Bill Wahlgren asks:
The Internet allows me to research out-of-town galleries to some extent, but it doesn’t provide me with reliable information about their standing as businesses, such as sales history over a period of years, liens, credit rating, and other financial measures.
The conventional wisdom is to ask the gallery some of these questions and talk to other artists they represent, but, while very useful in some cases, the information gathered this way is usually varied and anecdotal.
I guess I’m looking for an affordable Dunn and Bradstreet for art galleries. An organization of artists might be able to subscribe to such a service, if available for this sector, and make it available to its membership.
Know of anything like this?
Bill, I know of nothing like this. Outsiders often complain that galleries continue to be one of the last unregulated businesses in the U.S. And since they’re so secretive about what goes on behind closed doors, I doubt you’re going to find them giving up this information voluntarily. The next best thing is to contact the local Better Business Bureau to make sure no complaints have been filed against the gallery. And, by the way, be sure to file those complaints yourself when you have clearly been wronged by a gallery or other business.
By posting here, you might get some leads, but I don’t think you’re going to find the D&B resource that you’re looking for. Still, we’ll try and see what shows up.
Thanks for the question.