I was reminded in my weekend trip away that there really are some rules regarding nurturing any potential relationship with a gallery owner. They will be working hard to support you and market you precious work if you are selected by them. There are so many artists available to fill up almost any gallery's roster and stable. It is worth remembering that even in the supposedly casual art world there is still a level of small politic and manners required. Trust and respect are expected and gallery owners talk to one another so a faux pas can be shared quietly but effectively.
I will share a disaster or two I have experienced owning my own little gallery.
1. Using a gallery owner as a personal sounding board is inappropriate. Try to keep your more personal issues to yourself unless it seriously relates to the work, I don't need to know all your grubby details unless
you are my best friend, my mother or my lover. I have my own.
2. Don't use people's hard earned reputation to further your own ends unless there is something there to reciprocate. There are so many ways to advance your own career without damaging someone who has allowed you their trust.
3. Don't use openings as an excuse to party hardy, drink too much or act out. People really are watching and are careful about showing people who look difficult and can't show just a little discretion.
4. Be careful and protective of gallery owner's property. If you know the person you brought is a kleptomaniac or your children vomit on the floor don't bring them with you. And pets are not welcome everywhere. Had a barking dog once that belonged to one of my artists that cost me a noise violation with the local town administration. Another one snapped and bit a customer who was disabled.
5. Don't treat the gallery owner's staff as your employee to dump on or use without at least some casual agreement from the gallery owner. Abusing staff people or gallery neighbours is really not kosher.
6. Inviting the gallery owner home is really tricky. Good manners, respect and a little kindness are important. It is pretty bad form to drink too much, insult your guest by sitting them at the kiddie table or with your fanatical Aunt Jane. And for God's Sake don't ever, ever flirt seriously with their date or husband.
A guarantee you won't show with them at all unless you are a really fabulous artist who is impossible to replace.
7. Prepare your portfolio, have your details available, keep your appointment times and never stiff a serious deadline with an excuse. Promotion time takes at least a month and only change your commitment if it is life and death.
All of the above have happened to me and I am just a small gallery owner. Every single time I have ended my professional contact with an artist and trust me I let others know. Artists are no longer required to be complete flakes and difficult. I can pick and choose which relationships I nurture.