This is an ongoing series of brief articles highlighting local venues where you can purchase art. Each installment will include a very brief background about the venue at the top followed by a summary of how the venue operates so you'll know what to expect when you visit.
Most people know the Art Museum of Rochester either by its acronym, AMoR, or its distinctive logo rather than the business name itself. The logo sports a cherry red heart nestled atop the M. The logo says a lot about the place: friendly, informal, chiiillll. Just take on look at the owner's picture next to this post. He's a super-nice guy and it shows whenever you're around him.
AMoR is definitely NOT your run-of-the-mill art gallery. It's a hybrid space that offers billiards and booze alongside the art.
Just in case you're not convinced about how hip this place is you can walk from the art gallery area directly into a tattoo parlor. As if that's not enough proof, we've been there on at least one occasion when a group 8-10 gamers were playing Super Smash Bros. in the front room more or less in the middle of an art exhibition. True story.
Let's face it, running a business on art sales alone is tough. Hybrids are one way to make the numbers work. AMoR has found a way do more than just pay bills and to do so for many years running. To be perfectly honest, we seriously doubt Scott Napier run his gallery any other way.
How is this venue listed on the Rochester Art Collector's SOURCES page?
"Commercial Art Galleries & Venues That Function Like Commercial Art Galleries"
General Description/Business Model:
AMoR is a "bricks-and-mortar" business. We consider AMoR a "hybrid commercial gallery" because when you consider the art components on their own AMoR meets many of the criteria of a traditional gallery. The art is not an afterthought. The owner has a strong personal interest in the work and thinks of himself as a gallerist.
AMoR operates on the consignment model with proceeds of all sales shared by the gallery and the selling artist. AMoR does not represent artists outside of their exhibitions except as described below or on an ad-hoc basis.
Description of the Exhibition Schedule:
AMoR rotates its exhibitions regularly. While they may not hit the once per month exhibition pace found at commercial galleries they usually have around eight exhibitions in a calendar year. Exhibitions run three to six weeks long.
Exhibitions usually kick off with an opening party. Some exhibitions include a closing party as well.
Hours of operation:
AMoR is open to the public during regular business hours but their business hours aren't what you might expect of an art gallery. They're open from 5:00 pm to midnight Monday through Saturday and Sundays from noon to 6:00 pm. Visits to the gallery may also be made by appointment.
Description of the Exhibition Environment:
AMoR is located in a building what was built as a home and later converted & adapted to a retail “boutique” application. As a result the layout feels a lot like a large home when you walk through.
There's a vestibule entry that leads into a large front room that may have been an enclosed porch. Step up from the front room into what was probably the living room when this home was first built. A brick fireplace is on the far wall. Walk through a central hallway past stairs towards the back of the building into a large open space that may have been the original dining room and kitchen. A well used pool table breaks up the space takes up about 1/3 of this area. You may find yourself navigating around players in order to see works installed in proximity to the pool table. There's a small public powder room off to one side. The tattoo parlor is in a large addition near the powder room.
Art is exhibited for sale in all these areas of the first floor with the exception of the tattoo parlor where you'll see lots of art owned by the folks that want to decorate your skin. In addition, there are display cases for small artworks/collectables and racks for t-shirts as well as other AMoR related merch & ephemera.
AMoR is not a white cube. Art work hangs on every vertical space including a couple of niche areas on the first floor and all the way up the open stairwell to the second floor. Most of the walls are plaster or drywall. One large wall is finished with corrugated aluminum giving the space a distinctive aesthetic.
Although in some areas the ambient lighting is dim the artwork is hung and displayed respectfully and with appropriate lighting. Mostly the work is hung gallery style; each piece set on it's own with room for the work to “breathe”. However, we've seen work hung salon style, floort-to-ceiling, more than once at AMoR. Most of the work that is exhibited for sale is installed on the first floor.
As a side note, due to the nature of some of the art on exhibit, there are times when the work is not presented framed. In those cases the artwork is literally tacked or otherwise affixed to the wall. Much of that sort of work is made from cardboard, paper, mixed media, or odd materials including everything from appropriated traffic signs to miniature railroad cars. If you want "precious," there are some shows that probably aren't for you.
Once you reach the top the stairs you won't see much artwork from the regular exhibitions. Oh, there's art upstairs but as far as we can tell it's mostly permanently installed. The second floor is about pool, drinks and, if you insist, coffee or tea.
How is the venue staffed?
The owner or a paid staff member is always present when the venue is open to the public. Just like the owner, the paid staff is very friendly and more than willing to chat but, with respect to the art, they are only helpful to a point. Unless you talk to the owner you won't learn much about the artists or the artwork. on the other hand, we’ve had more than one interaction with patrons who were fairly knowledgeable about the work displayed as well as the artists who made it.
Information About The Type of Work Exhibited:
AMoR shows current or recent work made by living artists and created in nearly all media and in a variety of styles with an emphasis on two dimensional work. The gallery seems to prefer group exhibitions over exhibitions that feature only one artist. Nearly all the artists who show at AMoR are either resident in Rochester or connected to Rochester.
There is a special emphasis on emerging artists and artists who depict urban settings or are influenced by an urban vibe. Works by "street" artists - muralists and those that come from a graffiti and public art background - are common. Still, we've also seen artists there who don't fall into that category at all including some of the most moving abstract works we've seen exhibited anywhere in Rochester.
What information is available about the artists and artwork during an exhibition?
Typically each artwork has a wall label with the artist's name, title and price. Occasionally, the work is labeled with number and the numbers correspond to the exhibition/price list.
Unfortunately, AMoR does not usually offer written artist backgrounds, bios, statements or curriculum vitae. However, the owner - who usually acts as curator or co-curator - will be able to talk with collectors about the artists. Staff are usually not be as knowledgeable as the owner. Unless you go to the opening or you're lucky, you probably won't run into any of the exhibiting artists while you’re in the building. In terms of background info, you're pretty much on your own.
We have never seen AMoR host an artist talks/panel during an exhibition.
What is the typical price range for works presented by this venue?
It's not unusual to find works of art in each exhibition available for around $100 or less. The average price is typically in the $300-$500 range. On occasion - depdending on the aritst - you may see work at AMoR priced above $1,000. We've seen at least one show with work priced as high as several thousand dollars.
How does this venue handle sales of art work?
AMoR will take payment on site as soon as you are ready. Works are sold on a first-come, first-served basis however the gallery may hold a work of art for a prospective buyer under certain limited circumstances. The gallery will accept cash, credit, debit and personal check. Note: AMoR will also allow installment purchases in many cases. Work that has been purchased in full may be taken by the new owner once the exhibition closes or if the final payment is received after the exhibition closes, then the new owner may pick the work up after the last payment has been received by the gallery.
AMoR does not maintain a backroom inventory of unsold artwork although you might see work from the last show still on the stairway walls heading to the second floor. The gallery owner may occasionally act as matchmaker with an artist in cases where a collector wants to consider works not included in an current exhibition or works that may still be available from a past exhibition.
As far as we know, AMoR does not offer delivery. Everything is local pickup.
How does this venue market and promote their exhibitions?
Mostly word-of-mouth with a touch of social media as well as a website. Facebook is probably your best bet. Please follow AMoR on Instagram and Facebook.
Does this venue offer any art related services or products besides the artwork itself?
Header image © Roy Sowers 1999
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