One of the main problems regarding the misunderstanding of contemporary art is the fact that the public doesn’t visit art galeries because these galeries seem, first of all, too elitist, and second of all, unaccessible. The white walls and the huge open windows exhibiting through their glass a few works of art, are actually dissuading the spectator, who feels intimidated by this solemn display.
Also unlike museums, art galleries don’t advertise, don’t talk openly to people about their activities, most of them only send invitations to a small circle of guests for exhibition openings and temporary events. This image of some highly educated people observing an eccentric work of art, while sipping a glass of champagne and tasting some exquisite macarons, is the image of the art gallery. This image that builds all the reputation of the "white box" prevents people, from outside the circle, to get in touch with contemporary art. A whole myth is developed around the purpose of the art gallery.
Jean Dubuffet criticized this « cultural art » and the customs that come with it in a catalogue entitled L’art brut préféré aux arts culturels , 1949 ( « The outsider art preferred to cultural arts ») where he states :
Art is a character passionately fond of incognito. As soon as it is detected, that someone points at it, he runs away leaving in his place a laureled bit-player who carries on his back a large sign where it is marked Art. Everyone immediately sprinkles champagne on him and speakers accompany him from town to town with a ring in the nose.
For a lot of critics and artists, contemporary art is a scam and its acroatic appearance is just a cover for absolute nothingness. Nevertheless as art is not an exact science it’s up to the spectator to make his/her own opinion and to decide about what is art and what is not art, because in the end art is in the eye of the beholder.
Therefore my suggestion is to bypass the fear of the white box and to talk with the artists directly, or to the mediators who are there to inform the public about the displayed works of art.
Facebook is an important tool to find art events, exhibition openings in particular, but also choosing to receive the newsletters from art galleries is a way of getting invitations to all kind of events. It’s possible for everyone to get backstage (I mean in the gallery itself) because the access is free and no one asks questions, no one bothers, it’s just you and your glass of champagne, joining the stereotypes.
This article was inspired by the reluctance that people feel when it comes to contemporary art. Rejection, exclusion, skepticism among a lot of other negative attitudes go with contemporary art. So I just take a moment to encourage everyone to open up to present art, to try to understand it... and in order to get there it’s imperative to get closer to it. So art galleries and contemporary art fairs are the recipe to acknowledge our current art and to support, by this understanding, the artists of our time, because, I can insure you that art wise, we are leaving in wonderful times.