there is no punch-line

Going to an art gallery is like going into a room full of strangers; you never know what to expect and you may not like anything you see.

art galleries unpredictable no narrative what to expect? janet brightUnlike a movie theatre or sports events where the actions about to take place are more-or-less predictable (i.e. in sports, someone wins and someone loses; at a movie, there is a story that follows a template of beginning, middle and end), an art gallery is a place of unknowns.

There’s no predictable narrative when you visit an art gallery, with no way of knowing how your visit will proceed. There are no set rules dictating how long you should stay, what you should do in the space (sit or stand?), how you should respond to what you see (is it necessary to whisper or can you shout?) or what the arc of your emotions might be.

There is no punch line or winner at the end of a trip to an art gallery. The results of the experience are open ended and anyone who visits is forced to make decisions for themselves based not on the narratives of predictable societal frameworks (-the sports and movies we talked about earlier -) but on their own thoughts and considerations about what it all means.

And this is all often, too much. Too much uncertainty, too much thought.

If it is human nature to seek predictability and avoid the uncertain, where does the open-ended encounter of an art gallery experience lead us? Where does this take the cultural endeavour of art ?

Will art galleries become a relic of the past?



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