Sunday, March 19, 2023


The below post was originally published about 20 years ago... but it is still very pertinent and funny!

A while back I made some comments on the subject of galleryphobia. Other similar experiences by other gallerists soon followed.

Today, as I sit in the gallery, and observe that Bethesda Plaza is once again packed with people awaiting to be called to the Original Pancake House, and yet only a few brave souls dare to enter the gallery, while dozens float back and forth attempting to view the entire exhibition through the glass walls, I am reminded of another gallery phenomenom: Bin Magnetism, also sometimes called Print Rack Magnetism.

I've not only observed Bin Magnetism evidenced at our two galleries, but also at every single gallery that I've visited that has a floor bin (or print rack) loaded with shrink wrapped matted two dimensional work.

You know the kind; nearly every gallery has one (they usually look like 
this)- loaded with art work that can be purchased and (usually) taken away immediately - as opposed to the month-long permanence of the scheduled exhibitions on the walls.

Anyway, what I have observed is that there exists a phase two to galleryphobia.

Once the galleryphobia-afflicted person has received enough counseling and encouragement, and then (after a deep breath), dares to actually enter the art gallery, he or she is often immediately and irresistibly attracted by some invisible and powerful force directly to the art bin, much like a stranded swimmer making his way to a floating log in the middle of the ocean.

This is phase two of galleryphobia, hereafter referred to as Bin Magnetism.

And if the gallery happens to have more than one floor bin, then the person usually contracts a more severe and acute case of Bin Magnetism and then makes his way from art bin to art bin, as if swimming from one safe spot to another. Sometimes they work their way around the gallery that way, breathlessly going through the shrinkwrapped artwork, eyes locked onto those pieces, avoiding any eye contact with anyone else, and unfortunately often not even looking up at the exhibition actually hung on the walls before they make their way out of the gallery.

The Bin Magnetized victim can often be rescued and cured by approaching them, smiling at them and starting a light conversation. Once they get over their startled look at discovering that the gallerist is (sometimes) a human being capable of speech, the disease if usually cured on the spot.

In rare ocassions, the Bin Magnetized victim will be allergic to this proven cure and react by either fainting or running away at an Olympic clip.