Handle With Care @ Quirk Gallery

I went to a show at the Quirk Gallery called Handle With Care. It featured the jewelry of Abbie Gaiger, Jera Lodge, and Emily Rogstad, and Louise Perrone. It was a small event and only took place in the small room when you first enter into the gallery space.
I think that when I enter into gallery settings my first thought is about pricing. That’s what I’ve come to realize. No matter what it looks like or how the atmosphere of it feels like, I’m wondering how these artists or the curators are choosing to represent themselves or the artists in terms of pricing. I just find that it’s a really intriguing concept for me because it varies from space to space.
In this gallery my friend and I first went around and looked at the different pieces on display. Some of them I thought were really beautiful, while others I thought looked easy to make and unimpressive. Their prices, though, didn’t vary with my opinion.
Instead of prices being listed beside the pieces, there was a stack of papers to the left of the entry way. My friend and I quickly scooped up two pieces and studied it’s content. On the page was a summary of all the works, categorized by artist. Next to the title and number of each piece was a price tag. Every piece that I saw was over 200 dollars, many of which were over 600 dollars. I picked out the numbers that had the highest prices on them (in the thousands price range) and decided to go find each piece that had the corresponding number attached to it.
I found that I was mystified. There was one piece that was intricately crafted, it was a necklace and looked delicate. I could understand the cost. The craftsmanship and material usage seemed complex enough to ask for that much money. However, I found that other pieces were not up to the same caliber.
There was one piece that was a ring with a felt box attached to it. While I have limited knowledge in jewelry making, it just didn’t look that hard to create. I found myself wondering how much time was put into it. Were the materials nearly as expensive as the end product was selling at? Is pricing in a gallery more about perception than quality of work? These are all questions that are super subjective I guess, and they’re coming from a bias point of view, but I couldn’t help but thinking about that for a while. I also wonder how much I’m projecting onto these gallery settings because of the fact that I’m not always comfortable putting prices on my own work.
While I do study the work I see in gallery settings and consider pieces in a more critical way in terms of concept and formal elements, this background thought always comes to the forefront of my mind and I consider my opinion on it far longer than I think about the actual work. I think it may be because I haven’t formed a super concrete basis for why I’m thinking so hard about that.

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