Be Smart About Art

Selling art and selling your soul?

A fine balance between creative expression and making a living? A talk presented by Susan Mumford and Tim Benson

Date: Nov. 13, 2012, 6:30 p.m. - Nov. 13, 2012, 8:30 p.m. UK time (see time converter)

Location: NearDesk | View 61 | 61 Southwark Street, London SE1 0HL
Tube: London Bridge, Southwark

Speakers: Susan J Mumford, Tim Benson

Price: Members £7.50 | Full £15 | New website offer: Pay full price & bring a friend for free!

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Is there a single successful artist or gallerist in the world who has not faced, at some point in time, a struggle in balancing creativity with business?

Do artists who sell their art lose any credibility as a genuine maker?

Are gallerists who exhibit at commercially-orientated art fairs selling out and damaging their own reputations in addition to those of their represented artists?

Be Smart About Art Founder Susan Mumford will host the talk with:

Tim Benson, a contemporary artist and elected member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. His large-scale oil painting, 'Ninety-Two Years Old' was selected for the 2012 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, and is currently on tour with the exhibition. He regularly participates in solo and group exhibitions and art fairs around the UK.

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, so that you may ask any burning questions to the speakers and also share your own experience. Note that the seated part of the event takes place from 7-8.30pm, and there will be opportunities both before and after to network with like-minded arts professionals.

Places are limited so please book now to guarantee your seat!



Looking back in time, such concerns are presented Lindsay Pollock's book The Girl with the Gallery (Published by Public Affairs, New York, 2006) that presents the life of the Russian emigre New York gallerist Edith Halpert (the Downtown Gallery was open from the 1920s to early 60s):

"She [Edith] was... confounded by his [Alfred Stieglitz] poor business sense and his insistence on placing his moral principles above his commercial interests. Edith knew what it was to be poor... He professed disdain for any sort of marketing or advertising, frowning on the whole unsavory premise of art dealing, the notion of putting a price tag on the creative output of his handpicked geniuses..."

Despite the necessity to eat and pay rent, in 2012 many art professionals still perceive that a stigma is attached to selling art. Often, even artists who are comfortable in valuing their own creations with a decent financial price tag find themselves up against criticism from those who don't want to "sell out".

Yet, surely selling a work of art is a boost to an artist's ego, which thus renews confidence to produce new pieces - not to mention have the means with which to buy new materials?

This evening talk addresses the challenges faced by artists and gallerists/curators artists when endeavouring to maintain a committed practice whilst ensuring sufficient commercial success to support oneself. The ultimate aim of the event is to address such problems experienced by the audience, and to help provide practical tools that may be put into practice, thereby helping artists and curators successfully navigate the balance of right and left brain as required in their work as art professionals.


Note that refunds are not available after you have placed your booking.