Well thank God. I thought I’d never have a chance to use all these photos of legs and sweaters collected over the past year at Arts Center receptions.
People show up at these things looking great. Looking like themselves. Like they could care less whether or not you like their Nordic sweater or down vest or leather jacket or whatever, because they came for a sharp inhale of inspiration and not to see anybody’s outfit. Everybody came to stand around for a while in fluid conversation with friends and friendly strangers, holding a cocktail napkin full of crackers in one hand and wine in the other. Or tea. Whatever. That is IT. They came to stand around and soak up something different from regular busy life. It might be different at different galleries, in fact I know it is, I know some galleries in other places tend a little more showoffy in terms of who wears what and who cares, and that is fine, but here, I would say it’s about being warm enough and keeping your eyes and brain open. I very much love receptions.
Couple things to know if you haven’t been to one, and I know for a fact there are two people showing up tonight who are new to the scene, so this is especially for them:
1) You just walk in. Nobody checks you in or anything like that. You walk in, and maybe somebody wearing a name tag might say “welcome,” but that’s it. You are now officially a person at the reception.
2) You can do this any time during the reception hours. Tonight’s is 5-7 p.m. That means you can walk in at 5:01 and you’re good. You can walk in at 6:05 when the artist is midway through her brief remarks, and that is also fine. If that’s the case, you might feel compelled to tiptoe and stage-whisper “sorry!” but it’s not necessary. Just come in. You can also walk in at 6:59 and ask if there’s still time to buy a piece and we will say YES and probably also throw in the remaining cheese and crackers as a bonus. You can come at any time, and leave at any time.
3) Once you’re in, walk up to one of the pieces on the wall. Just walk up to one, you can start wherever, and then stroll around piece to piece and just look. This is the main activity of a reception, each person at their own pace and in their own order, so just jump in and do this. You already know how. Looking at things and thinking about whether you like them, or not, is something you truly already know how to do.
4) The food is generally downstairs. It’s free. The cash bar is a cash bar. If we’re feeling fancy there will be hot water for tea in the classroom.
5) If you’re looking for me, like, to purchase something or to say “may I talk with the director about exhibiting my own work,” I’ll be the one in pearls. Maybe other people will be wearing them too. I don’t control that. As noted, there’s no dress code. I’m just letting you know that I’ll be wearing them.
Tonight 5-7 p.m. is the closing reception for Amanda Wirig’s AS THE RECORD TURNS, an exhibition we at the Arts Center have loved. Never before seen so many people walk around the galleries and snicker. You are very welcome to join us. Here’s the Facebook event. As noted, come whenever.
Tomorrow: A little happy birthday to a famous and profane writerfriend who has no use for pearls UNTIL RIGHT NOW.