(Nate Moore, Skyward)
(photo courtesy of www.bing.com)
Just over a year ago, we posted a discussion about the intimidation factor associated with approaching a fine art gallery, which can be read here. White walls, high desk-tops, and imposing facades, among other things lend themselves to a bit of a daunting environment. Often passers-by stare into the gallery with blank faces, not quite sure what to make of the origami jets flying off into the distance, as is the case with our current exhibition seen above, or hesitate to come in because they have never purchased art before.
We recently stumbled upon a fantastic article in this month's Art in America entitled, Will the Mystery Guest Please Sign In? Peter Plagens laughs about the infamous "gallery guest book," and muses about its usefulness, or lack thereof, in modern times. He notes that the guest book is "a polite bourgeois artifact seemingly more at home in a potpourried New England B&B than in an intimidatingly stark contemporary art gallery." He humorously recounts a recent trip through the galleries of Chelsea, pointing out that he does sign in, just not always when someone is looking. Granted, he is an art journalist, and knows the danger of leaving his name upon entering, should the "dealer" spot him before he has a chance of enjoying his time perusing the gallery. But we often wonder, do walk-in customers or browsers feel off-put upon spotting the open guest book as they enter...
Does signing the guest book make you uncomfortable? Do you feel pressure to sign in? Does the guest book stare up at you as you walk in, making the experience only more intimidating or off-putting? We hope not. Used more as a device for tracking, and for following up with guests about upcoming shows, the guest book should be viewed as a friendly way of saying, "hello, I was here." Yes, on occasion we receive funny notes, drawings and illegible email addresses, but at the very least, we are able to fondly look over that particular day and its visitors. While we rarely get a visit from a celebrity, which might deem the book more of a collector's item, we still want to know who took time out of their day to come see us!