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Shattering The Frame: Mastering The Art Of Entrepreneurial Success

Written by GUNNA FREIVALDE | AMG ATTORNEYS


Gunna Freivalde headshot
Photo credit: Monika M. Kubiak Photography

Across the globe, women have played a vital yet often overlooked role in shaping the trajectory of art history. From ancient civilizations to contemporary art scenes, women have defied societal norms and pushed boundaries to make their mark on the artistic landscape. Despite facing systemic barriers and discrimination, women have persistently contributed to various art forms, including painting, sculpture, photography, and performance art. From iconic figures like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keeffe to lesser-known but equally impactful artists from diverse cultural backgrounds, women have brought forth unique perspectives and narratives, enriching the artistic discourse.


In the colorful canvas of the art world, gender disparities persist like stubborn paint stains on a palette. Women find themselves playing hide-and-seek in major exhibitions, galleries, and auction houses. Yet, against this backdrop, more and more women artists globally are donning their superhero capes, challenging the norm, and leaving a brilliant trail for the art rebels yet to come. They're not just breaking glass ceilings and shattering the frame of the art world; they're solidifying their spot as true trailblazers in the vibrant tapestry of the global art scene.


 

Probably, one of the best posters ever created by Guerrilla Girls is the one from 1988, where they define the benefits of being a female artist:


WORKING WITHOUT THE PRESSURE TO SUCCEED

NOT EXHIBITING WITH MEN


BEING ABLE TO ESCAPE THE ART WORLD IN THEIR FREELANCE JOBS


KNOWING THAT A CAREER CAN ONLY MOVE UPWARDS AFTER THE AGE OF 80


KNOWING THAT WHATEVER ART THEY MAKE WILL BE LABELLED AS FEMININE


NOT BEING STUCK IN A DESK JOB AS A TEACHER


SEEING THEIR IDEAS EMBODIED IN THE WORK OF OTHERS


THE CHANCE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A CAREER AND MOTHERHOOD


NOT CHOKING ON BIG CIGARS AND PAINTING IN ITALIAN SUITS


HAVING MORE TIME TO DEVOTE TO WORK AFTER A SPOUSE HAS LEFT FOR SOMEONE YOUNGER


BEING INCLUDED IN REVISED VERSIONS OF ART HISTORY


AVOIDING THE EMBARRASSMENT OF BEING CALLED A GENIUS


SEEING YOUR ART IN ART MAGAZINES WITH A GORILLA SUIT ON YOUR BACK


 

The role of art education and mentorship is crucial in fostering the growth of women artists. Continued efforts to encourage and support women pursuing art education, as well as providing mentorship opportunities, can contribute to a more balanced representation in the art world.


Gallery Week Brussels
Gallery Week Brussesls, Gunna Freivalde's archive

Picture this: for a creative soul, a contract is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole - it's not exactly their cup of tea. Sometimes, it is even scary to tie the creativity up to a piece of paper. Well, let me tell you! Contracts aren't just for the suit-and-tie crowd; they're like the roadmap to protect your artistic kingdom, ensuring that your blood, sweat, and tears are respected and valued.


Now, let's talk about the real MVPs: art education and mentorship. These aren't just your run-of-the-mill sidekicks; they're the secret tools to help women artists be seen as serious about what they do as any other business world boss. By giving the tools and support a woman artist needs to unleash her creativity, we're levelling the playing field. So, let's keep cheering on our fellow art devotees and passing the torch of inspiration - because, who knows, the next O'Keeffe might just be waiting for her turn in the spotlight!


THE ART OF CONTRACTS


Let's start with the scary one - a contract, which is the necessary evil in the world of art, but how could we see the light without the darkness? It's the administration shuffling that comes into play when a gallery wants to cozy up to an artist's work for display or sale, when a magazine asks permission to photocopy those copyrighted snapshots, when a collector lends their prized painting to a museum (with fingers crossed for its safe return), when an artist's family decides to be generous with their museum gifting spree, when two museums play hot potato with art and need a safety net against loss or damage, when an entrepreneur decides to sprinkle some artistic flair onto their website, or when an artist goes hunting for studio space.


Navigating through the maze of legalese is like a wild rollercoaster ride - where even the Mona Lisa might start eyeing up a lawyer, especially if her idea of "getting served" involves a can of soup in her face for entirely different reasons!


Embarking on any contract discussion is like embarking on a blind date - you better know who you're getting into business with! Check those references and do your homework - it's not just for grades anymore.


A successful art contract is like a good friendship - it's built on trust, mutual understanding, and maybe a few coffee dates in between.


