The Brooklyn Rail: Guest Art Editor

“Artists, gallerists, curators, collectors, and critics—these are the essential components of a contemporary art world. Artists make the art that galleries display; this art is evaluated by critics and purchased by collectors or by curators for museums. Take any one of these components away, and our art world system would collapse. Galleries are admission free, unlike most museums. But the commodities they sell are not affordable by most art critics. The grandest galleries can afford more attractive displays than museums. But they have relatively small audiences and so feel more like private clubs than public spaces. There are a great many studies of the art museum. By contrast, the art gallery has inspired much less attention. That is surprising, for almost inevitably contemporary art goes from the gallery to the museum. Anyone who takes even a casual interest in contemporary visual art knows art galleries. Nowadays ubiquitous, because they are so familiar, we perhaps do not sufficiently realize how distinctive they are. We take them for granted, which perhaps is why there is no history of these institutions ….”

The Contemporary Art Gallery