Las Artes

July 7, 2015

Are we Complacent when it comes to Solo Shows

Lola Alvarez Bravo photo of Frida

Before we begin, this is the definition Wikipedia offers on solo shows (art exhibitions):

Art exhibitions have a history that dates back to 1623. It is thought that the first solo exhibition in Britain was staged by Joseph Wright of Derby in 1785, the year after he refused to become a Royal Academician.

Art Galleries became numerous in large cities during the nineteenth century and flourished during the twentieth century, often becoming included among stores in small towns as well, after the middle of the twentieth century.

Generally, as artists begin to show their work they are accepted by commercial gallery owners for display among the works of many or among others who work in the same area. The works of the artists are sold and the galleries take commissions. As artists gain stature and attract a following who will purchase their works in greater numbers, gallery owners will promote their works in solo shows with a great deal of publicity about the show. The artists with the greatest appeal to a gallery’s clients may be invited to be represented by that gallery consistently, developing a constant relationship that even may develop into exclusive rights to offer the sale of the works by those artists.

As we can see, this is a long term process for artists who start with group exhibitions and eventually work their way up to a solo show. Some never make it, and it depends on the sales and following. To put things in perspective, Frida Kahlo had her first and only solo show in Mexico months before her dead. If you watched Salma Hayek’s movie you will remember the efforts to transport her in bed to the gallery to attend her first solo exhibition organized by photographer Lola Alvarez Bravo in her gallery. Frida also had a successful solo show in New York City in 1938 at the Julien Levy Gallery.


What qualifies a local artist to have a one man show? Are we seeing too many solo exhibitions of relatively unknown artists? I have asked a couple of galleries about local art sales, and seldom do I get a positive reply. This year, La Vida Valle will focus on finding out more about the art scene and business in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  If you know more about the subject, please share and enlighten us – we will truly appreciate this.

Featured photograph of Frida Kahlo was taken by Photographer Lola Alvarez Bravo. Photo below is from Frida Kahlo’s foundation website.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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