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I am wondering if anyone here has worked with Agora Gallery, located in the Chelsea Art District, NYC. I have been reading up on them and found a lot of information, both good and bad. Biggest thing so far is the label "Vanity Gallery". A lot of the truly negative information I found regarding them dated back to 2006 and earlier, but none recent of a negative nature. I am considering sending in my portfolio for review to them, and was curious if anyone here has actually dealt with them, and chosen to have them represent you.
Maggy, this is a legitimate art gallery located in Chelsea. They do business by making contact with artist through the sales pitch that was emailed to you. They don't mention the hefty rental fee for wall space they will charge you in their gallery in the e-mails.. However in the link she provides, you should really explore their website to fully understand the terms and conditions. Unfortunately, for a lot of folks a home equity loan is in order or perhaps a cash out re-fi.
The term Vanity Gallery is a valid description for one of 3 kinds of galleries. The commission based gallery is probably most common and agreeable. You would need to justify for yourself if the cost plus the additional commission fee is worth the expense.
Keep in mind they won't be mounting-matting or framing your work for you and the logistics of shipping/transport to lower Manhattan are additional cost to figure in. Artist who decide to be represented by a vanity gallery are less concerned with the expense if they are considering the exposure from being displayed in one of the planets premier Art destinations.
Typically when a vanity gallery gets your money, they are not as concerned about making money selling your work. They have your money. Also, a vanity gallery on your resume doesn't really impress anyone in the art world. It's acutally considered a black mark. But as Thomas noted, what's important to you?
Agora and it's counterpart Gora in Canada are well known Vanity Galleries. You can find out more about Vanity Galleries through the links at bottom. If you're looking to rent out exhibition space, try asking around at some newer and smaller legitimate galleries. If you're looking for "a gallery" this isn't.
Agora practices fairly sleazy hard sell tactics to lure artists into paying them for really nothing services.
They promise the moon and the stars, talk about what they can do for you and with your work, etc.
Then once you're sold and wondering how you could possibly be successful without them, they will start to mention a la carte prices.
Then you find out that you get a tiny amount of wall space
and promotion is extra
and they promote by buying articles in the vanity press
and the art scene has negative respect for the vanity galleries and vanity press
The confusion I have, is with everyone being so displeased with their tactics, and that they misrepresent by charging for all the additional services after saying they are included, is why nobody has reported them to the Better Business Bureau? They have an A+ rating and are a rated business on the BBB site, and there's not one single claim or statement against them..Nothing filed against them at all. Why not?
Vanity galleries mean nothing in the art world. If you want to shell out about 2,500 dollars go ahead. I was contacted by another such gallery (Gallery Icosahedron, or ICO Gallery in Chelsea) and I declined! What's the point of showing your work there??
Maggy, the people who run Agora will lurk discussion boards and make sure that their version of what they do is there in response to every complaint. They create a lot of valueless PR, and they market their services heavily to artists from outside NY and outside the USA. They can easily drum up ratings on the BBB. Also bear in mind that they do a good job at what they actually do - providing paid for art shows for people who have the money to buy them and want an ego stroking. Sort of like fantasy art gallery camp.
How many artists do you know who report galleries to the BBB anyway?
But if you're interested in working with them, and you have the money, go ahead and ignore all of the art world advice and do what you want.
I was contacted by them a year ago. After researching their background, I turned them down. They wanted around $3,000. Strictly pay to play. I just couldn't sell myself that much to say 'I am being represented in NYC'. Agora is not something you want to put on your resume as vanity galleries are generally frowned upon in the business.
I am, by no means saying that I am planning on submitting my portfolio to them, in all honesty. I'm not trying to ignore advice of the "art world" as it is put, but merely ask a few questions that I have come across after doing a great deal of researching on that particular gallery. I can't say I've been contacted by another "similar" gallery or any such thing, as this is the first I've ever received.
So I chose to enquire other like minded individuals to see if they had physically dealt with them as an "artist" paying the fees and such to see what they actually did. That was just sheer curiosity.. I don't exactly have 3850 to spare to throw at them, and can certainly find other uses for extra cash like that ,such as student loans..I am going to college, and work three jobs..lol
Thanks to all those who've taken the time to respond to my questions!