In the second of her posts, Ruby introduces us to the concept of ‘private views’- a long-standing tradition in the art world.
When I did my first internship I was told at a private view, “feel free to ask the artists about their work, every artist enjoys talking about their practice.” And it was true; by taking an interest, I learnt about the work through conversation, which sometimes can be more accessible (and memorable) than the text on offer.
Private views (normally) aren’t actually private at all, in fact they are bustling public gatherings which usually take place on the night before the first day of an exhibition. Visiting an exhibition can be something we do on our own, taking time to be somewhat alone with the art, to process it through our frame of references. However, viewing the show amongst other artists and having discussions can bring about multiple unique references from the people you talk to and open up your experience of the art even further.
Going to private views can offer an insight into the inner workings of the gallery space. Standing around chatting and getting into conversations at private views is an age-old tradition of the art space and a breeding ground for artist-to-artist and artist-to-gallery relationships (i.e. networking). Alternatively, you can attend as a silent and mysterious spectator, still in my book a valuable experience.
To get you started, here are a few suggestions for galleries who offer great private views and an online resource that will help you to search further afield.
Art Rabbit have just launched ‘The Art Freshers’ Guide’, an accessible resource for those just starting out as an art student. The book will be developed to include more invaluable voices over the coming year. You can read the book online or download for free.