Bringing Japanese Artist's Work to U.S.: Galleries, Commissions and Tax/Custom Issues?
January 2, 2005 3:17 AM   Subscribe

My father-in-law is an artist in Japan who has had pretty decent success selling traditional and non-traditional woodcarvings. (His work can be found here) Now he'd like to show his work in the US. [more inside]

After several exhibitions and gallery showings in Japan over the last three decades, he'd like to try to bring his work to the US. I live in New York, and wouldn't mind helping to represent him there, or helping him find proper representation to try to get his art shown in NY galleries. My questions are thus:
* What is the proper way to contact galleries with new or intresting work?
* What kind of commissions or fees can we expect if we do manage to get his work shown?
...and a very special question I'm not sure anyone will have the proper experience to answer:
* What kind of tax or customs issues can we expect with imported art that we hope to sell stateside?
posted by rklawler to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
Well, a good start would be putting his work in an AskMe question to get a larger audience and... Oh, never mind.
posted by fvw at 3:24 AM on January 2, 2005

I know there've been lots of shameless linkmongering on AskMe recently, fvw, but this doesn't strike me as being too bad: he does have some very pointed and good questions, IMHO. So be nice :P

As for answers, I'm not an expert, but I would suggest finding galleries that also have websites (not an online-only gallery of work, but an online portion [or electronic billboard of sorts] of a real, physical gallery) and contacting them with the inevitable posted email address.

Or, heck, just cut to the chase and look in the Yellow Pages and call galleries listed there. Ask exactly what you've just asked us, and they'll likely give you at least some tips, if they're nice, and especially if they think they can get your father-in-law to exhibit there (i.e. they're actively looking for new work and his work sounds like something they'd be interested in showing).

Even contacting galleries that his work would not be appropriate in might get some answers, since most of your questions are fairly generic and any good person with 5 minutes to spare should be able to help you out.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 7:03 AM on January 2, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks cyrus. That was my plan for the New Year, but I know there are several artsy types on MeFi, and I seem to recall there's at least one person here that runs a gallery (though I'm not sure if he's still active and/or reading AskMe). I just hoped someone might have some inside tips, like in the book publishing/agent question a few days ago.

As for the link - I'm not trying to conjure up business or anything (for one, I'm not sure how many MeFi folks would actually be in the market for that type of thing), but thought someone here might know of galleries that have an interest in his type of work. I figured that might be easier or more appropriate than just calling every gallery that happened to appear online or in the phone book.
posted by rklawler at 8:02 AM on January 2, 2005

Offtopic: his website is broken in mozilla. the nav arrows don't scroll the correct amount.
posted by mosch at 8:29 AM on January 2, 2005

rklawler, I understand why you asked--I wasn't trying to say that you shouldn't have asked here, just giving some alternatives in case nobody came up with any tips. Hopefully someone with real experience will drop by to help you out =)
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:44 AM on January 2, 2005

Has your father in law tried to have one of the Japanese gallery owners he used previously help him with contacts in New York? It seems like that would be an excellent first step to making contacts.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 2:12 PM on January 2, 2005

One of the most prominent Japanese art galleries in NYC is the Japan Society gallery.
You might get in touch with them to see if they are interested, or if they have any resources for Japanese artists who want to debut in the US.
posted by gen at 5:18 PM on January 2, 2005

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