A few months ago, gallery employees in Chelsea must have thought Bryan and I were nuts. Its an odd experience going into a gallery, not to look at the art, but instead to look at the "box".
When one goes about opening a gallery, details matter and it was an eye opening experience to see the galleries from a funtional/business standpoint. I even took pictures! (The comments next to the pictures are for my architect, Liz Hedrick, so that she could start to get an idea of what my Portland Gallery will look like. I'll post her drawings once they are ready.)
You learn lots of interesting things looking at the ceiling: its best to have three kinds of lights (one of the three being natural light), outlets and input jacks up there are a good idea for video art...luckily wireless technology has solved much of that. Ceilings to galleries are like shoes to people: you can tell alot about someone by the shoes they wear. Ditto for gallery ceilings. The light, above left, is the current standard in Chelsea gallery lighting by the way.
We had a great time evaluating galleries independent of their reputations and who they represented; instead our criteria consisted of how well the office was designed, how did the walls meet the floor, proportions of the galleries and of course the ceilings!
The one mistake that most young galleries make? Too small of an office. But see below.
Not entirely surprising, some of the hottest galleries in Chelsea have some of the worst planned and finished spaces. A plugged-in little bird told me that the lack of professionalism is somewhat intentional: non-professionalism as a marketing identity. Is it working? I'm not naming names but given the artists they represent, these intentionally(?) scrappy dealers seem to be far more savvy than they let on.