25 July 2013

Observations / Opportunities for Art Galleries in KL

Since being interested in the local art scene, I have visited many galleries; Till this date, I feel that the majority of visiting experiences have been alienating. No wonder that the general public are hesitant to step foot into an art gallery. Many spaces suffer from bad lighting, its administrators feigning ignorance when probed. Notwithstanding, my biggest gripe are towards galleries that are closed during its publicised opening hours. A recent example was the "Art In Search for Words" exhibition at interpr8 gallery, which I visited 4 times (Mon/Sat/Wed/Sat afternoons) and still failed to attend! This irresponsible showing is an injustice towards the exhibiting artists, whom do not mind more people being able to appreciate their artworks.

Sharon Chin - Portable Sensors: Penerbitan Haram / Banned Texts 1971 - 2012

I understand the commercial side of art, but to be asked "Are you a collector?" first thing after stepping into a gallery is demeaning, which unfortunately happens too often. Follow-on questions such as "Have you been here before?", "How did you know about us?", and "Can you please sign the guestbook?", are inconsequential when many staff cannot relate about the artist and his/her work. Gallery workers should learn about the brief history and styles of exhibited artists, to have an intelligent conversation with the visitor. Allowing one ample time and space, to appreciate works, is also a good trait. So is acknowledging and greeting visitors whom enter a gallery space. Malaysians are a notoriously bad lot at service levels, but with a medium-high income customer base, art galleries should invest more effort in their staff.

Vincent Leong - Executive Properties: 24-Hours Security (2012) 

Him: Hello, are you a collector?
Me: No, I do not call myself a collector.
Him: So, you collect art?
Me: I have some works, but I don't collect as a hobby.  I buy what I like and afford at the time.
Him: So who do you collect?
Me: I have works by HH, KN, and WPF.
Him: Oh OK. We don't have new artists here. I heard HH recently exhibited in the National Gallery?
Me: No, I don't think so. You can find some pieces at Chandan or Wei-Ling's stock room.
Him: Oh OK. Do you like figurative works? Landscape? Or abstract?
Me: I don't have an outright preference. Do you have a brochure for this exhibition?
Him: Sorry no brochure, but here's the price list.  Let me know which one you are interested in.

Nadiah Bamadhaj - Berdiri Di Atas Kaki Sendiri (2012)

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