How Art is related to Business….

30 Apr

Last Thursday some students of our group and I took part in the opening ceremony of Robert Longo’s exhibition called “STAND” at “Capitain Petzel”, a gallery on Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin. Robert Longo is an American painter and sculptor. “STAND” is his first solo exhibition in this gallery.

Well, we all had an amazing time there and it was so exciting to be a part of this wonderful show. However I could not stop thinking about artists and their work. Is being an artist really a job? Do you have a business when you are an artist? And all in all if art is related to business, how does this work?

To answer this question I want to tell you something more about this opening ceremony. We were 45 people and Longo wanted each of us to read a chapter of Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” at the same time. Probably for a lot of people this sounds weird, but for most of the people, who were attending this opening ceremony, it was just staggering. We did this five times and each time for about 10 minutes. Finally we read the whole “Moby Dick”, a classic and genetic code of America, in one hour, which was very impressive.

But now I really want to demonstrate how this evening and the artistic work are related to business. First of all Robert Longo showed a lot of his works at this gallery. The amazing fact about his works is that they almost look like photos and that’s why this is very interesting and impressive for the visitors. So hopefully, when a lot of people see his art, maybe they also want to buy some of his works. This exhibition “STAND” is opened from the 27th of April 2012 until the 16th of June 2012. The more people visit the exhibition the more money Longo is going to get. This is one thing that shows how art is related to business.

Robert Longo, Untitled (Berlin Flag),
2012, Charcoal on mounted paper, 60 x 120 inches
© Courtesy of the artist & Capitain Petzel

Furthermore we as the performer got money for our performance. In comparing to business we were kind of the employees and Robert Longo is our boss paying us money. At the end this whole evening with invited people, paid performers, free drinks and a film crew, who produced a movie of our performance, was in “terms of business” an investment for Robert Longo and the gallery. Therefore they hope that later on they will make money and that this investment pays off.

Already we have seen that art is related to business, however the most important fact is missing. As a business you are in a network. You know people, who know other people and somehow you are all connected which is excellent for everyone. The same exists with art. Robert Longo invited very important people to this opening ceremony and they brought other people with them. Also people of our performance were famous actresses from the German TV. This whole network brings Robert Longo good reputation and thus more and more people will get to know his work and his exhibition.

All this points approve that art is related to business actually that art is kind of a business. It is probably one of the most hardest once, because you are never sure if an investment pays off, however it is also one of the most creative businesses that often have a huge impact on other people.


3 Responses to “How Art is related to Business….”

  1. Bruce Spear (@brucespear) May 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    Brilliant, Melissa, for the personal account and, especially, the questions about the business: I’ve suddenly had a dream that you end up with a scheme of artist business models having busied yourself running around to galleries asking how they make their money. When I ask the question years ago I was told that Berlin galleries make only about 10% of their income from sales in Berlin: the galleries here are basically fronts for making money abroad. Sounds like a great time: I love the social scene around these gallery openings.

  2. sabrinacz May 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Melissa, your blog post is really interesting because of your personal experience and therefore the personal touch. I totally agree with you that art is a type of business. Just broaden your definition of art: not only painters are artists, but also singers, actors etc.
    These examples of artists show that art is of course a business. But are you sure, that investments in art-businesses are more insecure than in other types of businesses?
    I don´t think so, as you can plan and calculate the investments and pay-offs in art-businesses as accurate as in other businesses. What do you think about it?


  1. I can’t wait for the weekend to begin! « berlinlcalling - May 11, 2012

    […] day which was recorded and from now on is displayed in the exhibition. For further information read Melissa’s article about that special experience. The exhibition takes place in the Capitain Petzel gallery until […]

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