Negotiating about exhibition takes unpredictable amount of time.In La Voile it took 3 hours for the owner to decide to host my exhibition, in the Trade it took almost 3 weeks. It’s also important to know if you talk to the decision maker or not. If you speak with an owner of the restaurant or a curator, you should be prepared to make all the decisions on the spot and negotiate, where as if you speak to a person who will later talk to decision maker, you need to make sure to have a simple and concise proposition that a person can deliver. In this case that person’s goal is not your exhibition, but his own image in the eyes of his boss, so make sure to make him/her look initiative and competent as well. The process of negotiations takes more time for first-time-hosts the for established venues, so ironically my biggest exhibition (over 20 work on 2 floors) negotiation took 10 min to sign the contract, whereas 4 works with hip restaurant, but first-time venue almost took a month.
Study the venue. How many people are visiting your venue a day? Which days? Which time? At that time, what is the lighting situation? Is it enough light (often closer to the night venues dim lights significantly)? If there is not enough light, will your works have separate lighting? At what time is it better to do the reception — do you want the cafe to be more or less empty during reception, so you can invite a lot of guests or do you want it to be busy? Is it a dinner time? Is it after work beer time? Don’t make assumptions — go study your venue and ask your key guests what they would prefer. If you are doing joined opening or showcase with other artists, will there be a part with flashing or colored light? Pick subtle works for clean natural light spaces, saturated works for saturated spaces. Make sure your work with photograph well, we will talk more about that in the last part.