How to fake it at an art opening: What to do when you don’t understand what you see


How to fake it at an art opening: What to do when you don’t understand what you see

Of course, you know what you’re talking about

Is this how you feel at an art show? You’re not alone, and you’re going to be fine. (Sarah Smellie/CBC)

You’re at an art show. You look around and … you don’t understand anything you’re seeing.

Maybe you see a person sitting on a giant cake, whispering to a head of lettuce? Maybe that person is your co-worker? And maybe turning around and leaving isn’t really an option for you at this point.

Don’t worry, you can do this. Here’s how to fake it at an art show when you have no clue about art.

Talk to the artist immediately when you get there

As soon as you walk in the door, you approach the artist and politely say, “Oh, I haven’t had the opportunity to look around yet, but I’m looking forward to it!”

You are now hereby absolved of actually having to talk about the art to its fragile creator.

Say ‘cheese!’

Any art opening worth attending will have at least a small selection of nibbles. If you’re lucky, you might just score a free glass of wine.

Inevitably, you will get sucked into a conversation, and when that old acquaintance asks what you’ve been up to for the past five years, never forget your safe space! The cheese plate will always be there for you.

“Sorry, Linda, I skipped lunch. I’m going to go grab some dry brie and a Breton cracker.”

Stare at the wall

At what other social event can you simply stand with your back to everyone instead of trying to make small talk, and have it be seen as cultured and thoughtful?

Pro tip: this only works if you have your body aimed at one of the artworks.

Unless you’re willing to argue the greater significance of a blank wall, which might, in fact, make you an Art Star.

Use as many buzzwords as possible

Art is never good or bad, and everything is based on opinion. Instead of saying, “I like this,” try using words to say nothing at all.

“I am noticing the anachronistic use of chiaroscuro highlighting the golden ratio. It’s really giving the work a synergistic balance and tapping into the general zeitgeist of the era.”

It’s 10 times as long and ultimately contributes nothing! You’ll sound very smart to anyone not understanding what those words mean, and by the time anyone processes it, you’ll be long gone with a pocket full of cheese cubes.

Digest the art, not just cheese

Anxiety can skyrocket during social gatherings, but there is one thing that actually helps you survive an art opening: looking at the art.

Listen to what other people are saying, engage and let your honest reactions come out. You might find that you understand it more than you think.

Art shouldn’t be a scary, unapproachable thing. There’s a reason why most openings are Friday nights and not Monday mornings.

Art can make you smile just like this, says Jason Wells. (Sarah Smellie/CBC)

You don’t need to talk about art or understand it. You don’t even need to like it. Your reaction is just as valid as anyone’s and there is no wrong way to engage with art.

The best thing about an art show should be the art and the connections you make with people by talking about it. The cheese is just a perk.

Oh, and the reason everyone’s hand is on their chin isn’t to look pensive. It’s to hide their red wine lips.

Banksy hoax caveman art to go back on display at British Museum


Banksy hoax caveman art to go back on display at British Museum

May 16, 2018

BRITISH MUSEUM – Peckham Rock came with a highly authentic-looking information label


A fake cave painting by Banksy is going back on display in the British Museum, 13 years after it was first placed there as a hoax.

Peckham Rock, essentially a lump of concrete showing a supposed prehistoric figure pushing a shopping trolley, was smuggled into the venue in 2005.

It stayed for three days before staff realized it didn’t belong there.

Banksy has now loaned the work back to the museum for an exhibition curated by Ian Hislop.

The Private Eye editor and Have I Got News for You panelist has chosen more than 100 objects for a show opening in September titled I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent.

When Peckham Rock was first placed in the museum in 2005, it was accompanied by an authentic-looking information label.

“The work is not very big and we think he [Banksy] just came into the museum like any other visitor and installed it himself – but we just can’t be sure,” a spokesman said.

“The information label was also just like the ones we use at the museum to prevent suspicion.”

The work was only discovered after a museum staff member saw on Banksy’s website that he was challenging people to find the hoax work.

BRITISH MUSEUM – Ian Hislop admires a mock portrait of himself that’s in the show

Since being returned to Banksy, the rock has featured in his exhibitions in London and Bristol and is on loan directly from the artist for Hislop’s exhibition.

Hislop’s exhibition aims to illustrate stories of satire, subversion, and dissent.

“At first sight, the British Museum seems to be a reinforcement, if not a celebration, of authority,” he said.

“But… there are extraordinary objects that bear witness to someone questioning the authorized version of their times and deciding to make a small though often lasting protest.”

Items on show will include an Edwardian coin defaced with the slogan Votes for Women, 18th Century prints mocking George IV as a drunk, and a salt cellar with hidden Catholic imagery made during the English Reformation.