Recently I had a heated discussion regarding who is responsible for protecting and insuring your work when it is accepted for an exhibition? Let's say a highly regarded group puts on an exhibition and contracts a gallery. The group states on the application upfront about their legal responsibility for artwork accepted for their sponsored show. So far this is a normal practice and no one had an objection. You receive notification your work has been accepted along with delivery instructions, dates for your work to arrive, agreements to sign and additional costs the gallery charges to receive your work (this is a real pet peeve of mine for a later post) and a few more instructions. You are thrilled your work has been accepted and can't wait to get it ready to send. But stop you may not be prepared for what could be a huge reality check on how the art world practices business.
This is where our debate went to a higher level. Once your painting is in possession of the gallery do not assume it is protected by their insurance. Most galleries today do not cover loss or damage on items which they do not outright own, therefore since they are only in essence renting their gallery for an exhibition they are not legally liable for theft loss damage or fire. Not to mention the occasional acts of God that might also happen. It is a business practice galleries have maintained for years and with the economy in a slump it is even more prevalent. Our discussion was only in regards to exhibitions in galleries just to be clear. My stance in the debate is that galleries should cover the paintings of an exhibition. After all the publicity of a show being held at their establishment and the potential added profits to their bottom line through commissions of sold work plus the outside chance of signing on a fresh new talent and added clientele to their gallery I feel backs up my stance.
Since I love to follow things to the end today I investigated an exhibition which I was entering today and made a couple of phone calls to the gallery which was hosting the event. Sure enough I found out the gallery did not have insurance that would cover the painting I was about to submit. This gallery located in an area where storms can be dangerous and damaging did not have insurance to cover their own assets. This is very disturbing to me and if not for my rather Bulldog attempt to retrieve the information needed I may well have sent a painting (if accepted) unprotected and in harms way. So I decided to further investigate my own insurance on my studio and I am thankful to say my work is covered and if I wanted to I could extend a rider to cover paintings I chose to exhibit. This is very costly to add. I am now rethinking a part of my marketing strategy.
It really comes down to if you are comfortable taking the chance that nothing will happen to your painting , which is probably the case, than keep entering unprotected. But I know when you least expect it things can happen. I want people to be aware and know the truth behind showing their work(right or wrong). For me I am still thinking and weighing the pros and cons of exhibiting my work.