Contemporary Art Studio Visits: Dos and Don’ts

Studio Visits: Dos and Don'ts

Studio visits can provide a unique opportunity to explore an artist's work in meaningful ways. They can also mark the beginning of an ongoing relationship between artist and collector, or artist and curator, with clear benefits for both. Such visits have the potential to go wrong, however. Below are a few tips to ease a first visit, creating a positive experience for both parties.

Above all else, be sensitive. Much of what is appealing about a studio visit is the ability to see work in its raw, unfinished state. This has the potential to leave the artist vulnerable, however, and it's important to be respectful and appreciative.

Do research. Make sure that you know what you're going to see. There's nothing worse than feeling obliged to engage in conversation about work you really don't like.

Be clear and direct about why you're there and what you'd like to get out of the visit. Are you interested in buying a work? Commissioning a work? Or simply getting a better sense of the artist's process? You want to make sure you're both on the same page. Only talk prices if you're seriously interested in making a purchase.

Be careful about making suggestions. It's true that feedback is important, but try to gauge the artist's level of comfort before being too harsh.

Do ask questions, even ones that seem petty or obvious. Whatever the specific purpose of the visit it's always about getting a better sense for an artist and his or her work. Take advantage of the opportunity.