At the bakery, you buy rolls, in the clothing store, t-shirts and artwork.
WHAT IS A GALLERY?
Like a bakery or clothing store, a gallery also has fixed opening hours, often from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Mondays, most galleries are closed. There are about 60 galleries in Cologne. “Anyone can look at the works of art, including families with children,” says Mirko Mayer. However, a gallery is not a museum: it is owned by a private businessman who earns his money by selling works of art. “But most people just look around and don’t buy anything,” Mayer explains. Of course, if you go shopping with your parents’ clothes on, you’re still looking at a lot of things.
WHAT ARE THE GALLERIES?
There are three types of galleries: some shops offer works by living artists who are still making art. Mirko Mayer is particularly interested in young but unknown artists and often looks for them in art schools. This is the first time for the three young people who have just been allowed to exhibit in his gallery. “I try to get the young artists known and to sell their images,” says Mirko Mayer. “Most artists stay with a gallery owner all their lives. “There are also galleries that show the work of artists who are already dead. Often, these stores then specialize for a while, buying the works of deceased artists, exhibiting them and reselling them. And thirdly, there are galleries that specialize in a particular art form or country. One of them might, for example, show sculptures from Africa.
WHAT IS EXHIBITED IN THE GALLERIES?
The works you see in a gallery are usually exchanged every six weeks. Then there are other works of art in the rooms. “In the United States, the exhibitions even change every four weeks,” Mayer said. When a new exhibition opens, there’s something like a party that anyone interested can come to. This is called the vernissage. “All gallery owners do that,” says Mirko Mayer. Some even organize a party on the last day of the exhibition. It’s called the Finissage.
HOW MUCH DOES THE WORK COST?
The artworks can be bought not only in galleries, but also on the Internet or in auction rooms. At an auction, a work of art is presented and whoever offers the most to be able to buy it. The price of the works varies enormously. Some works of art, including a few pieces (e.g. repeatedly developed photographs), can be bought for 30 euros, while other craftsmen pay more than one hundred million euros. An image of the painter Gauguin is said to have been sold for around 280 million euros. For the price, you can buy about 1000 houses in the Cologne area.
SINCE WHEN HAVE THERE BEEN GALLERIES?
“People have been dealing with art for a long time,” says Mirko Mayer. Whereas people were perhaps more interested in special jewellery, clay or porcelain, many now find paintings, photographs or sculptures exciting. Hundreds of years ago already, rich people decorated their living rooms with beautiful pictures – and sometimes sold them.