The Future of Commercial Art Galleries
With Kibum Kim of Commonwealth and Council and Destinee Ross-Sutton of Ross-Sutton Gallery
Forward-thinking gallerists Kibum Kim, partner of Commonwealth and Council, and Destinee Ross-Sutton, founder of Ross-Sutton Gallery, will discuss the intention and implementation of strategic long-term advocacy of artist rights and gallery/artist partnerships.
There is constant speculation as to the future of commercial galleries. In recent years, amid the struggle of emerging and mid-tier galleries, collaborative support systems and online outlets have become more robust, but the fundamental structure of how most commercial galleries work—their business models and artist relations—have remained largely unchanged. Over the past year, however, harsh realities related to power and persistent inequity solidified more significant initiatives including longer-term, collaborative efforts between gallerists and artists.
In 2020, based on conversations with their family of artists and grounded in values of hospitality, generosity, and collective flourishing, LA-based Commonwealth and Council recommitted to a support structure that subverts the winner-take-all system often found in the art world. The Council Fund is one of the initiatives that emerged where they ask their supporters to contribute some (or all) of the discount they receive on a sale to a discretionary fund supporting needs outside of the traditional scope of the gallery. The artists decide together how to allocate the money. At the same time, in NYC, Destinee Ross-Sutton was building resale royalties and other artist-empowering terms into the sale of artworks. While resale royalties and greater equity on both the primary and secondary markets have been discussed for decades, Ross-Sutton made significant headway with what is now termed the Ross-Sutton Agreement when the stipulations were added to the sales of artworks in the “Say It Loud ” exhibition through Christie’s. Her goals of empowering artists and correcting imbalances have created a new social contract between gallerists, artists, and collectors that could change long-term stability for artists and their advocates.
Artists, gallerists, and those interested in evolving artist-gallery relationships and responsibilities are encouraged to attend.