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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gallery Etiquette

No plans for today? Spend your Saturday browsing local art galleries. Here are some useful pointers.

Gallery Etiquette

Prices: It's OK to ask
The price list (commonly referred to as the line list or checklist) is usually sheathed in plastic and kept at the main desk. If you don't see it, then politely ask for it. If there are no prices on the line list, you can ask "What is the price range for this show?". If you like those numbers then walk the show. A red dot sticker means the piece is sold. Multiple red dots means it's a print series and more than one in the series has sold. A half-dot means that there's a "hold" on the piece, just like when you put an item of clothing on hold at a department store.

Do not ask for a discount; you are not in a bazaar.

Gallery directors think carefully about the prices they charge. If they want to offer you a discount they will.

The gallery director or "gallerina" at the front desk is not there to give you an art history lesson.
Instead, ask to see the artist's biography or curriculum vitae. The gallery may refer you to a website.

No rude noises
If you don't like what you see, keep it to yourself. Don't ever say, "I could do that," because you didn't.

Don't touch
Under any circumstances. Do you like it when strangers touch you? Not only is the work fragile, oils from your hands can damage it.

Don't dawdle!
Museums and art galleries are not religious institutions. If you are bored or don't like what you see, move on. Looking at art should be fun, not a chore.

Check out Stark's guide's tips for beginning art collectors

Amber Boardman & Peter Bahouth; I Shouldn't Be Here 2007
stereoscopic photograph, video, viewer
12 x 12 x 14 inches, edition of 5