Monday, September 07, 2009

Things not to do at an opening

This happened this past weekend at an art opening in the Mid Atlantic region.

An artist has been begging a particular gallery to include some of his work in one of the gallery's shows. The artist has a BFA and an MFA, both from really good art schools, and has recently moved to the area and wants to establish himself in this new area. The gallery is by far one of the top galleries in the city.

Finally the gallerist gives in and includes the artist in a group show. On opening night the show does well and several major pieces are sold (none of the artist's work). In fact it is the gallery's second best selling show ever and a welcomed relief in these austere financial times.

The opening is well-attended and supposed to end at 9PM, and the artist hasn't bothered to show up, but finally makes an appearance towards the end, around 8:30PM.

It appeared that he'd been celebrating in a nearby bar, and is quite inebriated. To make matters worse, he's been handing out show cards at the bar, and inviting all the bar flies to come to the gallery and enjoy free wine. Quite a few of the bar flies accompany the artist and they walk from the bar to the gallery.

They make quite an "impression" on the rest of the art clients still at the gallery, and soon all, except the barflies and the artist, leave as 9PM approaches. At 9PM the gallerist tells the artist that the opening is over and the gallery needs to close.

The artist begs the gallerist to stay open a little longer (and here's where the gallerist makes a huge mistake), and the gallerist agrees, perhaps believing the artist's claim that one of the bar flies will purchase a painting; and more wine flows.

Soon it is clear to the gallerist that the artist's posse is just interested in free wine and she kicks them all out and closes the gallery. In the process of doing so, some of the drunks become nasty to her.

Chances of this artist ever being invited to exhibit at this gallery again? The same chance as a snowball in hell.

Chances of this artist (once the gallerist tells the story at the next dealers' association meeting) of getting invited by another gallery? Slim to none.

Moral of the story? Pretty obvious, uh?


Anonymous said...

Incredible, but pretty much the same thing happened to my gallery last year in Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

the gallerista shud have known better.......

Anonymous said...

The gallery owner is at fault here, the artist is an asshole but the owner should have known better, after all, he/she is the professional here.

Anonymous said...

Dealer failed to act.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous- are most of those previous comments from the same person?

It is not the dealer's fault to hope to make a buck- that is their job.

Hopefully the name of the artist in question is being circulated so the rest of the DC art scene (and elsewhere) will know not to waste their time on such a jerk.

Lenny said...

Concur with 10:10AM