Artists Dying of Exposure


I was asked to give a talk to an influential group of retired businessmen and women this past summer. By “influential” I mean millionaires. They dug the talk, the relevance of participating in the arts in our region, and helping the region to grow culturally. Nice round of applause. Most came up to thank me afterward, and I knew I’d won a few new clients. But one dude, inevitably, came up to tell me about his son’s practice, how they couldn’t afford art (yeah, right), but would I be willing to loan them works in exchange for the “exposure” the artists would get?

I thought of Louie Copt’s standard response to this kind of presumption: “Man, I know artists who have died of exposure.”

But as the art dealer I have to be diplomatic. So I just gave the dude a card, telling him in a certain tone that I’d think about it. He never called, apparently able to read a tone.

Man, some people. I mean, do you think this guy ever worked for free?

2 thoughts on “Artists Dying of Exposure

  1. It’s an interesting dilemma artists face with the free art/exposure question. In our area artists are constantly being asked to ante up for charity auctions. One artist I know was asked for over 50 donations in the last few months alone. I like your point about the fellow asking probably not working for free. Very few people do and artists are asked to do it all the time. Thanks for being so public about it.

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