Sunday, August 10, 2008

Working The Work

There are two weeks left until PORNO comes off the walls at MARS Gallery.
It's always a challenge to maintain the momentum of a show. Artists and their galleries put a lot of effort into an opening but after that, a kind of ennui sets in. Works unsold in the first couple of days are left to take their chances with the passing trade as the gallery staff begins looking ahead to the next show. By the second week, all your newspaper profiles and reviews have been used to wrap fish and your carefully designed café posters have been replaced with someone else's. Even the works themselves look a little doleful on the gallery's seamless white walls
Artists have to agitate against this cycle of launch-and-abandon. Efforts to connect with possible buyers – especially among those of the gallery's own clientele who have yet to view the show – have to be relentless. It's hard work. It also takes imagination. But why have a show unless you're willing to 'work it' like a restless streetwalker for its duration?
I'm planning to return to Melbourne at the beginning of next week. I want to spend some one-on-one time with undecided collectors as well as host a couple of lunches for small groups of the gallery's clients. I also need to do some more press: as is clear in Ashley Crawford's few lines about the show and in some recent comments on this blog, the ideas within PORNO are not well understood – for example, the last thing I wanted was "to explore... a new porno 'aesthetic' ". That said, some ideas were still being formed and tested as I hung the show.
Anyway, if anyone wants to argue more about them, come meet me at MARS.

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