You get that creepy feeling every time you approach the gates.

No one is completely innocent, but you certainly don’t mean any harm.  After all, this is your hard-earned day off and you just want to enjoy the show just like anyone else.

And then it happens.  Attitude.

“MAY I SEE YOUR TICKET PLEASE?” or “You’re SUPPOSED to be OVER THERE!” or “No, we don’t know anything about THAT!” snaps the gatekeeper.

“Calm down,” you think to yourself.  “You’re only imagining that you’re being treated like crap by the very people who need your money so that they can keep their jobs.”

It’s really embarrassing, if not for you, then for the gatekeepers.  What makes people feel that they can behave this way toward actual paying customers and “treasured” clients?

In this tough economic climate, where businesses need to practically grovel for every single dollar they get, this type of behavior is the essence of stupidity. 

I LOVE the art world and my art world friends, but this is where my tough love is directed.  I often wonder why some (not all) art people don’t make the connection between their disposition and lack of sales or client base.

Contemporary art is really a lot like sales.  You must CREATE and groom loyal clients over a period of time.  This is exhausting because it takes time – sometimes YEARS.  Yes, years before people will buy into your program.

People aren’t going to spend their money, let alone time with something or someone they feel disrespects them.  Why does this happen?  Because the gatekeepers see themselves as entitled and privileged.  In short, they’re snobs. Of course, they would never admit to this.

Dictionary.com defines “Gatekeeper” as “a person in charge of a gate, usually to identify, count, supervise, etc., the traffic or flow through it.”

The part of this definition that’s most meaningful to me is “…flow through it.”

How often have you approached a gate and have seen little if no “flow” at all?  This is a problem.  It’s not usually the result of the gatekeeper being concerned about terrorism, but rather their own inhospitable disposition. They get drunk from a single drop of authority. You see this in art galleries, museums and even in social media.  It’s funny yet profoundly sad at the same time.

How can the VERY people who believe THEY are the gatekeepers and arbiters of all that is ART, not EVER make the connection between their own irresponsibility and the suffering of their institutions?  Art is for ALL people and EVERY single person who loves art is a gatekeeper … a keeper of the flame and preserver of the Holy Grail. 

When the gatekeepers TRULY deflate the mystery and silly exclusivity of their little cliques and clubs that they allege are designed to preserve and protect the flame of art, the floodgates of support will be overwhelming and they will struggle no more. 

Pie in the sky?  I think not.  I’m writing this one day after the Augusta National Golf Club announced that it had FINALLY admitted female members.  Two isn’t much, but it’s a start.  Of course, this was not an act of sheer benevolence.  These block-headed dudes finally realized that WOMEN are driving the future of golf.  Ultimately, it’s about profits and sustainability.  In short, money as usual. 

When constipation clears, things really begin to flow.  Cash registers ring and the party begins.   

Wake up art world.  I hate to say this, but you’ve been just as stuffy as Augusta.  Isn’t it time for a new model?

I hear CVS is having a sale on Ex-Lax.