Lauro Venturi, who defines himself as an “anarchist at heart, and a liberal in spirit”, is a manager and a coach specialized in Medium-sized Enterprises and Associations. He is currently the CEO of a leading global firm designing and producing irrigation technologies. Alongside his ordinary business as a manager, he has also driven the company to a significant generational turnover. This is why he is rethinking his own firm’s business model by teaming up with qualified, motivated young professionals on a challenging educational and coaching program.
Lauro, how do you read the change that we are going through?
Rather than a change, this looks like a metamorphosis to me. The ordinary rules that we have applied to managing changes in the past few years are no longer in place. I feel that we are close to some Darwinian evolution, meaning a situation where it is not the strongest that survives, but the one that better adjusts. There is a long process behind change, calling for it is not enough for it to happen.
So #itwillbeok, or do you see it differently, especially for what concerns art galleries?
This “it will be ok” mantra is nothing more than a shamanic ritual. An economy of scale should be applied to art too. The culture of art galleries is still excessively “romantic”, even snob, I would say, and the business model needs refreshing. Galleries cannot just remain open for emotional reasons, their income statement needs to be balanced too.
I definitely agree, but gallerists are far from naive.
Gallerists should be educated on business management. Aggregations, merges, and production chains should become part of the art galleries’ vocabulary too. They need collaborations based on an ever growing network – and networking does not imply losing their identity. Let’s learn how to make a business culture and artistic identity coexist. The gallerist is not someone who promotes an artist, but owns a company whose product is the artist, and manages a places where art is made. The gallerist needs to be a manager with a business culture. Sticking to business, segmentation is something else they should consider. It is one thing selling a work of art to vendors, but another to sell it to enthusiasts that keep it for themselves. There are just examples, even trivial ones, to show that either one makes the leap, or they will be stuck in nostalgia.
Romantic, nostalgia… all words that have little do with business.
And there is more: if we tested a gallerist’s personality, they would prove a narcissist. I am afraid that gallerists might be failed artists. But that is frustration, not business! I am ready to offer couple therapy for free to the gallerist and artist.
Of course, as we actually have not discussed artists yet.
Except for few art icons, artists are talents highly likely to die. If their works do not sell, they remain – to put it in business terms – prototypes. So what? So my products will no longer be paintings and sculptures, but the artists themselves. Which means I will have to broaden my product range, that is my R&D efforts. Mind, the R&D is strongly tied to the after-sale services, because of substitutes. Thinking in business terms implies that the gallerist-entrepreneur should be as little in love with their product as possible. This is why couple therapy is needed.
Last, let’s go back to the beginning: what should we expect from the near future?
I fear that consequences might not be insignificant, should this reclusion continue. Thirty-year-olds will have to stay apart from the elderly, and get ready for new strategies and formats, like a radical change in globalization. The young will have to take on responsibilities that they would not have until yesterday. I am not talking about predictions, I am just envisioning new scenarios. This is why I expect much more from the younger, in the world of art too.