I attended an art gallery event last night, a small private gathering in a local neighbourhood. Wine and cheese and “Meet the Artists”. I have collected a few favourite pieces from them in the last few years.
Let me start off by saying that if the intent was to provide us with an engaging, warm, sparkling evening of intelligent conversation amidst a showcase of new work then they failed. Miserably. So much so that I doubt I will be purchasing through them again.
In general there was no one on hand to greet or introduce themselves or, at the very least, and here’s a good one, to find out who you were that was attending. Most of the patrons were neighbourhood magpies more interested in taking up space gabbing and swilling the very cheap wine, which I might point out was not exactly set up very invitingly. It wasn't entirely clear which of the glasses were clean and which were used and set back down on the rickety stand, but It was very clear the hosts were not doing their job appropriately. Wherever they were.
When I entered I decided to go right to the desk near the front and inquire as to what it was all about re artists and how to find/meet/converse with them. I never had the chance. The person manning the desk did not acknowledge my presence once as I waited my turn. The minute the other guest moved on an attendee jumped in front of me, grabbed at papers, loudly proclaimed “OH goody ballots”, nearly stepping on me in the process. She was to be expected. The host’s reaction was not. I decided just to move on and find my own way as still nothing was said nor eye contact made, as the host joined in with the balloter. Remember I had just entered, the importance of this should not escape you. If it does re-read the first sentence of paragraph three.
So I made my way through the lovely studio, filled with some very beautiful new work, and at the back asked someone I finally spotted with a name tag where I might find the wine. Her answer was “At the front” and walked away. Further to my chagrin I could not identify which of the people around me were the artists in attendance. I began to assume they were the individuals not leaving a particular area of work and having very long conversations with one or two people. Not at any time were they working the crowd, introducing themselves, or moving on or around to speak to others. At least not to my knowledge (remember, my ears and eyes are always “on”) and that in itself is the problem. Why didn't I know? How many artists were actually in attendance? I was not aware there was information available on that, although I am sure there must have been. Where were the gallery’s staff to make those introductions? Why was neither group clearly identifiable?
I stood for some time in two areas, particular favourites of mine that I kept going back to and even wrote down the names of three paintings as I was admiring them.
Not one person walked up to me, ask questions, made introductions etc. and believe me not too many were showing interest in buying. Refer back to paragraph three again.
I slipped back out into the night, no one even knowing they had just lost a future sale, and ultimately a customer. I intend to request they take me off their mailing list and will no doubt be not even queried as to why.
I will say this again, to all you young ladies and gentlemen…..the world is yours. Stay ahead of the competition. It’s in my book. And it’s very simple.