Why Art Galleries Exist

What do you think of your gallery exhibition openings? What is the gap between how you view your art, versus how you explain your view of your art. It’s difficult because, after all, you chose visual art, a nonverbal, and now you have to explain it back into words. Some are glibber than others, but the universe of words fails to explain the universe of art.

Is the potential buyer looking for sofa art or soul art. Each is legitimate, and no one has to apologize. In reality, any piece of art will have to fulfill its aesthetic meaning as well as a deeper meaning. The needs of the artist and client must be filled. In the catholic world of art, explaining this distinction will establish the aim of THIS painting or sculpture.

Everyone will be happier if they understand the dynamics of the gallery opening. It’s an extrovert situation surrounded by walls of insight. In our hectic world, art should be a time for insight and reflection.

The ultimate purpose of a gallery and an opening is for a patron to end up with a piece of reflection (art) for a living room wall. It’s sofa congruence for some and soul congruence for others. Some want art that soothes. Others want psychic stimulation.

At first encounter, a piece of art is at odds with our world of linear thinking. Creative writing strives for immediate clarity in order to reach the reader’s unconscious. Art isn’t in such a hurry. It can stand initial ambiguity; great art reveals the collective unconscious to the individual. It’s not logical or linear, therefore doesn’t fit comfortable thinking.

It’s little wonder that the opening crowd doesn’t fully address the mysterious insights on the wall and goes for the known, “Let’s have a have a party.”

To counter all of the above, in the spirit of a “moment of silence,” I propose an Insight Five.” Introduce it as a party game. In a playful mood, request each person to quietly consider one piece of art for five minutes. Look for what is familiar about the art as well as any new insights gained.

After five minutes, they are free to exchange reflections if inclined, or just go back to the party.

Handled well, “Insight Five” can add a new dimension to an opening. Far from being a party pooper, a brief acknowledgement of the core reason, will be a welcome moment of introspection.