eye opening art openings

Okay, not really. More like I don't need to keep going to openings to see that some key ingredient is missing and I've yet to put my finger on what it is that would make an art opening more intimate or accessible.

It was the Fri Art Walk in Burlington. My friend and I went to four different places, and since we are rather numb to most of the art that gets shown here in Vermont, for the most part we found ourselves observing things about the work that quite frankly still surprises me - that is, poorly constructed work. One of the most top notch of art museums in the area is the Firehouse Gallery, the works were large scale C-Prints, which at first looked about as nice as a framed photograph can look but upon closer inspection it was obvious the prints were not dry mounted, rather they probably used corners or tape to affix the photo. Not a good idea with large scale prints because guess what they do? They ripple. And it was a blight to our eyes to see these large photographs rippling and warped looking. Of course, there was the usual "price available upon request" bullshit tag next to the piece. That just seems pompous, I'm sorry.

This is a sample of the work at her opening.

Okay, so the other place we went that I was looking forward to was a friend/peer who was having her first solo show. It was an impressive body of work and I liked that it had nothing to do with Vermont Barns and Trees and Snow and Cows. It was rather large scale calligraphy on rice paper....I found out later that wax and other adhesives were used to create this unique look of the canvas, almost like an animal hide.

I really wanted to enjoy the experience but it still lacked something. Not the work, the experience of being there. I actually recognized a few people and braved small talk, but I was wanting to know more about the work and to feel like we were all there to learn or be enlightened about something having to do with her and her art.

Again, tracking down the artist is tricky, people are usually surrounding them and you can see that it must be difficult or overwhelming to be that stimulated by all the energy. I was able to tell her what piece I loved and she had a great story about it. I couldn't help but to think how nice it would have been if more people were privy to information like that.

When the work is up on the walls....bare and naked for inspection with no support from the ball of people looking up at it, it leaves gaps and even moments of loneliness hanging in the air. I feel like I am hitting my head against the wall trying to come up with a solution that would make an art opening more.

Our last stop was a little jewelry shop of all places, tiny tiny tiny and on the walls, up high were little canvas paintings. Typical stuff, faux Monet trees and landscapes. But the woman at the counter was really into it and knew the story behind the painter and was so expressive and excited about her work that it at least made me want to look at it more than I normally would have. She told us things about the work and the artist. That you don't get in a typical opening.

Maybe it is different in other cities. Maybe I need to drive to Boston and go to an opening. I know the opening in NY that I was part of was even worse than the ones here, which makes me assume its like that nearly everywhere. I'm sure if I had my own opening I would be awkward and make many faux pas. I would probably want to stand at the door and shake hands with everyone and introduce myself and personally thank them for coming. I would probably try to spit out a few words about myself and my work. My work excites me when people are interested in it enough to ask about it. And if I had the opportunity to talk about it I would hope that would be interesting. Every artist has a story, at least one piece out of a handful has some interesting fact about it. Wouldn't you love to know it if you are taking the time to go out and see it?


BlueJude said...

I think I would want to walk around in a raincoat and oversized sunglasses and hat! I'd be lurking somewhere, unnoticed...like a wallflower. lol Not much for the spotlight...at least not in that kind of situation. Anyhooo..it's not the abstract...but that was a good guess. It'll be interesting to see where that aspect goes.

Self Taught Artist said...

okay woman, I"m not letting you off the hook that easily :)
Why would you be like that...if you made work that you felt great about, was proud of, exicted about..why would you want to hide? I'm not much for the spot light either, (I avoid mirrors remember?), its a celebration of YOU and what you have created. Wouldn't it be a good thing to be side by side the thing you put your heart and soul into?

Anonymous said...

I remember visiting an opening in Washington DC several years ago--also part of a 'gallery walk' evening. Usually I'm too shy myself to approach the artist at such an event, but this time I liked the work so much that I made a point of standing around until the artist was free, introduced myself and told her how much I liked her work. She thanked me, and then turned her back to me while she spoke to a friend at her side, leaving me speechless with surprise. She was obviously very uncomfortable in the situation, but then why attend the opening at all?

Lisa B said...

I enjoy going to shows where the artist get to say a few words about their work and then everyone is free to take in the show and ask more questions if they like.

I know some artist think their work should speak for itself and will absolutely not talk about the what and the why of their work.

I think that has merit but is not as much fun.

Self Taught Artist said...

I have had that happen to me too, they turn around and just leave you standing there like you are invisible.
so can we agree that something could be better????
any thoughts or ideas about what would make it more interesting, comfortable for the viewers?

sarala said...

You tell great stories about art. Maybe the challenge is to find your own unique way to combine the story with the piece.