Sluice 2012, 22-24 October

October 18th, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | books | event | exhibition | gallery | notice | slideshow - (Comments Off)

Exhibition of works for sale in a silent, blind and anonymous auction; these have been donated by over fifty artists (including Market Project’s Annabel Dover and Alistair Gentry) to contribute to the return of the artist-led and artist-centred Sluice Art Fair in 2013. Alistair was on Sluice Art Fair’s discussion panel in 2011, with his Market Project hat on. Our David’s Aid & Abet is also involved, as is our former guest Cathy Lomax’s Transition Gallery.

See the work Monday 22 October- Wednesday 24 October, 12-6 daily. Then come to the book launch and reception at Hanmi Gallery, 30 Maple Street, London W1T 6HA from 6-9pm on Wednesday 24th to see who has been lucky enough to walk away with the work they bid for.

PS: Hanmi has a sister gallery in Seoul, which is in fact Gangnam Style.

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading

September 23rd, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | discussion - (4 Comments)

If you’re paying a (so-called) art gallery to show your work, or you’re paying by the metre for your wall space, then you’re not in a professional artist-gallerist relationship and you’re not in the art world; you are a customer of a service industry, and customers in the UK (and of course elsewhere) have clearly defined and legally enforceable rights. One of the sock puppets in this notorious thread about Debut Contemporary mockingly taunted that if anybody really thought pay-to-play vanity galleries were doing anything wrong, or that anybody could do anything about their conduct, then we should go to the Office of Fair Trading. Having recently gone through the OFT’s guidance on the subject, I can wholeheartedly concur with our sock puppet friend because since the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 came into force, companies that engage in unfair or deceptive business practices can be forced to comply with reasonable business ethics, and face civil or criminal prosecution if they don’t.

Download and read the entire document at the link– it’s worth it just for your general information when dealing with any company or service. But a number of practices mentioned definitely reminded me of things I’ve seen in mailouts, “opportunities” (sic) to win art prizes, and on the shoddy websites belonging to the vanity galleries that seem to be popping up almost every month, like poisonous mushrooms. I’m sure many of you have seen this nonsense, too. Let’s play vanity gallery bingo. Does the great unsolicited offer to show your work (for a small fee…) contain any of these?

NOTE: All following information except my notes are extracted verbatim from the OFT’s guidance document, intended as pointers and for general information only. None of this is a substitute for familiarising yourself with the actual document and the real legislation first hand. Don’t ever rely on a blog or on something you might have read somewhere at some point if you’re going to court; take proper, professional legal advice if you think you need it.

Commercial practices which are considered unfair in all circumstances and which are prohibited.

(7) Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice.

(19) Claiming in a commercial practice to offer a competition or prize promotion without awarding the prizes described or a reasonable equivalent.

(20) Describing a product as ‘gratis’, ‘free’, ‘without charge’ or similar if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the commercial practice and collecting or paying for delivery of the item. (Example) A trader advertises a ‘free’ gift. He then tells consumers that in order to receive their ‘free’ gift they need to pay an extra fee. This would breach the CPRs (consumer protection regulations).

NOTE: My specific vanity gallery example, one based on a recent promotional email that was sent to me, would be a “free showcase” or “free mailout” that you can only get by paying a membership, subscription or service fee. This clearly and unequivocally violates subsection 20. (more…)

The ephemeral museum

July 23rd, 2012 | Posted by admin in art | discussion | exhibition | gallery | press - (Comments Off)

Ostensibly a review of the new Tate Modern Tanks for exhibiting live and time-based art, Laura Cumming also makes some interesting observations about some of the implications and questions that arise from it. Of course we’ve covered this subject previously in posts on this site and at our public Collecting the Uncollectable discussion last year.

The open Open

July 18th, 2012 | Posted by Alistair in art | exhibition - (2 Comments)

We’ve talked a lot here on the site and in the real world with artists and arts professionals about competitions, pay-to-play “opportunities” and so on. Now myself and our David have agreed to be selectors for the Zeitgeist Open 2012 in the hope of showing there’s a way to run these things fairly, ethically, without ripping anybody off or profiteering, and keeping artists where they should be in the arts– at the centre. In brief (from the ZAP site):

  1. There will be no pre-selection, all works will be seen by all the judges
  2. The work received will remain anonymous throughout the judging process
  3. Our judges are artists, not art oligarchs or celebrities
  4. ZAP values all the artists we work with and continues to build relationships with them during and after shows
  5. At least 10 artists from The Zeitgeist Open will be selected for our next ZAP group exhibition: Discernible in Spring 2013
  6. The ZAP philiosophy is about: Creating opportunities for ambitious artists, creating new networks and bringing new audiences – curators, gallerists, collectors, the general public – to artists
  7. Submission fees have been kept to an absolute minimum – £15 or £12 for ZAP / DIY Educate Members – to make it accessible as possible.

But what’s really worth checking out, I think– even if you don’t intend to enter– is the statements and application materials you can download from the same page I just linked to (or below). David and I have consulted on and contributed to these documents, and I think they do a great job of doing what every fair, symmetrical transaction between commissioner/gallery/selector and artist should be: laying out what everyone on both sides has the right to expect, to get or not get. The selectors will be getting a small fee and travel expenses for a day of work on selecting the submissions. Instead of making ourselves scarce like your traditional gatekeepers, we’ll also be attending the opening of the exhibition in the autumn so you can talk to us directly about what we selected, what we didn’t, and why.

