It seems to me that there's a lot to be said for going into a space, and experiencing that work with someone else too. A dialog can occur, that, as you mention, is more spontaneous. Which I think can be important for new media, particularly because the bias of the medium is "cold."
Of course, the beauty of some new media art projects is that you can view it anytime you want online.
Right, which presumably has its pluses and minuses for dealers. I know you have been working on a contract between the artist and gallery. I thought maybe we could discuss some of these details a little, because I imagine they're really important to both artists and dealers.
Sure. The contract I've drawn up is an agreement between the artist and artMovingProjects. It's binding for the life of the working relationship between artist and the gallery, and that's actually how the document starts. The stipulation is for one piece of the artist's oeuvre -- and that's what's so different about it than other gallery contracts. Typically, the contract between the artist and the gallery represents all the artist's work, and ties the artist to the gallery. In this case, the artist is free to work for many different venues simultaneously, which is a real plus.
Well, there are examples of independently working artists in traditional mediums that seem to do okay, but it is very rare.
Yes, and this is very specifically tied to the intellectual content. It stipulates that the artwork will only be sold with permission of the gallery at the agreed piece in perpetuity….With editions, and video, the dealers typically increase the price of the edition as it is sold, and I feel that that's not such a great idea in the short term because it creates undue pressure on the collector. Also, part of the contract stipulates that any deals the artist makes outside the agreement involving others will not be supported by the gallery without authorization in writing. Further, should the artwork be sold without permission in writing this will end the relationship between the artist and the gallery.
So, is this wording standard in gallery contracts? How big an issue is it for galleries that some artists will make deals on the side?
They are all different. I mean, wheeling and dealing is good, it's just if you're going to wheel and deal, you shouldn't cut your gallery out. There has to be some compensation to the space.
Because the gallery is giving you visibility.
Yeah, so if you want to go over to X exhibition space and sell your piece there, that's fine, but you have to give the gallery a percentage because we're the ones who have been promoting the piece and investing in it.
Back to the contract, it then says, "the artist will mutually, and individually, provide proof of backup of artwork every year, providing a contemporary platform if the old platform becomes obsolete in order to insure flexibility of software and guarantee the art work’s performance in the future."
Well, this speaks to the loan form you sent me earlier, which stipulated a back up every two years.
And that was my idea too, and it's proven to be a very good one but it should actually be done every year. And I was thinking that if the work was backed up every year for five years, then the software would walk across enough platforms, hopefully decreasing the likelihood of the retrieval of a screwed-up program. The contract should also say that the piece be able to run cross platforms like Mac and PC. Then I say, "All hardware needed to run the artwork will be supplied by the artist and maintained by the dealer until sold, at which time the hardware becomes the responsibility of the collector, unless someone is making custom hardware (for example, robots)." Then, the artist would write out their plan to maintain it. I, personally, would be probably more reluctant to sell something like that, because the whole thing is making me more and more nervous… I don't want to be stuck giving a collector back his money because the piece doesn't run.
Although, just as a historical point, if a collector buys a painting, then the responsibility is on the collector to store the work properly and deal with it properly. Jeff Koons, for instance, spoke about educating collectors on their responsibilities of conservation in a discussion with Carol Vogel in January.
Right. Well next, in the contract, it says, "Unless stated above, the hardware, screen, projector computer, and player, are not considered part of the art work. These displays are considered framing devices and while the artist may have preferences that should be respected, the artwork is the concept." These are classically things that collectors have chosen for themselves, so it kind of ties into more traditional artwork at that point. Likewise, the certificate of authenticity that we give a buyer isn't so unlike those used for photography and video. It's a letter that gives the collector assurance that the piece has good provenance. I drew this one up with the help of Tom Moody and Paul Slocum.