Saturday, September 25, 2010

How to survive exhibition openings....

I'm not a big fan of going to openings for a variety of reasons. Not least of which is the discomfort of not knowing what to do with myself after the 15-20 minutes I normally take to consume the shows. This takes the form of 2-3 circulations and after that, in most Perth shows at least, I start to feel like I'm killing time.

I'm often left lost as I don't drink/eat at such things and the 'smoker' retreat isn't an option.

If someone is there that I know, I might chat to them for a while but without them I just feel out of place and inadequate. This is even worse if my work should be on the walls.

So... I was thinking before that I've had 'success' (in regards to staying longer) at such events when I can dig through an artist statement or stare at a piece of paper for a while. This has the effect that I might potentially 'meet' a friendly face and I also appear engaged with the work.

Unfortunately, there often isn't a statement or price list to fondle so I had thought a good idea might be to make my own and bring it with me. That way I can catch up with some reading at the same time.

It also has the effect of being a talking point. i.e. 'Excuse me. Where did you get that from?'

I can then appear 'eccentric' (or a nut job) for having something unassociated with the show in an odd context.

So... the lesson is: if you want people to stay at your shows for longer, give them something to 'do'. So often I see people fumbling around at shows looking for a price list or statement to carry with them and their frustration is clearly evident when they can't find the security blanket they crave.

Inevitably they will 'complain' how obscure your statement is but eyes on walls should always be preferable to eyes on the bottom of a wine goblet.

No comments: