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Don’t Be Afraid of the Art

I have some friends who need to be coaxed into visiting art galleries. Does anyone else feel that way?

zatista.com Xiuyuan Guo "Path"

zatista.com Xiuyuan Guo "Path"

In the midst of December-Multitasking-Madness I met two friends for coffee and a quick bite at Chelsea Market in Manhattan. Secretly, I wanted to stop into two galleries while in the neighborhood, but I didn’t mention this to my friends in advance because I knew they’d groan. But, once bellies were full of brownies, I innocently asked them to join me while I walked a few blocks to PaceWildenstein to see the David Hockney: Recent Works exhibit. At first my friends said they didn’t want to go, spouting their usual reasons that going into galleries to see exhibits by ‘important artists’ was intimidating and left them feeling like they should have something meaningful to say about the art afterwards. So I promised them that we didn’t have to discuss the artwork, I just wanted their company. A week later I tried this with another friend after lunch uptown. I wanted to see a Gerhard Richter exhibit at Marian Goodman Gallery so I suggested she join me.

zatista.com Mary Lee Bradley "410 Untitled"

zatista.com Mary Lee Bradley "410 Untitled"

In the weeks since then, my friends and I have all agreed we enjoyed those impromptu, no-pressure gallery pit stops.

zatista.com Edward Zelinsky "Pink Landscape"

zatista.com Edward Zelinsky "Pink Landscape"

And to my great pleasure, my friends offered that what they responded to most about the artwork those days was the color.

zatista.com Elizabeth Graeber "Bird"

zatista.com Elizabeth Graeber "Bird"

Indeed, we were all inspired by the profusion of color!

zatista.com Kristina Zallinger "Blue Danube"

zatista.com Kristina Zallinger "Blue Danube"

What a beautifully simple and completely natural standpoint from which to appreciate original artwork. It’s enough to whet your appetite when it comes to art.

zatista.com Bobbi Heath "Melons"

zatista.com Bobbi Heath "Melons"

It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

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Comments (4)

  1. Ruth
    February 10, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Totally related to your post Nancy, thanks for posting! Happy arting, in whatever form it may be… 😀

  2. Daniel Milnor
    February 15, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I think the same applies to photography galleries as well, but I think some of the fear is valid based on the traditional model of many of these spaces. I recently visited multiple galleries with someone who rarely ventures to these places, and was surprised to find that most of the conversation after our visit was about the cold, sterile, quiet and sometimes pompous state of the galleries we chose. The galleries ranged from homey structures to the ultra-modern warehouse. The homey places were filled with people, the warehouses were not. Some felt welcoming and others felt as if you were being gauged and analyzed by the staff. Being a photographer, I’m concentrating on little more than the imagery, why it was being shown, how it fit in the grand scheme of the gallery, etc, but for someone just visiting, I can see these places being a very different experience.

  3. Jacquelyn Sloane Siklos
    February 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    As an artist wrestling too much lately with what direction my painting should go, or whether what I am exploring is leading me anywhere or has meaning…
    I loved reading this post. Great visual reminder of how many different beautiful ways there are of making art. In the modern art world so much seems to be about planned meaning and getting there first, so I really enjoyed being reminded – sometimes it DOESN”T have to be any more complicated than that!

  4. Erika
    February 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I think being intimidated by other artist’s art or by our own creative ideas have a lot in common. Personally, it’s not fear of being judged anymore (thank goodness), but the fear of not being able to express all that I want, in both cases, that appears to be most intimidating.

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