I thought Gagosian in Chelsea New York City was intimidating with it’s 50 feet high frosted heavy doors set in a massive stone structure that feels more like an uptown museum than a gallery. I love watching people as they pull the door with all their weight and with even more hesitation. Most are not quite sure if they are ‘allowed’ to go in. But galleries in the west of London seem to be even more intimidating
Imagine you are in Mayfair, one of the poshest areas in London, and everyone around you is in expensive gear. There are a plethora of Bentley’s with drivers sitting in them waiting for their boss to arrive from shopping on Seville Row. However you are the typical tourist awkwardly pulling out the gallery map after every turn struggling to find the next gallery. Trying not to look to out of place, you weave in and out of tiny streets with confidence once you have memorized the street signs, however, it does not help you are probably severely underdressed and really look like you belong back on the Regents St. where the main strip of cheap retail shops and cheesy tourist traps are located. You think goodness I just wanted to go gallery hopping why is it so much work.
You finally find the gallery you were looking for. You walk through a small dark corridor to a wooden door with gold lettering and you realize you must buzz up to the gallery in order to be let in. And you think to yourself that they may not let you in because you don’t look like the desirable millionaire with a thirst for art. Good news is that most times they will let you in, and sometimes they will ask what do you want, but to their credit in those cases they might be preparing for the next exhibition.
Oh, but the intimidation does not stop there. You go to the next gallery and the doors are flung wide open but on each pedestal displaying small bronze sculptures there is this really annoying label that reads, ‘ALARMED-PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’ in bright red. I know you really want to touch it just to see if there really is an alarm. You wonder what will happen after the alarm goes off, will ten security men suddenly scurry out of the back gallery offices and throw you out, or will the police be called and put you in jail for a night. Can you imagine you are sitting in a dingy cell with maybe a drug dealer and a robber and they ask what are you in for and you reply, “I’m here for touching a bronze sculpture”. The kicker is you barely remember the artist’s name. It is my guess that the gallery assistant will shun and shame you to death and hope the embarrassment will make you leave.
Well in a nutshell that was essence of my experience of gallery hopping in west London (without the setting off of the alarm). I think I might stick to the east on a more consistent basis and go to the west for special exhibits and to visit this wonderful gallery/restaurant/aesthetic wonderland called Sketch. It’s beautiful. I really don’t care what the exhibit is I will be there once a week.