Monthly Archives: October 2014

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jan 1976

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 2 Number 2 January 1976

KCAC Logo_Angry Artist

Law Briefs
Artist – Gallery Agreement

The Lawyers for the Arts Committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association has recently made available to the general public and artists in particular an annotated artist-gallery agreement. Designed to improve the relationship between artists and gallery by informing each of the other’s interests, the annotated contract should be particularly valuable to the artist who has little knowledge of his rights and even less of how to protect them.

The Committee emphasizes that the Agreement is not intended to be used as a standard contract – its purpose is educational. The annotations to each paragraph of the Agreement detail the various options available to the parties drafting their own contract, explaining the considerations which favor or disfavor particular provisions or language. The Agreement presupposes a consignment arrangement between artist and gallery and includes provisions to regulate exclusivity, sales, discounts, exhibitions, reproduction rights, insurance and more. It is informational and in no way a substitute for an attorney’s advice.



Artists today have a legal resource right here with Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants Association (KCVLAA)!

KCVLAA offers a huge host of links to help artists work through copyright, trademark, health/safety and much more. It also offers workshops throughout the year across Kansas City on various topics that are all about helping the artists make the right choices for continued success!

For a list of upcoming workshops at KCAC please check out the Events page.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Jan 1976

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 2 Number 1 January 1976

The Artist and Publicity
By Mary Carroll Nelson

Every artist is shy when it comes to self-promotion, is acutely aware of the limitations of his art, and more reluctant than any other professional to toot his own horn.  Yet it must be done to achieve success.  Unfortunately many artists acquire a bruised ego along with rebuffs and may be apt to offend the very people they need at their side.

Here are some fine guidelines and practical advice, based on a talk given by the author, Mary Carroll Nelson, before a recent seminar in Albuquerque on the theme, “If It’s Art, Can It Be Business?”… a whale of a good question.

In order to succeed as a professional artist one must be known by those who care about and buy art.  The professional artists, therefore, needs skill in arranging for appropriate publicity.  Attitude is the key word in the approach of the artist who seeks a route to the public.  a confidence based on the conviction that talent is one’s greatest asset provides the faith the artist needs to overcome rejection.  Combined with courage, the artists needs tact in dealing with others – enough to distance from self to realize no other person has a vested interest in his career but himself.  Everyone else faces some kind of limitation.

Your own best promoter
No one is entirely free to promote an artist’s work even when it is preferred.  An editor,m for example, may want to help but has to weigh space or reproduction requirements.  The burden rests with the artist to plan publicity and never give up trying to get it in acceptable ways and places.

There is a fundamental question for the artist to ask himself before taking the first step in public relations: “Can I verbalize my approach to my own art?”  If it is difficult to put into words such things as method, product, motivations, ideas, the answer to talk to those whose opinions are most respected. We really don’t know our own thoughts until we speak them aloud.  After practicing there will be an ease in the choice of words.  Then it is time to prepare a brochure…

…Attitude counts in approaching the media
Further publicity requires the help of others.  To receive the help, again, attitude is all.  The rule is: Don’t be discouraged, but don’t be rude and personal either.  No one gets a second chance to be rude to an editor or a programmer.  The wise course is to be canny.  Figure out what the needs of an editor or media person are and approach the one who might have use for information about art.

Chances are that newspapers, magazines, television stations, and radio programs will have little use for news of a single artist who has no gallery or organization connection.  Joining groups and entering competitions is a way to earn recognition.  After earning awards or notice in a group, the artist has a better change at publicity on his own…

…Soliciting articles
To solicit an article in a newspaper, newspaper supplement, or magazine is a suitable method for an artist to take, particularly if he writes a good query letter to the editor and sends the same selection of photographs mentioned above.  If an interesting show is planned the editor might want to cover the news.

In order to do so he must know about the event long enough ahead to fit in with his lead time requirements. This can only be a few days for a local newspaper or several months for a national publication.  When submitting material to an editor include specific information.  One art editor complains that over 70% of submissions fail to tell the basic facts of who the release is about, what event is occurring, what hours it will be open, when it will close, whether there is a fee and any facts connected with the even that will arouse attention.  there is more interest in local media in a preview than a review. However, reviews can be sent to national magazines.

Plan your goals
Publicity alone does not sell art. The product sells itself – and this is subject to fads and seasons.  But there is enormous latitude in art.  Excellence will sell eventually.  By putting a total effort into one’s own work and persisting in it against odds, the artist surmounts difficulties.  The overwhelming need is to know one’s goal.

