Friday, April 23, 2010

Private Views

I know I’ve often said how much I dislike Private Views and how I’m not going to any more. Ever.

Well, I’ve been to two in the last few weeks.

The one I went to last night was typical. It was at BayArt in Cardiff and was an exhibition by four contemporary British painters. To be honest, I liked one or two pieces, and loved one. But it was the whole ethos of the thing that aggravated me. No ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’; no idea whether the artists were there; no explanatory notes; no prices; £1 for a glass of wine. The whole thing was trying to be too cool for school. There was, to my mind, a strong disengagement with the viewers … whether intentional or not. And that’s not what art is about.

On the other hand, a few weeks ago, I went to Oriel Ty Coch (Red House Gallery) in Pontcanna, Cardiff. This is a new space and a very attractive one too. There’s a smallish space downstairs with a large gallery upstairs. There’s stripped pine and exposed brickwork which gives it a certain charm. At the Private View, the Owner stayed near the door all evening to greet visitors and say goodbye when they left. At one point in the evening there was live music which gave it a nice buzz. Out in the courtyard a BBQ was cooking and the food was free. The wine was free too. The artists were there and keen to chat; there were explanatory notes and biographies round about. Itwas a very engaging and pleasant evening. And that’s not too much to expect.

Now, bear in mind, that an important element of marketing is “word of mouth”, so these events are opportunities to turn visitors into fans.

This is my “word of mouth” to you:

Oriel Ty Coch ( … get along there and have a look. Say hello to Rachel, the Owner.

Bay Art ( … meh.

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