Recently I was approached by a "curator" asking me to submit works for an exhibition they were organising in a large American city at the end of this year. Naturally I was interested and asked for more details. I also did a search on this person to ensure they were reputable. Everything looked great until I received further details from this "curator" asking for 3 specific works and .... a submission fee to be included of 2500 euros!?! (Which would bring the price up considerably!) The gallery would then take a further percentage of any sales!
You do the sums, but the "curator" would be the only one making any money here. And to me this is outrageous - no matter what their reputation is. It's a huge win for the curator and huge loss for any artist.
Even with a potential 50% of sales, most artists are out of pocket before they start with most exhibtions. They must for any framing, are expected to send or deliver the works, insure the works, pay a percentage of their sales to the gallery, and now often have to pay for the invitations and the opening!
Why is this "curator" asking for so much money? Pure greed. It should not be necessary if they are inviting the artist for a specific exhibition. Why not take a 10% cut of sales, give 30% to the gallery and everyone would win! They would have the prestige of the exhibition, and for providing a professional service that serves both themselves, the gallery, and the artist.
My suggestion - if you are approached with a similar unreasonable "offer" - refuse. You are better off getting a group of artists together and approaching a gallery (just like they have) - and doing it yourself. Whether you are an emerging artist or a professional - weigh up the costs first of paying someone as a go-between - and ask yourself if it is really worth it - on any level.