Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thoughts on Open Studios

Everybody is getting ready for Open Studios so that made this post even more relevant. Our space - like many others - turns Open Studios into a party on down! night. The DJ chosen plays loud music, food rolls out on a regular basis and if you won't get that wine out there soon enough, the free loaders start complaining. Is this the way to present art? What are we creating - a space where our work is looked at with respect or just another Friday night pit stop? When I was doing PR for Open Studios, I was contacted by some blogger whose purpose was to post about where the free food and wine was - never mind what the event. The important thing was the freebies which are (mostly) thrown away on people who can well afford to feed themselves, probably better than we can. I didn't agree to him listing us although he may have done it anyway but it was another reminder, if I needed one, about how we have allowed ourselves to be used and viewed.

"Re: showing the video of Joshua Bell playing in the subway, the one where few people stopped to listen:

It certainly made me think about the many shows I have done when people have walked absent-mindedly through a show. Chatting on the phone, or with a friend. Half looking at the work. At these very shows, there are artists showing work that is worthy of being in a museum....or who have work in a museum.

I have yet to see someone walking through a museum, chatting on their cell phone, and munching on popcorn. Why does one setting invoke respect and focus, and another half-hearted attention? I do not expect people at a craft show,...even a high caliber be looking at the artists and their work with reverence. But, if you do come to see beauty, then why not see the beauty? "


Zoomie said...

Museums insist that one turn off one's camera/phone and no food is allowed, creating a semi-respectful ambiance. But, I have yet to visit a museum opening where most of the people are actually looking at the work. They glance at the work but they really are there to see and be seen.

Hard to imagine an Open Studios that would tell people they can't eat and they must turn off their cell phones! Might drive potential customers away. I guess that's the difference - museums are selling admission, not art work.

namastenancy said...

I am not saying that we "tell" people to turn off the cell phones, etc. I am just saying that we, as artists, should provide less of a carnival/party atmosphere with expensive food and drink and music. It does not bring in buyers; most of us sell our work on Saturday and Sunday - AFTER the Friday party and to entirely different people. Museums are marketing to a very different clientele, those who will become patrons and donors. Our Friday night party openings do not translate to either buyers, patrons or donors; the crowd that we pull in had no interest in art and is just there to P-A-R-T-Y, at our expense. It cheapens us, it certainly lightens our bank accounts and it renders the art invisible.