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Most fine art shows fit into two categories: commercial and non-commercial. Commercial shows have all or most of their items for sale, usually at a negotiable price. Non-commercial shows, such as museums, do not sell art and sometimes charge visitors an entrance fee to cover the cost of staffing and maintenance. Within these categories are numerous kinds of fine art shows, including traveling shows and shows that focus on a specific type of art, like photography or folk.
Fine art shows that are commercial typically have some or all of the works for sale. These paintings or sculptures might have price tags on them, or potential customers might be expected to offer what they feel the item is worth. It varies depending on the culture, but a lot of fine art shows also expect potential customers to haggle on price. For example, it is sometimes ordinary for an art collector to offer at least 10 percent below the tagged price.
Another one of the different types of fine art shows is non-commercial, meaning nothing is for sale. Fine art shows of this type take place within a museum or other non-profit entity that displays art. The entity that is hosting a non-commercial art show usually has permanent art displays but puts on shows to display art that it does not normally host. Art that is being displayed in a non-commercial art show typically comes from other museums or art owners. This type of art show, while non-commercial, does still often require admission payments from those attending in order to financially support the endeavor.
Traveling fine art shows can be either commercial or non-commercial, though they are usually non-commercial. They travel across different regions of one country or across several countries. One fine art show can be in many places, rarely stopping to be together at same the place. Some of these shows are very open to accepting works of art by relatively unknown artists. This can be a head start for new artists, who usually cannot get their work displayed in places like museums and well-established commercial art businesses.
Fine art shows often will revolve around a particular type or theme of art. For instance, an art show might feature the works of a particular artist. Other times the art show may revolve around a type of art, like sculpting, wax figures, or photography. Ethnic and ancient pieces of artwork are other types of art that some shows primarily feature.
I've gone to see some wonderful traveling art shows and I always hear people complaining about the price of admission.
Usually they'll say something like, well this artist is dead so who is getting my money?
The thing is, it is really really expensive to move art around, particularly famous or expensive art. They have to insure it for one thing, hire security and rent the place which is hosting it, bring over curators who will be living away from home and will need extra to compensate for that and so forth.
Not to mention these exhibitions are often a chance for a museum to recoup its costs. It's usually free to their own public but they have to make their money somehow.
And it's getting more difficult to make money through sales of art books and things when people can get them cheaply online. So, I don't blame them for charging for this sort of thing at all.
@umbra21 - I love that kind of art fair. It can be so difficult for an artist to break into the scene. Even if they have wonderful style, it can be difficult to make money unless their work becomes collectible, and no gallery will show their work unless it's going to make at least some money.
An art fair like this gives beginners a chance to rub shoulders with the established artists in the area, and it also gives them a chance to put their work out there at reasonable prices to try and kick start their careers.
So it gives people a way to buy moderately priced art that doesn't have the price increased because of popularity as well, which I think is a good thing.
There's a wonderful commercial art show that comes to town once a year or so and includes the art of anyone who wants to submit to it (and can reach the standards of the people who run the show).
It's usually huge and all the pieces are for sale, so it ends up being a showcase of the current art world, with pieces from people just starting out and pieces from people who are well known and established.
I've often day dreamed about submitting work to it, just because it would be a bit of a thrill to see it up there, but I'm not sure I could get in. And I'm not sure I could take everyone wandering around spouting their opinions of it either!
So maybe I'll just stick to wandering around and spouting my own opinion about other people's work.
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