ONE DUDE GALLERY: Why you're a diva and other adventures in group exhibitions


Group dynamics: 10 x 10 x 10 x Tieton, 2010, Mighty Tieton
Note: this is not the exhibition described below

The following is a conversation between another gallery manager and myself.  I've erased some details to protect anonymity.

She: What do you do when 1 of 44 artists in a show thinks their painting is in an inappropriate spot and wants it moved?

Me: Yeah... you're lucky if it's only 1 in 44.  In my experience about 10% are unhappy.  If it's truly an awful place (like 2 inches from a thermostat) then maybe I'd consider a move *.  Ask yourself: if my work was in a group show with 44 other artists should they rightfully move it for me?  Usually no.  Explain to her that "while we understand the request, we had to make the best decisions we could for the whole exhibition with the space and works we had to work with".  Hope that helps.  I'll come check it out tomorrow if you like!

She: Thanks for your response to my text! I was so frustrated because I had already moved this piece once for the artist. She has a great spot but dislikes that there is only about ten feet to step back from it. I explained to her that I tried other options (and I did) but I couldn't move the piece and be happy with how it worked as a whole without changing the whole gallery. The language she used in her email request was also irritating as it suggested I didn't really think about the placement of her piece when in reality (and you know this) I spent hours making sure things were in the best place they could be!!!

Me: It's such a reoccuring thing in group shows ... sigh.  I know it sounds assuming but she's absolutely so absorbed in the needs of HER work that she doesn't consider the needs of OTHER people's work.

She: I know. She responded to me last night saying it "hardly seemed worth it" for her to be in the show. I told her this exhibition had 44 artist in it and was about celebrating the artists  and the collaborative community we are so lucky to have. If she doesn't want to be a part of that, she can deinstall her work and I'll replace it.  Hah!  It's just not a show about one artist! It is very much about the community. Ironic: her painting wasn't originally juried in but I advocated on her behalf to the juror!!

RAGGHHHHH. Thanks for listening. I do have one guy who wants something moved for the legit reason that it might get bumped (sculpture) and I am happy to accommodate. 


MORAL TO ARTIST: Make yourself an asset to the exhibition rather than an ass.  If your work is awesome but you're impossible to please, good luck in this town.  

* Note: I once installed an artist's 4 x 6 inch painting on an electrical outlet.  It was in a show of 150 other artists and I thought it was a pretty cool spot, other people liked it too, but the artist definitely did not like it and let me know in no uncertain terms.  In the end I did move it for her.