I know, I know… Not another summer reading list. The summer is only three months after all. I want you have as much fuel as you can to make your art gallery business both fun and profitable.
That is the goal of this summer reading list. It’s made up of books that have just recently been published about the art market, running an art gallery, sales and marketing practices. If your gallery is slow in the summer or your hours are reduced, use the down time to fuel your knowledge and inspiration for how you can connect better with collectors and artists or make changes to your strategy in the coming years.
This book studies how the American art market developed into what it is today and various forces that helped to shape it such as politics, artist productivity and trends throughout it’s history of buyers and sellers. Questions addressed in the book include whether investment in American art is a lucrative strategy vs investing in other areas? What economic insights tell us about the rise of art crime in the American art market? Is the contemporary American art market in a boom or bust? Written by economist, the book could provide a new view over what you have read on these subjects by those working in the art market directly.
This book may help to shape your opinions on the state of the art market in which you work and determine what steps might be appropriate for your gallery’s survival given the rapidly changing and evolving art market.
This book sounds like a history lesson of your profession. It could be helpful to explore different perspectives of this history to determine the direction of the future. Learn from other’s mistakes and triumphs. Philip Hook, board member and senior director of Impressionist & Modern art at Sotheby’s in London, reveals the brilliance, cunning, greed and daring of dealers from before the 1700’s to today. Those who helped shaped the profession of dealing art include dealers before the 1700s, Paul Durand-Ruel, Herwath Walden, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Leo Castelli and Peter Wilson to name a few. Of course you will be familiar with many of these, but learning more about their achievements and strategies could inspire how you develop your art gallery business.
I have always enjoyed reading Schneider’s blog, The Grey Market. Technology changing the gallery industry has been a hot topic for years. In this book, Schneider explores limitations technology have on gallery sales, the reality that technology might force transparent sales and get rid of the “gate keepers” for art and many other interesting ideas about how technology will change the gallery system. Given the direction he sees technology going in up until now, this book explores different ways gallerists may need to evolve in order to survive.
Barbara Guggenheim is a well-known art consultant. This book is written for both seasoned and new art collectors to give them a lay of the land called the art world. As an art dealer, this book could be worth reading if you offer or are considering adding art consulting services to your business. It is written devoid of “art speak”, so the intimidation factor is reduced. This may help you better communicate with new collectors to help them feel more at ease with the collecting process.
The book covers the roles of dealers, auction houses, advisors, etc. as well as determining if an asking price is fair, to how to resell a work and buying art as investment. It is a book your potential collectors may be reading and could be valuable for developing your art consultant services.
I’m a big advocate of watching what museums are doing to attract visitors and increase participation from members. Museums have greater resources than a small gallery, but their ideas can often be modified and adopted for a commercial art gallery. The book attempts to answer the question of how does museum work change if we conceive of curating and education as an integrated practice? This book explores how museum education has evolved and role that exhibition curation plays in educating visitors. Effective and interesting education about art is also important to gallery success.
Luxury Selling: Lessons from the world of luxury in selling high quality goods and services to high value clients
Srun is a luxury retail expert. Art is always a luxury purchase for whomever is buying regardless of price. This book discusses how the psychology of luxury plays into customer motivations and could provide some insights into understanding their decision processes. The focus is high-net worth buyers, but many of the same principles will apply to lower price ranges.
This book covers in great detail the customers decision making process when making a luxury purchase. It also covers various selling techniques from active to persuasive selling, the motivational factors and the power of brand, either the gallery or artist’s brand in your case. This book is not specific to selling art, but in reading it you may find new ideas to close more sales and nurture collector relationships for increased loyalty.
Social selling has become a bit of a buzz phrase. This book offers sales strategies for how to sell luxury products within a digital environment such as social media. Covered in the book is luxury retail and e commerce strategies, why social selling is important and specifics for each of the major social networks plus Facebook messenger, YouTube, Periscope and Skype. Also of interest in this book is how to convert prospects to customers and then get them to refer your business.
Jukka Aminoff is a Luxury Advisory. He has lengthy experience in branding, marketing, communications, digital media productions and sales.
I think we could all use a book like this at times. Communication Snacks is an easy read, quick reference guide on being a more effective communicator. The covers both oral and written communications. Some of the chapters that sound particularly interesting for an art gallery owner are How to Keep a conversation going, How to really listen and Condense your message in a pitch. Topics include giving effective presentations, communicating in difficult situations and improving conversation skills. All very helpful areas when talking to prospective collectors, artists or gallery employees. The book also covers several grammatical topics that tend to be confusing to many of us.
What will you be reading this summer? What books have been the most impactful to your gallery business? Share them here in the comments.