For one, I can spend my time where I really want to be, producing my work while the gallerist promotes my work.
Second, I suspect that you will not get a critical review from your home studio. (Now I did get a spread in the Chicago Tribune of me in my studio, but a feature is not a review.)
Reputable and knowledgeable dealers will know who to match your work with, making connections you and I might never have.
So the gallery gets 50% of the value of your work, but to paraphrase Nancy Charak who said in the comments, you can choose to sell your own work but 50% of zero equals zero.
For their 50% the gallery should provide you with certain services besides a place to exhibit your work, providing a contract outlining everyone's responsibilities. Theirs will include:
*creating and sending out a press release
*creating and sending invitations to the artist's mailing list and the gallery's list
* perhaps arranging to pick up the work
* probably installing it (exceptions include site specific installations)
* creating labels and making artist bio info available
* producing an opening reception
*selling the work, placing it in collections, etc.
All that done, you sell well, right?
Who now owns the artwork?
Do you know who owns your work? What about galleries selling your work to collectors and refusing to identify the buyers?
For the major retrospectives, in my dreams, I need to be able to track down my work. I would like to know when work goes from one collection to another owner.
The provenance of one's work is important. And, did you know, in some cases if your work is resold you may be in line for a cut of the profit?
So can you send in your answers to these questions?
Or ask some of your own.
1. Is it important to show in a gallery?
2. Are art fairs, studio sales, auctions for charitable orgs good for sales and/or reputations of fine artists?
3. Should your dealer tell you who buys your work?
4. What can you do if your dealer will not share who has purchased your work with you?
5. Do you allow folks to "come to your studio after an exhibition" to buy work they saw in a commercial gallery?
6. Should your gallery get a percentage of that money made after a show?
These questions come up over and over. What do you think?