Art Gallery Etiquette for First-Time Buyers and Browsers

26 Jan

art saleMore and more art sales and auctions today are taking place online instead of in-person. In fact, 71% of all art collectors have made some kind of purchase online. But no matter how popular digital art auction sites become, there will always be a place for real, brick-and-mortar contemporary art galleries. Galleries offer art enthusiasts the opportunity to see works up close before they make a purchase. They often also allow artists to meet their patrons as well as mingle with other like-minded creatives.

To an outsider, the art world can appear intimidating. But in fact, art sales can offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere to first-time buyers or those who are simply interested in learning more about contemporary art. As with any event, however, there are certain rules of etiquette you should follow while browsing a gallery, especially at an opening reception. Here’s the beginner’s guide to being a perfect patron at any art gallery.

Offer an introduction, but don’t monopolize anyone’s time.
Chances are that if you attend an art sale at a local gallery, you’ll be able to meet the featured artist as well as the gallery owner. Introducing yourself can help create a social atmosphere, but unless you have a keen and pressing interest in making a purchase right away, don’t fill up their time with small talk. Artists and owners both will have many people to talk to throughout the night.

Focus on the art on display.
Gallery receptions sometimes feel like parties, but the conversation should mostly remain professional and focused on the art at hand. Now is not the time to network for your own purposes. Likewise, don’t ask a gallery owner in the middle of an opening reception if they have anything else for sale because you don’t like what you see. That conversation should be reserved for another time.

Enjoy yourself and have fun.
Overall, keep the atmosphere light and pleasant. Enjoy a complimentary drink or snack. Many artists get nervous at receptions or galleries, so your role as interested patron should be one of support.

The art world can be a wonderful and welcoming place, even for novice collectors. Visit our gallery to learn more about how you can become a patron of the arts and support creativity.