These are a great way to get to know how the gallery experience works and what sort of people are buying and showing artwork.
I have done four private views so far this year and I would defiantly say it’s the best way to make contacts. The first being back in May in Toronto, at Odon Wagner contemporary where the vibrant and explosive work of Russian artist Elena Mildner was on display. The artist herself was not there, but I did get the chance to talk to Odon the owner and the curator of the show. He explained to me how much work is involved with hanging and importing the work. He was very helpful and also showed me other artist’s works that were up and coming but not yet exhibited.
More recently I have been to a private view that I was also involved in, at Central St Martins with Gustav Metzger. Remember Nature exhibition was quite exciting and interesting as it was done on a much larger scale than the previous one. Unfortunately it was too busy to get to talk to anyone of interest, except for Andrea who was part of the set up of the show, but seeing the other work on display and just being part of it was an experience in itself.
Adjacent Realities was a spur of the moment private view, I had emailed them in the morning just to check it was for anyone, as it was at the Austrian Forum. This was a very busy exhibition again with a mix of artists curated by Catherina Bond; an artist herself with interesting works of sculpture. This incorporated a variety of artistic practices that were questioning what is reality? And how is the increasing pace of life affecting the human condition? Some of the work was interesting but some was not my usual choice. It was good however to see one of our tutors there, to chat to about the work, as this was a very packed exhibition.
Sadie Coles on the other hand was not, and had a very different cliental viewing this show; I did feel rather underdressed to say the least! With Champagne flying around the place, and people talking among themselves and not actually looking at the art much. The building was amazing and this was a first opening of a second and new Sadie Coles exhibition space too. The artist Rudolf Stingel again was not present at the time we were there, although his work was spread over both sites, we only stayed at one exhibition, I found this work rather boring unlike some of his past exhibitions but the space itself really showed the work off to its best . This private view was defiantly more about getting the right people to the show than the show itself.
So far I can say the private views are the best way for a student or practicing artist to make contacts. I would also suggest going to shows that might not be your kind of work. Take a note/sketch book to, and make notes while your there,as this is another way in to talking to someone new there.
Also I have found it easier to email first and give them your name and email address for future viewings. This gives you something to mention when you introduce yourself (if you pluck up the nerve).
Then emailing again after the show to say how you enjoyed it, really keeps the contact going with the gallery or curator.