And when it comes to crafting that perfect contract, it's all about making sure everyone's on the same page - whether it's agreeing on who pays the bill for installation or transportation (or both), agreeing and accepting commission rates, classifying copyright assignments, establishing correct selling prices, or even planning for the worst-case scenario like gallery bankruptcy.


While a coffee date might soothe the soul on a rainy day, a well-drafted contract comes in at a close second when it comes to securing your peace of mind in the business world!


A contract, by definition, is a legally enforceable agreement involving two or more parties, be they individuals or organizations, agreeing to either perform certain actions or refrain from doing so. Within the European Union (EU), the regulations governing contracts are primarily a mix of national laws of member states and EU regulations and directives. The specifics of contract law can vary depending on factors like the type of contract and the parties involved. Additionally, principles outlined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) may come into play, especially in matters concerning competition law or the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the EU. Whether it's an art sale or a service agreement, it's advisable to consult the relevant laws of the countries involved, preferably with the guidance of a competent legal advisor specializing in arts or contracts, or better, both.



Artwork by Marin Kasimir
Artwork by Marin Kasimir, Gunna Freivalde's archive

Some of the essential elements to the formation of the contract:


1. Offer and acceptance – It's like a dance-off, but with paperwork! One party throws down the offer, and the other busts out their acceptance moves. But before they hit the dance floor, they'll negotiate details like the price, medium, size, frame, delivery date, and even insurance coverage. If not, it might happen that one is prepared for a foxtrot while the other is moving on with tango.


2. Consideration – Think of it as the ultimate barter system for the modern age. Each party is like a savvy trader, swapping promises to buy, sell, consign, license, or lend in exchange for something of value.


3. Valid Purpose – It's all about keeping it legit! The contract's reason for existence shouldn't raise any eyebrows or break any laws. It's like making sure your lemonade stand isn't secretly a front for a black-market lemon smuggling operation.


4. Capacity – Think of it as a 'Are You Ready for This?' check before diving into the contract pool. Each party needs to be legally fit for the agreement, meaning they're not just legally of age but also of sound mind - no silly shenanigans or hypnotic spells allowed!


5. Certainty – It's like trying to navigate a maze with a blindfold on! The terms of the contract need to be crystal clear. None of that 'Lost in Translation' haziness - unless you're planning to star in a sequel!


6. Intention to create legal relations – It's the 'Just to Be Clear' handshake of the contract world. Both parties need to give a firm nod and say, 'Yep, this is serious business,' otherwise, it's just a glorified pinky promise. And we all know how reliable those can be!


7. Compliance with formalities – Picture it like dressing up for a fancy dinner party. Certain contracts need to do their best attire, whether it's a flashy written document or a witness to seal the deal.


Written words hold the power of law - but not every deal needs to be etched in ink! Sometimes, a nod or a handshake does the trick – though good luck proving it if things go twisted!


Imagine a heated negotiation where words fly like confetti and agreements are made faster than you can say "copyright chaos". But when disputes arise, it's like trying to catch a unicorn – tricky, to say the least!


And then there are the heirs of the author, embarking on an epic quest to claim their rightful copyright treasure. But with time slipping away and legal waters dim as ever, it's like playing a game of Clue with no rulebook in sight!


So, in this unpredictable world of contracts, remember while the pen may be mighty, sometimes a nod and a wink can work wonders - just don't forget your detective hat!


 

Gunna Freivalde is the legal maestro behind AMG Attorneys, where art and law collide in the most harmonious of ways. Based in Belgium, Spain, and Switzerland, Gunna is a legal ninja, wielding her expertise across borders with finesse.


And there's more! You'll also find her donning her arbitrator hat at The Court of Arbitration for Arts in The Hague, Netherlands - because who says legal proceedings can't be a work of art?


When she's not busy untangling legal knots or advocating for artistic justice (those rare moments), you can catch her donning her superhero cape as Legal Trustee at Tigers4Ever, a UK-based charity dedicated to wildlife conservation. Saving tigers by day, slaying legal dragons by night or vice versa - it's all in a day's work!


However, Gunna's most important role is being a full-time mom to two artistic teenagers and a furry squad of three cats, a dog, a horse, and a ferret (because every legal eagle needs a fuzzy sidekick).


And when the chaos of the day finally settles, you'll find Gunna unwinding with a well-deserved glass of wine, dreaming of a world where art reigns supreme, and justice is served with a side of creativity. Because hey, who says you can't change the world one masterpiece at a time?


AMG ATTORNEYS



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