The 10 Biggest Party Fouls at Art-Exhibit Openings

Whether you’re a newbie at going to exhibit openings at a museum or gallery or a totally seasoned art-goer, you probably need some reminders on how not to behave.

You're very welcome.

NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE FREE NIBBLES AND OPEN BAR
Apparently, it’s a faux pas to camp out at the food/drink table and stuff your face during an opening reception.

Who are you kidding? Isn’t that the only reason you’re “interested in art” to begin with?

But seriously, act like you haven’t eaten in a week. Because you probably haven’t if you're friends with artists.

SPILLING BOOZE EVERYWHERE
If you’re going to indulge (and you should) with the complimentary beer and wine, don’t go overboard and slam a gaggle of alcohol and then stumble around like a drunk a-hole, sloshing booze out of a cheap clear plastic cup and onto the floor, your shoes and probably somebody’s dress.

SAYING THAT YOU DON'T KNOW A CERTAIN ARTIST, PIECE AND/OR ART MOVEMENT
These things are all about appearing “cultured.” So never, ever, ever default to the truth and say something like “Actually, I’m unfamiliar with _____” [insert a Bauhaus nobody or pre-World War II Japanese performance artist or sound-art charlatan from the Deep South]. Often, opening receptions are an exercise in lying in order to seem “art smart” — so just nod your head and pretend that, yes, you’ve heard of the overrated avant-garde artist in question and, yes, God yes, you also think he’s the greatest thing ever.

TALKING SMACK, ESPECIALLY IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE ARTIST
Wait until you’re miles away from the gallery before expressing your opinion, which, we’re sure, is totally accurate and informed and worthy of a review in Art In America. Yeah, we’re positive that the magazine probably tried to call you back about those stellar clips you submitted of your Facebook rants, but you recently had to change your cell-phone number so you have no way of knowing if they did call. What a bummer that you were so close to being a reputable art critic. Yeah, we would also be emo if we were you. It’s so hard to be you.

IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR "BRAND"
This is the not the place to namedrop or drop off flyers and business cards or corner the artist so that he can put in a good word to the curator in order to score a studio visit at your place, a.k.a. a plywood table under the stairs with half-realized watercolor paintings covered in cat hair.

PRETEND THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BUY A PIECE AND THEN FLAKE
It’s awesome to get so pumped on art that you actually might want to buy it and hang it up at home. But there’s a special place — the hot glue gun aisle of Michael's, where you can make your own “art” for the bare wall above the bed — for people who don’t follow through and support real artists with money.

“I KNEW THE ARTIST WHEN SHE WAS JUST STARTING, AND HER EARLY WORKS WERE SOOOO MUCH BETTER"
It’s okay to think this, but you really suck at life if you say this out loud and especially within earshot of other people in the room.

STAND IN FRONT OF AN ARTWORK FOR TEN, 25, 45, 85, ETC. MINUTES AND YAP AWAY
A few minutes is fine, but then get out of the damn way so others can take a gander.

TOUCHING ART
It’s amazing that this still happens. And via the grubby, no-art-talent hands of “adults” and not just children.

RELYING ENTIRELY ON AN EXHIBIT OPENING AND NOT RETURNING TO THE SHOW FOR A SECOND, THIRD OR EVEN FOURTH LOOK
Admit it: Art openings are usually a drag that’s more about the “scene” and the “party” and not the “art.”

Pro tip: Breeze through the show during the opening reception and then schedule a showing with the owner, curator or gallery-sitter during “by appointment” hours. You’ll most likely have the joint to yourself.

And then you might be a bona fide art lover.

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