Depression Mother, Dorothea LangeÂ
OK.Â I’m not here toÂ kid you any more than you areÂ me, so let’s be straight up.
Has the recession been tough for my gallery?Â Hell yes.Â As tough as I thought it would be a year ago?Â No.Â Â Then IÂ thought we might be headed for a depression.Â What we got was bad enough,Â butÂ it’s notÂ 25% unemployment and the market didn’t lose 80% of its value, as in the 1930s.
Am I pissed?Â Very, especially over how the middle classÂ is stuckÂ with paying such enormous taxes relative to our income–and hence paying off this burden–while the upper class has, since the time of Reagan,Â received tax breaks that would never evenÂ be considered in Europe.Â But then handguns are illegal there too,Â they have universal health care, and theirÂ educational standards make ours look laughable–along with tuition rates that are actually affordable.
I digress.Â Â Is my galleryÂ going to fail because of thisÂ recession?Â Hell no, if only because failure is not an option.Â SuccessÂ has meantÂ grindingly long hours and burnout so severe I’m crosseyed, but so what?Â It beats the alternative.
What are our strategies?Â Well I can’t go into that online, but I will tell you this: clients are looking for discounts of anywhere from 10% to 20% these days.Â Now you can either sit tight and sell nothing, or you can swallow the discount.Â I’ve discussed this with our artists, and they’ve agreed we need to sell work.Â So we’re negotiating as I never have before.Â You may have to do the same thing.
Now some art career coaches will advise you to never mark down your work.Â These are normallyÂ people who, by the by, have never run a gallery.Â Accepting discounts is a personal choice; I’m just telling you what’s become expected by collectors, and what you may have to do to survive financially.
So is the economy, and hence theÂ art market,Â improving?Â Yes, but very slowly.Â So much damage has been done, especiallyÂ fromÂ the incredible stupidity, selfishnessÂ and greed of the last eight years, that we’ll be a long time rebuilding.Â Â It’s unfortunate how no prisonÂ terms will be handed out for theÂ people who legislated our livelihoodsÂ away, and into their back pockets,Â but those guysÂ normally doÂ get off–at least for now.