With all the talk about the struggles of emerging and smaller galleries, much of the commentary has been focused on how fairs can better support galleries, or how galleries can experiment with new models to survive. But what about collectors? As the party that comes to the table with arguably the most resources, do they have any role or responsibility in ensuring gallerists can keep the lights on?
European dealer Thaddaeus Ropac isn’t so sure. For him, the collector’s primary duty is to the art and the artwork; galleries, he said, aren’t a charity. But others believe collectors do have a role to play. Sean Kelly
launched “Collect Wisely” in May, a multimedia campaign to encourage collectors to be more thoughtful and less financially driven in their practice.
“The art world is an ecosystem,” said Alain Servais, a Belgian collector who often takes to Twitter to criticize art market goings-on. “Definitely collectors cannot complain about the current state of things if they don’t do their own work.”
Some (hopefully) obvious things collectors can do to make dealers’ lives easier: Buy art. Pay for it on time. Be gracious. Don’t flip the work.
But there’s a lot more collectors can do if they want to see the galleries they care about survive and prosper. Artsy spoke to a dozen gallerists and art-world professionals during Art Basel week about how to build the perfect collector. What should collectors do more of? Less of? What’s the best way they can support galleries, both materially and emotionally? Here’s what they had to say.