May 21, 2020

How Commercial Galleries are Weathering the Pandemic

Galleries West
Richard White

Look up, waaay up … to the second-floor windows of the Calgary building that houses the TrépanierBaer gallery. If you’ve passed by recently between sunset and 2:00 a.m., you may have noticed a video installation of a large pair of eyes that look out over the street, courtesy of Ontario artist Wyn Geleynse.

Part of efforts to stay relevant during the coronavirus pandemic, the installation has attracted attention, as have other displays in the gallery’s ground floor windows – particularly Toronto artist James Carl’s black-and-white line drawings of a roll of toilet paper and men’s underwear.

The tongue-in-cheek display – which refers to the consumer run on toilet paper and the luxury of lounging about casually at home, even while you’re working – is one of many strategies art dealers have embraced in their search for new ways of doing business in a tough market.

While TrépanierBaer is making use of its prominent corner in Calgary’s city centre, other commercial galleries have explored virtual approaches, reaching out with online exhibitions, studio tours and artist talks, as well as other promotional strategies.

How many of these new approaches will continue as dealers start to reopen their premises? That’s still an open question that, like so much in this crisis, probably depends on what happens next. But the feedback has been positive, so perhaps this creative marketing will turn out to be one of the pandemic’s silver linings.

To read the entire article, please click here. 

Image Credit:
A second-floor video installation by
Ontario artist Wyn Geleynse, “More Than Meets the Eye,”
is attracting attention for the TrépanierBaer in Calgary