We had a great time at our Second Saturday Art Walk last night. We had one of the largest crowds in history! However, when you have that many people come into your gallery – you get ALL SORTS. So I will take a moment to share with you the etiquette of attending an art opening, because some of your Mothers did not teach you, and I want you all to be properly informed.
When I was in college I used to love to attend art openings and Museum gatherings – you not only get to surround yourself with wonderful visual creativity, but most often get to meet the artist(s), and enjoy some free wine and food along the way. Heck, in NYC you actually have to be invited to the major gallery openings and don’t even get in the door unless you are on the “list.” But I was an art major, and had a general interest in art, and what college student does not want to enjoy a free glass of wine (or two or three?) All that being said, I am not sure I was ever considered a complete ART-WINE-FOOD-WHORE like I encountered last night.
An Art Opening, Open Studio Tour, Gallery Stroll, can really be a wonderful adventure, and provide an inexpensive cultural and social event to take part of. Usually the artists, and galleries have made a special effort and really cleaned up their spaces, taking the time to make sure everything is hung properly, and inventory replenished. They dress up nicer than they normally do, and have either purchased, catered, or made some wonderful finger-food to sample, as well as provided a refreshing beverage or libation. They are excited to welcome the public into their spaces to talk about and view the art they have been working so hard on.
Rule number 1 – If you are going to set your intentions on being an ART-WINE-FOOD-WHORE (from here on out to be known simply as “whore”) for the evening – It is best if you start out the night by bathing and dressing like you are out for a lovely cultural night on the town. There is not really a formal dress code for such events, especially in Florida where you can’t tell the difference between a bum and the next dot com millionaire. But you will fall under the radar if you don’t look like you just came in off the beach (or shrimp boat) in your fuchsia romper and flip flops. Far be it from me to judge a book by it’s cover, but yes, people who do clean up and make an attempt to look nice do get treated better in life. If you are going to completely take advantage of me and my gallery, at least try to look classy while doing it. That is textbook “Swindler 101.”
Rule Number 2 – Please make an attempt to walk around and actually look at some of the art in the gallery. I promise you don’t actually have to buy anything, but you actually do have to pretend you are somewhat interested in the art if you are going to act like a complete vulture at the food and wine table. We will still talk about you after you have gone, but not quite as nastily.
Rule Number 3 – If the event starts at 5:30 and it is 5:15 and you can see the food table is about to be set up – don’t act like a vulture at the food table and ask “what time does this event begin?” The event is our ART – not us feeding your cheap ass. Also, do not steal food off the table, wrap it up in a napkin, and stick it in your purse for later. I know we are in a recession, and everyone loves a free party – but seriously, if you are over the age of 20 and not poverty stricken or, a growing teenage boy, or feeding your homeless buddy in the alley, then this behavior is completely inexcusable.
On that same note, do not bother me while I am in my back studio with the lights off still trying to prepare the beverages and food. Do not look around and ask me where the wine is, and certainly don’t ask me to hurry up with the punch as I am sweating and swearing over a melted bag / block of ice in which I am stabbing with the back handle of a paint brush (you might be next). Dude, there is a bar down the street if you are starting to get the DT’s and are in dire need of a wine I.V.
Rule Number 4 – If you are going to ignore rules # 1, 2 & 3 – don’t continue to be a tacky whore and proceed to ask to use the bathroom. At this point, you have already established yourself as a tacky transparent creature, who is not only lacking in manners, but is completely uninterested in art, too cheap to buy/use your own toilet paper, and if I have not kicked your ass out to the street yet, then hopefully at this point your small bladder has saved you and you can escort yourself out.
Rule Number 5 – If you are going to continue to ignore rules 1, 2, 3, & 4 – then it would be in your best interest NOT to flirt with, and/or touch, and/or hug, and/or kiss, and/or sit on the laps of all the artists’ significant others/spouses. At this point, we will not only talk badly about you and kick your ass out on the street, but email your photo to all the area galleries.
So I hope this has been an informative lesson to those of you who were not properly informed how to attend an art opening just for the food and wine. It is never too late to learn good manners!