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Archive for the ‘Expert Opinions’ Category

Unconscious bias and the art world (Part I of II)

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

In advance of the Aqua Art Miami & Association of Women Art Dealers’ collaboration during Miami Art Week 2016, two blog posts by Susan Mumford, our Founder and CEO, address key facets of gender disparity in the sector. This first part brings to light a silent enabler of gender disparity: unconscious bias.

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According to the UK-based lecturer Sandy Sparks*, unconscious bias “refers to a bias that we are unaware of, and which happens outside of our control. It is a bias that happens automatically and is triggered by our brain making quick judgments and assessments of people and situations, influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences.

Does this sound familiar to your own experiences or those you’ve seen of others?

This bias can affect the decisions of men and women alike, decisions that are at the detriment of women’s careers – albeit without their knowledge. And it sometimes reveals itself in the open. Take for instance a question I was asked as an emerging gallerist in my mid-twenties: “So when do you plan on having a family?” Combined with the tone of voice used, the 50-year old male artist might as well have asked, “When will you decide to focus on your personal life and stop representing me?” The question ostensibly sprang from raging doubts in the back of his mind. This type of experience results in many women working out how to answer such seemingly left-field questions in advance, so that when presented, they’re swiftly dealt with before moving onto the subject at hand, the unconscious bias moved out of the way.

Hollywood actor, producer and writer Geena Davis** has become an advocate for the cause and says, “We have to keep in mind the tremendous amount of unconscious bias against women. Because if women and men were truly equally talented and equally hired based on their talent and ability, we would have half of both. While her focus is the film industry, the sentiment equally applies to the art world. She adds, “Even if people say, ‘I’m just hiring the best person for the job,’ and they keep hiring male directors, it’s not something they are necessarily completely aware of,” adding that if people cannot defeat their biases on their own, then “we need to take measures to defeat it.” What might such a measure look like in the art world? Galleries could readily represent as many women as men. Critics could make a concerted effort to review galleries run by women, in addition to solo shows by women artists. While I appreciate that such a regimented approach isn’t welcome by many, I urge mindfulness of gender balance in your professional life. Should you identify an imbalance, work out a solution to improve it.

Needless to say, you can only find a solution once you’re aware of the root of a problem, and when it comes to unconscious bias, the first step is awareness. By shifting unconscious thoughts and judgements into your conscious mind, day in, day out, you’re positioned to make objectively minded decisions that work towards a gender balanced art world.

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Want more insight on gender dynamics in the art world? Keen to take advantage of networking opportunites?

Lady art dealers, join the next online meeting of the AWAD Virtual Chapter on Monday 10th October 2016! 9am PST / 12pm EST / 5pm UK. — Free for qualifying visitors to attend–

(See all upcoming events in the AWAD Calendar.)

Check out the Aqua Art Miami website and follow on social media:

Instagram: @artmiamifairs Twitter:@Art_Miami

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*What is Unconscious Bias; considerations and top tips (2nd June 2014. Sandy Sparks University of Warwick, LDC, Research Active Staff & Vitae Hub co-ordinator.

**See the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

From our Partners at Westbury: What can artists do to preserve their art for future generations

Monday, September 5th, 2016

 

This article was written by Keith Graham, Partner at Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors, AWAD’s Partner in this field

 

  1. What will happen to my art after my death?
  2. How can I ensure my family benefit from my lifelong work?
  3. Will my art retain its value?
  4. Who will manage my collection?

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These and others are the sort of questions that we are being asked increasingly by our many artist clients. Of course, there are many advantages to becoming successful as an artist but success brings with it a whole new set of challenges.

What to do with your art?

In our experience, once artists begin to think about their own mortality, they become increasingly concerned with the question of what to do with their art. Many think that this is something that could be dealt with just by a well-drafted will; others wonder whether they should be setting up a foundation during their lifetime.

What is clear is that these questions have to be faced up to. Picasso died without a will leaving a legacy of massive legal battles. Dalí set up a foundation but his affairs were still extremely untidy. Rothko left clear instructions but his executors certainly did not understand fully (or chose not to) his real wishes. On the other hand, the Henry Moore Foundation is an excellent example of careful planning and competent management of an estate. (more…)

From our Partners at Westbury: How individuals and businesses prepare a Brexit Action Plan

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
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This article was written by Keith Graham, Partner at Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors, AWAD’s Partner in this field.

The vote is over and we have made the momentous decision to leave the EU.  Businesses and individuals need to consider the short and long-term implications.
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We are of course in a period of uncertainty with extreme volatility in currency and stock markets and this is unlikely to change much until the terms of our exit become clearer.  Against that background, we all face some challenges. We have already heard of property and investment transactions having been cancelled or put on hold, and of medical research projects whose funding is now in doubt. Clearly there is a good deal of anxiety about proceeding with investment projects, although, paradoxically, the weakness of sterling can act as an incentive to overseas investors.
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The most important thing to do is to think about the possible impact on you and your business.  It is too early to say – and the truth is that no one has a clue – what the business environment will look like once the dust has settled.  This may take many years whilst we negotiate our exit, decide what areas of our business life need change, e.g., regulation, laws, taxes, bureaucracy, etc., as well as trading relationships with the EU and with the rest of the world.

