Let’s be honest, art galleries are intimidating, and visiting one can occasionally leave you feeling confused/stupid. Here are a few things I do to ensure a new gallery visit is productive and enjoyable.
Ask someone to “walk you through the show”. Whether you’re a pro or know nothing, get the gallerist’s take on why the art is interesting.
Get a price list. There’s often one printed at the info desk. If not, ask a staff member. A price list can serve as barometer for where the artist is in his/her career -- lower priced artwork is likely associated with emerging artists and higher priced with established artists. You can steer your questions accordingly.
Ask about the artist’s career. If the price point is low, ask where the artist was discovered and why the gallery chose to show his/her work. If the price point is high, ask why and learn how the work has evolved.
There’s more art in the back. If you’re invited to see it, do it, and if not, ask. You can see more work by the artist exhibited, or just ask to see a sampling of the gallery’s inventory.
Pro tip: Take a pic of art you like, then take a pic of marketing material with the artist and gallery name on it. This way, you’ll have a record in your phone of what you saw AND what it is.