By Carolyn Edlund
ArtHaus Gallerists James Bacchi and Annette Schutz have good cause to celebrate. 2013 marks the 17th year of ArtHaus in Francisco, and their SOMA gallery has been voted BEST ART GALLERY IN THE BAY-AREA on the ABC-7 TV – BAY AREA “A” LIST for the past three years running. Artsy Shark caught up with them for a quick interview.
AS: What type of artwork could a visitor expect to see in your gallery?
James Bacchi: Our program is an adventurous blend of the expected and the unexpected. It’s important for collectors to see new exhibitions illustrating the progression of work by Gallery Artists they continue to collect over time. Regarding the unexpected, last year we hosted the 1st International Mobile Photo Awards Exhibition – curated by Toronto-based, photographer/film producer Daniel Berman. Earlier on, Carole Austin, former curator at the San Francisco Craft & Folk Art Museum, presented INSIDE OUT – a survey exhibition of BOX ART in the ArtHaus Project Gallery.
THE CHOSEN ONES, the gallery’s most recent exhibition, was an Invitational show. We invited seventeen noteworthy Bay Area Designers to illustrate THE FINE ART OF DESIGN. Each designer depicted a project whereby works by ArtHaus Gallery and Guest Artists were incorporated. Projects ranged from photo shoots, installations and inside views of collector’s homes.
AS: What is your approach to working with new art collectors? Specifically, educating them about the art and helping them to build their collections?
Annette Schutz: We both agree that working with new collectors is extremely satisfying. Their approach is a unique experience. The ArtHaus approach is all about servicing the why and how new collectors would like to begin. The experience is personal, educational, and sometimes entertaining. A vast variety of work is presented to get a sense of what resonates.
It’s always interesting how quickly someone will say what they don’t like before they actually see art. Many times we’ll hear a dislike for abstract work, and these are the new collectors that will leave with two Serena Bocchino jazz-inspired abstract paintings. We always recommend, especially with beginning collectors, that they see work in their home prior to making a commitment. ArtHaus is very big on “on approval”. Seeing work in a gallery setting can be deceiving in regard to scale and lighting. Our experience has always been that every piece of art looks completely different in a setting outside of the gallery.
AS: ArtHaus frequently works with interior designers and also corporations. What special needs do these clients have?
James Bacchi: In addition to beginning and established collectors, ArtHaus continually works closely with Developers, Architects, Designers, Corporate and Private Art Advisors. Often times these calls for art are site specific, and in many instances the art is commissioned. We are presently facilitating a commissioned series of photographs with ArtHaus Guest Artist Michal Venera and Designer Eric Cohler. Cohler designed corporate offices for a financial firm located in a landmark Theatre Building. The commissioned photographs depict historical theatres throughout the city, and are sited for a conference room. Perfect!
Most often the work selected may reflect corporate identity, location or particular areas throughout the space the architect/designer created purposely for art. Adventurous corporate collections are far and few between. I guess we got lucky. For the past several years, we’ve had the opportunity to build a collection for the principal of a Real Estate Investment firm here in San Francisco. The first painting he acquired was a large-scale canvas, “Woodie’s Way” by Serena Bocchino. This jazz-inspired painting looks extraordinary in the space. In a short time, I saw this collector had a passionate connection to works that were both outrageous, and outstanding in terms of originality and technique. He has since acquired three papier-mache sculptures by Adam Kurtzman, and a portrait in wood, based on the writings of Oscar Wilde, by the late, great Jeffrey Ketcham.
AS: What’s your best advice to artists who have a goal of representation by an art gallery such as ArtHaus?
James Bacchi: ArtHaus receives up to 10 submissions from artists on a daily basis. Our advice to artists is to learn everything possible about each gallery you approach prior to contacting them. If you can’t envision your work in a particular gallery, take them off your list. Most often you have one shot, so give it your best. Never walk into a gallery with work in hand and ask to be seen, and do not send out blanket emails. Email each gallery, requesting information about their review guidelines.
Most important is your pricing. The retail price for your art should be consistent in all the galleries representing your work, the prices you post in your studio and any websites you offer your work on.
Seems more and more artists are offering their work on the web at prices far below their gallery prices. This is the biggest mistake an artist can make in regard to their career. You can’t have it both ways.