I see it everyday on Facebook and Instagram, a headshop labeling itself as an Art Gallery. It honestly makes me sick to see these headshops labeling themselves as Art Galleries because they carry a few pieces that can be considered Glass Art.
What about the Chinese import that litters 90% your store space?
The stench of incense sticks upon entering the establishment?
Rows and rows of rolling papers and blunts?
Piss cleaning kits and grinders?
None of the items listed above are something an Art Gallery sells, yet SO many headshops that label themselves as Art Galleries sell those exact items, and way more. The last time I went to pick up a painting at an art gallery, I didn’t have the option to buy a wine opener / cheese board / fancy dress/ other things that are pertinent to the art collectors lifestyle. Art Galleries, sell ART. Headshops, sell lifestyle products for the smoker lifestyle, one of those items being Glass.
There is a certain level of prestige that you feel when you enter an Art Gallery, that same feeling of prestige is definitely not present when you enter your average headshop. If every shop that sells glass, tries to label itself as an Art Gallery, it will keep taking away from what it actually means to be an Art Gallery. It takes away from the real Art Glass Galleries that have to work twice as hard and make way less money doing it, because they have made the conscious decision to get less in their pocket in order to give the artist’s creation a proper environment free of the things that threaten those exact Art Pieces.
If you sell $10 000 pieces of Functional Glass Art, in the same space as $50 Chinese made pieces, you are not running an Art Gallery. You are running a headshop, that has a few pieces of Functional Glass Art scattered throughout. There is NOTHING wrong with that, except you trying to label yourself as an Art Gallery.
These headshop owners want all the prestige and association that an Art Gallery has, with all the high-profit bullshit products that a headshop sells. An Art Gallery does not sell 50 pieces a day; it sells a few pieces monthly. Echoing back to what we said in the last article, an Art Gallery has a curator that controls the direction and pieces in the gallery to present the Galleries vision of Functional Glass Art. A headshop has a manager and many employees, who are just there to collect an hourly wage. The standard employee at a headshop, is nowhere near as educated as a gallery curator when it comes to the subject matter at hand, in this case, Functional Glass Art.
If you sell Honda and Hyundai at your car dealership, and have a Lambo or Ferrari on your lot because you love it, you are not an exotic car importer. You are a car dealer with a passion for a product better than what you sell.
Which hits on a GREAT point in this debate, why are all these headshop owners who usually bolster impressive Functional Glass Art collections, selling the exact products that threaten the artists they call friends? Because it makes them A LOT more money with A LOT less work. There, I said it, it’s way more profitable to run a headshop VS a REAL Art Gallery, but comes with much less prestige. Unfortunately, you can’t have your cake and eat it too; owners need to decide if they care more about money or about moving the industry forward.
It’s time for these so-called “Art Galleries” to start practicing what they preach or re-label themselves back to the appropriate title, HEADSHOP.