Art Show Etiquette – The Way It *Should* Be

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Recently, I attended an art show. Actually, it was an art auction. For the sake of decency, I will refrain from mentioning names. What I will say, is, that I am struggling with whether or not I want to purchase any future art from this gallery.

You see, this isn’t an article about how YOU should behave when you attend an art show, but rather, my opinion, humble or not, on how the Gallery or Promoter should behave.

I prepared for this show, excitedly, a little bummed that I was not able to attend all of the artist sessions because of other commitments and obligations, but ready to experience the art, through the eyes of the artists, themselves, and learn more about art, and, hey, you already know how much I LOVE art! One of my favorite artists was going to be speaking and I would also get the opportunity to meet a couple other artists, while there. And, I was looking forward to telling you all, here on the blog, about how wonderful the event was, promoting the gallery and recommending that you buy your art from them, you know, the whole enchilada.


Well, I will say this, as a positive note… The resort and the artists and the other art collectors and enthusiasts were absolutely wonderful! For that, I would go again, and again, but the promoter? Well… maybe not. Oh, wait this, was the positive paragraph, wasn’t it! Seriously, the staff at the resort were very courteous and (don’t tell anybody), they concurred that not all of the people who attend these shows are “happy campers” at the end when they check out. You didn’t hear that from me, ok?

So, let me, briefly, indicate what *NOT* to do if you are a gallery or promoter. If I make it anything other than brief, it will turn into a rant.

  1. If you represent the gallery, DO NOT get so stinkin’ drunk that you do not know what you are saying and falling on the floor. It it is hilarious in a bar, but really makes me wonder when I am handing over this amount of money for the art you are representing. It is not like you are some eccentric celebrity that I am paying money to see make a fool of themselves!
  2. While I understand that you pay for our weekend and would like us to buy art, and I understand the “guilt trip” presentation, getting two inches from my face and basically accusing me of being a louse, is not the way to get me to pull out my credit card. Oh, maybe that was the alcohol talking? Refer back to #1, above.
  3. Please, gallery, if I, as only a lowly art enthusiast, know more about one of your featured artists than you do, then why are you representing this artist? I am happy to educate other art collectors, but maybe you should pay me the commission instead of the drunk agent. Just a thought.
  4. When I am asking you about another artist and you are looking up their information on your laptop, learn how to say, “Excuse me,” before cutting off our conversation abruptly. It is just common decency and doesn’t cost anything, but again, it does affect my desire on whether or not to purchase that piece of artwork that you are looking up, now, or, uh, never.

It is evident that all I was was a potential cash cow. And, you know what, I had a feeling that that may be the case and was determined to see if this gallery could muster up the character to actually treat me like a human being regardless of pulling out the pocketbook. You see, I don’t pay for a lack of class, and, in this case, you could be in need of a shower, living in the slums, and if you say a simple, “Please” and “Thank you” from the heart, treating me as a human being, well, then the pocketbook starts to see the light of day.

Let’s keep it simple. Attend art shows of the yet-to-be-known wonderfully talented art its, like those I feature on this site. Admire them, support them, and love them. For, I’m sure that they will truly appreciate it and treat you in a kind manner, with or WITHOUT that pocketbook or credit card.

As for the unnamed gallery? Too bad, you lost the sale for the simple reason that you forgot how to be kind….


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