What should I look for in an Exhibition contract?

It is a very good idea to have a contract between you and the gallery, agreed at the planning stage, which lays out the terms and conditions of the preparation, exhibition and uninstalling period. This document should provide you with a framework that will keep any potential problems to a minimum.

The gallery will probably provide a document detailing a standard set of terms, which will be tailored to suit your individual circumstances. You will be asked to confirm acceptance of the terms. Some of the most important items to be addressed include:

• The duration and dates of the exhibition.
• The number of works to be exhibited, with a description
• The party responsible for transit arrangements, and insurance while in transit.
• Responsibility for hanging, and any special requirements of the artist.
• The terms of sale of the works, or other remuneration for the artist, with date of payment by the gallery.
• Gallery commission
• Arrangements for opening reception, including publicity.
• Insurance of works by the Gallery for the duration of the exhibition.
• Security and invigilation arrangements.
• Procedure in case of damage to work.

When presented with a set of standard terms by a gallery, you may find that not all matters are covered, or that some are not applicable. It is vital that any issues arising should be settled by negotiation as early as possible, confirmed in writing and added to the agreement.

Solicitor Linda Scales has prepared an article on Contracts which you will find in The Manual section of this website. It explains the legalities of contracts and how they work. This article also includes a comprehensive checklist of matters to be addressed when preparing to exhibit with a gallery.

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