Downtown Gallery Scene Moved by Tech Tenants

Google Street View of 77 Geary

The Mission is not the only place to feel the impact of tech. Downtown, SF Gate reports, galleries are packing up to make way for new start-ups. 

The George Krevsky Gallery, the Rena Bransten Gallery and Patricia Sweetow Gallery, all occupants of 77 Geary St., will be leaving soon to make way for their high-tech neighbor, MuleSoft, an Internet services company that needed to expand. Read more.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. Mission resident

    Prospective buyers of contemporary art are increasingly focusing on the purchases as a speculative investment. Art promotion and sales via the Internet have spurred this development. So has the proliferation of art fairs, where galleries vetted by promoters, often on the basis of their business prominence, set out their wares in booths before throngs of strolling visitors. Over the past decade, art fairs have accounted for an increasing share of art commerce, nationally and internationally.

    This above paragraph says it all. The article makes it sound like the Tech company is kicking out the art gallery. If the art gallery could actually sell it’s art, they’d be able to pay rent and keep going. The article admits this is happening across the county as many people aren’t buying art in a gallery anymore. The question to ask is, would the art gallery have stayed in the space if this tech company wasn’t ready to move in? It didn’t say the landlord raised their rent. It just said they can’t do business in the area because they can’t sell any art.

    I guess the point of the article is to say that tech companies should be subsidizing other failing businesses and never move in to a building where an art gallery once was.

    • John

      Yes, art galleries are suffering from the same kind of disimtermediation that put travel agents out of business. They have high costs and add dubious value.

      Art galleries rely on very high margins because of the very low volumes. Their customers are almost exclusively the one percent. So why should we pity them?

      If there’s a worse use of real estate, I’m not sure what it is.

      • Mission resident

        Agreed, I have visited many galleries in the city and haven’t ever seen one where the artwork is affordable. Not even close to affordable. Who buys a painting for $1000 or $5000? I think an art gallery could work if they do target pricing of $50 – $500. Maybe a consignment art gallery where different artists can put their artwork up for 2-3 week stints. Any sales the gallery gets a cut. This would give people reasons to visits art galleries once a month as there would always be a different art show with new pieces. The could even charge a small fee of $3 to $5 for people to view the art. What they really need is business people to think of extra ways to make money in order to stay open. The old way of doing business is not working. in a down economy, artwork is the last thing rich people buy.

        • Reality Check

          “Who buys a painting for $1000-$5000?” Someone who values art, and understands that whoever painted it does it for a living. But yes- let’s put it in bargain bins for $50 so that people who know nothing about art can buy it. Great solution!

          • Mission resident

            Well, instead of complaining about tech, they should be teaching the techies how to “understand the art”, since they are the folks that can afford the art. If you make less than 100K a year in this area, you’d be an idiot to spend $1000 on a piece of art.

            This is a rich people problem. The artists that sell their art in these galleries are very successful and make lots of money. These are not the “starving artists” that are being evicted from their mid market homes.

          • nutrisystem

            Keep in mind that galleries typically keep 40- 50% of the sale price as commission, and that good paintings take a lot of time.

            With the remaining 50-60% of the sale price that the artist receives, he must pay his taxes, housing, studio space, medical insurance, food, etc.

            Artists count themselves as lucky if they can even achieve “dignified poverty”.

          • John

            Artists choose to do what they love and so accept less remuneration than those who do what they do not love.

  2. nutrisystem

    StoolSoft is a much better use of that space than the art things. I like that app – it helps me manage my stools and share them with my whole contact list without the annoying chore of selecting them one by one.

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