was an accident or a jealous competitor. I handed the bio to a rep at the nearest desk. Since artists were not required to attend, had I not been there, I would not have seen it.
During the short period I spent in Guild Hall, I watched the interactions and wondered if what looked like a photo being taken of one of my paintings was in fact shot. This alarmed me. At check out, an elderly woman on line said that she took photos of a great photograph of the rear end of a horse with real horse hair coming out of it and sent it her granddaughter who was an excellent photographer to have her copy it. I told her that’s terrible and it is stealing intellectual property. She said it would be for her, but just prior she said she thought her granddaughter could recreate it as hers. I thought of notifying the people running the sale, but didn’t want to make waves.
There should be a restriction, NO PHOTOS of ARTWORK allowed, unless you’ve bought it and left the building! The same goes for galleries and public art shows. This is a point, I’ve harped on before. Artists are at risk of intellectual property theft at every turn. …This woman said she didn’t want to pay the $600 the artist was asking for it. Well what about her own work that she sold?, I wondered. I told her that all my work is copyrighted (with the US Copyright Office) and I would go after the person if they tried to use my images in any way.
She didn’t seem apologetic, nor remorseful and I felt badly for the horse’s ass photographer. Certainly, he wasn’t a horse’s ass, but the creative photo would have made a great statement to one’s enemy, an ex-husband/wife, ex-boss, or as a gag gift.  Great idea with the genuine horsehair attached, and it belonged to that photographer as his intellectual property.  Where is the integrity and ethics among artists who would do such a thing to another artist?
The artist/writer Karen Kirshner in East Hampton, August 5, 2017
This  summation from an artist’s perspective, hopefully enlightens you with insight “behind the scenes”. This is my latest artist’s adventure in the public realm.
 

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