Is the goal to sell locally? To achieve statewide fame? To become a nationally recognized artist? Each goal requires publicity, but of a widely different quality.  All publicity will be briefly valuable.  As part of a carefully planned career, it is a requirement.  From brochure to TV talk show is not a matter of luck.  It is the result of a well formed goal, a good plan, confidence, and tact.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Dec 1975

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 1 Number 8 December 1975

Book Reviews


By Laurie Adams
240 pp, New York: Dodd, Mead. $8.98 (circa 1975)

By Pamela Bickart

“Art Cop” is a collection of true cases of stolen art that the New York Police Department’s art squad detective, Robert Volpe, helped solve.  However, what jumped out from the pages are descriptions of clothing worn to dinner parties, name-dropping designer labels, white Jaguars, white Lincoln Continentals, and champagne luncheons.

The crimes lack a sense of excitement because the clues are presented in a lackadaisical manner, and the solutions, when they exist, are obscure.  Often, the stolen works are retrieved, but the criminal is not found, and too many cases remain unresolved. Detective Volpe offers the opinion that art-related crime is definitely  on the increase, usually international in scope, with so little precedent to follow, that the thieves, when found, are given light sentences.

Art theft goes back to the beginning of history.  Invading armies ransacked the overrun countries and curio seekers have always helped themselves.  Major cases that come to mind are the Elgin Marbles, simply shipped from Greece, and the Cathedral steeple in Seville, paved with gold melted down from Incan objects.

Dealers relay on smuggled objects and there is a large market in Pre-Columbian, Mid-Eastern, Oriental and Oceanic art.  Financial greed motivates the complicity of citizens in the country of origin.  The attendant publicity in the fifties of the $2.3 million Rembrant and the $5 million Velasquez, followed by the highly suspect Calyx Crater, all owned by the Metropolitan Museum, will no doubt give further impetus to art thefts.  Since unique works are too well-known to be sold on the open market, much of it is held for ransom.

The real value in this book is stated in the introduction and epilogue, which make a strong case for an international registration system, a fingerprinting, so to speak- which would immediately give a complete history of objects d’art from the creator through provenance.

Throwback Thursday – KCAC Forum Nov 1975

KCAC Forum Newsletter Volume 1 Number 7 November 1975

The following is a synopsis of the lecture Mr. Sid Lawrence, owner of the Lawrence Gallery, gave at the KCAC meeting October 1.

Artists and dealers are closely tied to each other in terms of economics.  Artists become like a merchant, but with unknown customer demands. The art dealers are the middle men, originating with the release of the artists from patronage.  Dealers became such because they were, for the most part, collectors at heart.  It is, therefore, the market and manipulation that puts the value on art, not the quality of the artists’ works.

Many of the smaller galleries exist out of love for the arts and are financed from other sources.  Many dealers are art collectors and don’t make as much money as some would think from artists: E.G., Douglas Drake, Morgan Galleries to name a few.

It is interesting to note that artists themselves are not patrons of the arts.  They have only their own works in their homes.  Most say this is so because they have no money, yet some collectors have no more money than artists and they manage to collect anyway.

One of the problems Mr. Lawrence encountered when he first began showing in Kansas City was that some artists side stepped his 33 1/3 commission by selling their works in their studios for less than the gallery was asking.  Needless to say, this cooled him on a few local artists.

But artists have their problems too.  They get taken advantage of by banks, shopping centers, etc because these places publicize their support of art and get general publicity for their businesses.  In so doing, they gain financially, but the artists are being used as gimmicks to sell other people’s business.  Art schools and colleges should give a course in how to make a living at art.

If artists don’t sell their works, what do they do with it all? They stack it somewhere! Mr. Lawrence knew of one artist who, every two years, would have a big exhibit of give-away art.  He received many commissions that way.  It was his way of getting into the art market.

It is important to get rid of you r accumulation of art.  It is good publicity.  People that go into art galleries to buy have to be rich – that is a selective group that artists do not normally see.

Questions and Answers

Q – What is your definition of a professional artist?
A – A professional artist is one who really wants to make a living as an artist.  “I will not,” stated Mr. Lawrence, “talk to anyone else that does not present him or herself thusly.”

Q – Why don’t more people patronize K. C. Galleries instead of going to New York?
A – …”People going to N.Y. galleries are wined and dined and get bits of gossip. Kansas City does not have anything like that.”

Q – How should an artist promote his/her work?
A – Have and go to cocktail parties, make friends for art and expose enemies of art – like Hoffmann.

Q – Which way is art moving?
A – I’m not very good at judging trends.  I attacked Pollock’s first major exhibit (and I would still do it today). I never liked Thomas Hart Benton, and I should have bought his lithographs when they were selling at $5.00 each.

Q – Where should KCAC move?
A – Promote the notion that a collecting of local art is as good as having one of New York art.

General Comment – “One of the jobs of the art dealer is to promote artists they like.”  And if the dealer wants an artist to alter his style a bit to sell a work, the artist should take it in stride.  “A professional artist bends towards the market. He/she has to prostitute his/her art a little sometimes to sell.”