Art competitions and open submission calls can be genuine opportunities that help artists. They don’t have to be dodgy.


Artists Walk & Talk 20 July 2012 Orford Ness

July 17th, 2012 | Posted by Elaine in art | event - (Comments Off)

Jane and Louise Wilson

‘Blind Landing’ Walk & Talk
Friday 20 July 2-4pm

Artists Jane and Louise Wilson have created a series of commissions for Untrue Island, a project on Orford Ness initiated and developed by Commissions East and the National Trust. A combination of sculpture, musical composition, narration and the real-time sounds of Orford Ness capture the spirit of this constantly changing, evocative and remote location.

‘Blind Landing’ is Jane and Louise’s response. It refers to the Blind Landing Experimental Unit that was operational during the Cold War period and comprises a series of sculptures inspired by a yardstick measure once employed in the film industry as a measure for scale in the building of film sets.

Jane & Louise will be leading an artists ‘Walk & Talk’ around the installations on The Ness for local artists on Friday 20 July from 2-4pm.

This is a free event but places are extremely limited due to site access restrictions and booking is essential. For more information and to secure a place please call Elaine Tribley on 07775 744276 or email

Opportunity shocks

June 7th, 2012 | Posted by admin in gallery - (7 Comments)

Spotted by a Market Project member, a good example of bad practice: an “Open” exhibition in which artists pay £10 to submit their work for consideration, then they pay another £25 if they’re accepted. If you get chosen but fail to pay up promptly, you’ll be deselected.  No artist who wants to be taken seriously should get involved in these kinds of shady practices. Whether it’s on the taking money side or the giving money side, it marks you as a total amateur. Admittedly the sums of money involved are not as large as some we have seen, but the principles behind it are still all wrong:

  • The organisers are not clear about what the money is for and what the artists are buying. They just vaguely say they are covering costs. What they are undertaking to do is also not clear. We presume they will hang or install the work, but they don’t say where or how, or how many artists are likely to be in the exhibition.
  • It is not clear who (if anyone) will see the work, or how (and if) they will go about publicising it.
  • They explicitly deny all duty of care for any art that comes into their possession.
  • There is no explanation of who these people are, what their history is, why anyone should trust them (and pay them) to curate an exhibition, broker sales, etc. Where is their CV and their track record, apart from other similar shows in the same place?
  • As always, it is not obvious what an artist would really gain from being in this exhibition. The organisers clearly gain £10 per entrant and up to £35 per participant.

Unfortunately this is only one example of many that constantly stream through the arts opportunity listings every week- perhaps it’s time for the organisers of these lists to be a bit more principled and discriminating, especially when these listing services and organisations have paying memberships themselves. (more…)

Tate considers ending BP sponsorship

December 13th, 2011 | Posted by Alistair in art | discussion | gallery - (3 Comments)

After a petition from “8,000 Tate members and visitors”, a tsunami of bad publicity executed masterfully by protesters, and a number of “black helium balloons tied to dead fish released in the Turbine Hall” which staff had to shoot down with air rifles, Tate has announced that they will soon make a decision about whether they’ll renew their sponsorship contract with British Petroleum in 2012. It could be that Tate already decided not to, and this is just a PR tactic so they can back out relatively gracefully without burning bridges. Or the opposite, possibly Tate already decided that the sponsorship will continue and this is pre-emptive damage limitation.

Note that even The Guardian unreflectively plays along with the company’s PR game of downplaying what their business is and complying with their rebrand as the intentionally vague “BP”. (more…)

The Market Projecteers first met at Wysing Arts Centre, at a 4 day retreat entitled Economics of the Art System. It was subsequent to that retreat that nine of us formed Market Project. Although Wysing itself has little to do with MP, it’s our metaphorical birthplace so we follow developments there with interest. So it was in a bittersweet way that I absorbed this announcement.


Some blatant self-promotion

June 1st, 2011 | Posted by Alistair in art | press - (Comments Off)

The eagle eyes of Market Projector Elaine Tribley noticed that there are no less than four appearances by group members in the current (June) edition of a-n magazine. David Kefford is talking about Aid & Abet in Cambridge (where Annabel Dover is among the contributors to the forthcoming exhibition). Annabelle Shelton reviews the current exhibition at MK Gallery and muses upon being a social experiment in Milton Keynes. Finally, my contribution to this July’s Beyond the Commission symposium in Bournemouth is advertised on the inside cover of the printed edition and discussed in the magazine proper- the ArtSway Associates programme is described as “exemplary” and that’s exactly what it is, a thousand curses on the Arts Council for jeopardising ArtSway’s future and a pox on all the publicly funded British galleries that don’t support artists in this way. I’ll also have photographs on show in the accompanying exhibition taking place in the gallery of Arts University College at Bournemouth.

Mock Tudor

May 17th, 2011 | Posted by Annabel in art | exhibition - (Comments Off)

Bedwyr Williams’ ‘Bedwyr I think I missed your performance’ is very funny. I interviewed Bedwyr for the latest issue of Garageland, a magazine published by Cathy Lomax of Transition Gallery. The subject of the magazine is ‘Fake’ and coincides with the show ‘Mock Tudor’

60 Ravenscourt Road, London W6 0UG 

Mock Tudor

Kirsty Buchanan, Rachael Haines, Sigrid Holmwood,
Cathy Lomax, Jeff McMillan, Alli Sharma, Charlotte Squire


18 June – 10 July 2011
Fri – Sun 12-6pm 

Preview: Friday 17 June 2011, 6-9pm