The Added Value of Working Alongside a Gallery – Panel Discussion

For the first time, TALKING GALLERIES and abc art berlin contemporary collaborate in a two day event coinciding with Berlin Art Week. As the name suggests, TALKING GALLERIES is a platform for the discussion of art galleries and their place in the art world. Over the two days, leading figures and professional experts of the art world are invited to discuss their views on the changing role of the art gallery, as well as its relationship with artists and the art itself. Commencing with the topic of The Added Value of Working Alongside a GalleryTate Modern director Chris Dercon leads a panel discussion with Sabine Breitwiesser (director of Museum der Moderne Salzburg), Angela Choon (senior partner at David Zwirner) and Harald Falckenberg (art collector and president of Hamburger Kunstverein). The speakers are relaxed and make the discussion thoroughly entertaining as well as informative.

Dercon initiates by asking his contemporaries their opinions of the definition of a gallery. Evidently the role of the gallery is constantly changing, but it is agreed upon that it is a place for the career building if participating artists, and the market is obviously driven by demand. I found it interesting that Dercon should pose this question as the director of Tate Modern, because of how the institution has recently been exploring ways to develop and innovate the gallery experience for the public. During May last year for example, the gallery was transformed by Musée de la Danse; introducing performance art into the gallery space in a direct integration with the existing pieces of visual art.

Returning to exploring the relationship between the gallery and artist disregarding the participation of the public, a crude definition given by the panel is that the gallery represents the commercial value of an artist. However, the panel also realise that there is a difference between art chosen to be exhibited and art that is collected. It appears that private collectors are not always keen for pieces of their collection to be shown publicly for fear of losing its value.

All in all, the importance of creating long lasting relationships between gallery and artist is stressed upon, as both need each other to survive and flourish. The panel also recognise that smaller galleries must support each other, subsequently creating a network of galleries and artists.

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