Before we go into the success or failure story of gallerist entrepreneurs in the art world, here is an overall statistic of the success rate of entrepreneurs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided new data that refuted that half of the entrepreneurs fail in their first business year. Instead, it was revealed that within the first two years of opening a new business, 20% fail, while 45% fail within the first five years, and 65% close in the first ten years. Only 25% of new businesses will likely cross 15 years or more.
In such a scenario, where only two percent of female artists represent the art market, what can be the success rate of a female gallerist entrepreneur? Ask any female artist or gallerist; they will tell you it’s gleam. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t women who are not only breaking the glass ceiling of this art world as artists, gallerists, and art entrepreneurs but also changing the art landscape of the region and how art is being perceived. One such example is Pearl Lam, the owner of Pearl Lam Galleries.
What Do Gallerists Do?
One of the key areas that gallerists work on is to select and exhibit artworks. But their most important role is discovering artists, promoting them, and representing their work. It means connecting potential collectors and buyers with the artist, creating excitement and buzz about the artists and the exhibition while forming relationships with other galleries, curators, and art institutions.
As the gallerists scout for emerging artists and take them on, they naturally become entrepreneurs because they invest in the artist and their careers. At times, gallerists provide the financial support the artist might need to create new art, cover the cost of the exhibition,help them develop their careers, and guide them to find their artistic voice and craft.
A gallerist also creates the space and opportunities for the artists to showcase their work. Sometimes, it can be as part of a group exhibition, art fairs, catalogs, and portfolios, or once the artist has made a name for themselves, then organize a solo exhibition. At times, all these are often financed by the galleries where the gallerists promote the artist to connect with the collectors and art connoisseurs.
An influential gallerist will have the ability to change the way others perceive artwork. For instance, Pearl Lam is touted to be the powerhouse of China’s art world and a game-changer. The world recognizes this female icon and entrepreneur gallerist as a person who single-handedly changed the way Chinese contemporary art is perceived by the West and China.
Pearl Lam Gallery – Breaking The Glass Ceiling
Well, there are many gallerists and successful ones, too, but here is an example of a female gallerist who has been challenging the norms. What makes Pearl Lam the most recognizable gallerist in the world is her length and breadth of work and the artists she represents.
In the process of becoming a gallerist, she revolted against her father ( a well-known real-estate business owner in China) and spent her three months’ salary on buying artwork. Lam knows the hardship a gallerist must undergo to become successful; hence, she has been standing steadfastly, backing her artists and giving space to those whom traditional galleries and puritans overlook.
After opening the Peal Lam Gallery in Hong Kong, she gave the ground floor to nine street artists to showcase their art. Furthermore, out of 38 artists Lam represents, 8 are women, while two other artists, well-known as Mr. Doodle and Philip Colbert, would have been overlooked had it not been for this international gallerist Pearl Lam.
The result has been Pearl Lam has become a successful owner of Pearl Lam Galleries in Shanghai and Hong Kong. She has also been one of the biggest crowd-pullers with her Art Basel Hong Kong sections.
As the owner of Pearl Lam Galleries, she continues to wear the hat of a female icon and entrepreneur with pride, breaking the norms the conventional art world has set. Her work as a gallerist goes beyond being the conformist; she keeps challenging the norms. Rightfully, in a world where virtual art, crypto art, and NFTs have become more relevant and exploding in the market since 2020, provoking the art world is essential to stay relevant.
In order to stay pertinent in the art world and the market, there has to be someone who will challenge and change the norms. Maybe gallerists like Pearl Lam, Sadie Coles, Rakeb Sile, Angela Westwater, and many more will help in redefining the art, artists, and work of a gallerist and challenging the traditional concept of art galleries and art that is represented by the gallerists and art entrepreneurs.