I'm tired of bad behavior in the art world. I'm so tired of it that I'm going to start naming names...sort of. Every time I am treated poorly in an art world situation - art fair, gallery, studio - I'm going to write about it here. I won't name the culprit directly. (It isn't my style. I'm too passive-aggressive.) But, I will share some clues.
To balance out the negativity I am also going to start listing good behavior here, naming names directly.
First the bad...
I was introducing some new collectors (friends of my parents) to galleries in Chelsea a few weeks ago when we wandered into a gallery on 26th Street that starts with T and ends with M. I went up to the desk to inquire about one of the paintings in the group show. The woman sitting behind the desk looked directly at me, grunted (maybe it was a moan) and pointed at the painting on the wall. She then turned to her associate and began talking to him, ignoring me and my request for more information. I knew a little about the work, so I spent some time with the collectors sharing what I knew. As I was talking I heard someone bark, "You can't be in there!" I turned to see that one of my friends had wandered into the gallery office to admire a painting on the wall. After being told to leave the office he asked if he could look at the painting. The gallery associate pointed at the office door and said, "Only from there."
State secrets? Nuclear material? Gold bullions? I ask you, what could possibly have been cause for barring a collector from admiring a painting in an empty office?
We left. Everyone felt a little uneasy given that it was the second gallery of many that we planned to visit that day. I was so embarrassed and prayed that we wouldn't run into any more rudeness. It pained me to hear my friend say, "Sorry about that. I'm new at this. I don't know the rules."
[n.b. I use the drawing above by David Rathman only as a visual example of bad behavior. It is a detail from a drawing I own. There is absolutely no connection between this drawing and the gallery that I discuss in this post.]