Below are some points to consider: 

  • To what extent are you exposed to the currency markets?  Do you buy or sell overseas and, if so, how will the fluctuations in sterling in the short and medium term affect you? Is there any action you may take (such as hedging) to lessen the blow. In particular, those who import are likely to have to be extremely careful about managing their currency exposure.  On the converse, exporters may have an opportunity to generate some additional profits.
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  • Do you need to review your pricing particularly if you import?
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  • If you are exposed to the property world, to what extent may a slow-down in the rate and/or value of transactions affect your business?
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  • Those businesses that foresee a significant drop in turnover or rise in costs following Brexit may need to consider reviewing staff levels as well as upcoming pay reviews/bonuses to see where unnecessary costs may be saved.
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  • Are you reliant on foreign labour?  Have you considered the possible impact if there were to be some form of restriction on such labour?
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  • Is your business particularly affected by Environmental or Health and safety legislation emanating from Europe, or one that may be prone to tariffs?
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  • If you are in the inward hospitality sector you may well find there is a boost to UK tourism but if you are exposed to the outbound sector, will a potential drop in business (because foreign holidays become more expensive) have an effect?
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  • Were you reliant on/expecting any grants or subsidies from EU sources? Can you make alternative arrangements or at least put a contingency plan in place.
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  • Will there be an effect on your pensions and investments?  As a general rule, one might take a longer-term view and not panic at the current extreme volatility in stock markets to which many investments are linked.  But perhaps a review of investment policy might seem sensible, particularly if you were planning to take pension benefits shortly, or to cash in investments.
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  • Is now the time to consider incorporating your business into a limited company, particularly with the announcement of an intent to reduce further  the rate of Corporation Tax?

 

Get in touch with Westbury with us to discuss how Brexit might affect you and how we can help you plan for it.

AWAD Social hosted by AWAD’s Partner Store Street Framing

Monday, July 18th, 2016

The AWAD Summer Social was kindly hosted last month at the Store Street Framing who are AWAD’s Partner in this area. It was an event that featured networking as well as practical demonstrations inc. gilding, canvas stretching and wood staining and we are very thankful to Andrew Milne Home and his team for welcoming us so warmly.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Shopfront

Store Street Framing has its showroom in Bloomsbury where consultations are made and artwork is safely stored. The dusty and messy work of cutting and joining mouldings and then painting and gilding the frames themselves takes place in our North London workshops. Once the framing process is complete our drivers can quickly deliver across Greater London.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Rocky Gilding with Neville

Our talented gilder Rocky demonstrates just how you handle that most delicate of materials, gold leaf. Beaten to less that 0.1 micron in thickness, gold leaf needs years of experience to lay down correctly. Working with the gilder’s knife on a calfskin pad and a gilder’s tip made of long squirrel hair, the delicate leaf is cut and lifted onto the prepared frame. Once applied to the coloured clay base the leaf will be burnished to the characteristic bright finish of water gilded frames.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Andrew Milne Home

Andrew Milne Home, Store Street Framing‘s General Manager, explains some of the framing options available to galleries and dealers. Working with a team of craftsmen in the London workshop, many of the frame finishes are unique and can be completely customised to fit the artwork.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Store Street Framing Team

The Store Street Framing team at the AWAD Summer Social event. From left to right, Yanko Tihov, Fine Art Materials, Phillip Booth, Mounting, Jana Jurkovicova, Framing Production Manager, Simeon Ackroyd, Canvas Stretching, Annika McSeveny, Framing Consultant and Nadia Tihova, Framing Manager.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Options for works on paper framing

Some of the examples on show demonstrating the different ways of displaying works on paper. From traditional window mounts, to more complex ways of floating artwork, there are many attractive ways ways of displaying paper-based art.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Amy Patsy Eleni

At the Summer Social, AWAD Members catching up (from left to right) Amy Caiger of Caiger Contemporary, Patsy Dixon of Liberty Gallery and Eleni Polycarpou of ARTful.

AWAD Social at Store Street Framing - Susan Nick MK MariaAWAD’s Founder and CEO Susan Mumford, Nicholas Sharp of Swan Turton, Member of the AWAD Board MK Semos of Decorazon Gallery and Maria Marro-Perera, AWAD Co-ordinator.

Highlights from Art Basel from our Switzerland based Member Kristen Knupp

Monday, June 20th, 2016
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We are grateful to Kristen Knupp of KPK Contemporary currently based in Switzerland,  for writing about Art Basel 2016 from the fair. All images by Kristen Knupp. For any questions, contact Kristen.

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Art Basel run on from June 16-19 in Basel, Switzerland, and as you have probably heard, it is huge; enormous; immense. There are 220 galleries in the main halls which is double the number of galleries at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea. Then there is the Unlimited section of the fair, where 88 projects that “transcend the limitations of a traditional fair booth, including out-sized sculptures and paintings, videos, large-scale installations and live performances” are shown. There are six other sections of the fair including Statements, Feature, Edition, Magazines, Parcour, and Film.  On top of this there are satellite fairs such as Scope, Volta, and Photo Basel, each about the size of Battersea.  So an important part of visiting Art Basel is sorting out what you have time to see and where to go.

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After the three-hour train journey from Geneva to Art Basel on Friday, my friends and I decide to spend most of our time in the Unlimited section.  While the galleries section looks much like most other art fairs, the Unlimited section is another beast altogether.  Set in a huge warehouse building and without any gallery staff on hand, the viewing is relaxed and feels like an indoor amusement park of art.  There are many memorable exhibits and I will touch on the ones I like the best…

Queues at Art Basel 2016

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