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Art Gallery Addict

I was an art gallery addict. I realized that I was an addict when I went to a market research group discussion about going to public art galleries.

It was the usual market research set up, an office meeting room with a group of 9 people, 6 women and 3 men, chips, orange juice and stale sandwiches and a researcher leading the discussion. All the subjects considered themselves to be regular visitor to public art galleries. There was another group for people who did not consider themselves to be regular visitors to public art galleries. The research was being conducted for the regional art galleries of Victoria.

We were asked how often we went to an art gallery. Most of these people said that visited one gallery every week or fortnight. I had to admit that I go to 3 – 4 galleries a week, sometimes more.

It must have been an odd group discussion because everyone was taking notes on things to do, names of galleries to visit and events to look forward to. I was in a room full of art gallery addicts trying to find their next gallery to hit.

Fortunately being an art gallery addicts is cheap compared to many addictions. Most galleries and exhibition are free. Even better free wine and snacks at the opening, sometimes there is better quality finger food, sushi, smoked salmon, once I even had steamed crab. I used to go to a lot of the exhibition openings but these days they seem to fill the time with schmoozing rather than seeing more exhibitions.

Looking around at the crowd at an exhibition opening you have to wonder if they are collectors (unlikely), fellow artists (more likely), friends of the artist, just there for the free wine and cheese or are they art gallery addicts like me? I still see other art gallery addicts at these openings. Like Paul with his unruly hair and his single colour outfits, all blue one day and all orange the next, he is at every second exhibition opening that I go to.

I learnt something about myself from the other addicts at the market research session. Art gallery addicts are cheap and selfish. They are not snobs – they just want to keep this free pleasure and enjoyment just for themselves. They like the space and quiet of the galleries. They enjoy the chance to be alone with their thoughts and the simple pleasure of seeing something new.

Maybe I should set up an organization, AGAA (Art Gallery Addicts Anonymous) have a twelve-step program to ween myself off art galleries but I don’t think that I’ll kick the habit.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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