Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sonji's Photo Tours

Looked again at Sonji Hunt's virtual tour of a wonderful Wisconsin Contemporary African American Art Exhibit on her blog. Sonji's notes about various artworks remind me of the time ...

I went to an opening at a South American embassy in Manhattan, because one of my adult drawing-students recommended that I see the paintings of her artist friend who had been moving up in the NYC art scene. She also told me to be sure to introduce myself and convey warm regards from her to this artist with apologies that she couldn't attend herself. Then I was to be sure to come back and tell her my impressions of the work. Great idea.

I went to the opening right after working all day at a corporate office, therefore wearing a royal blue silk suit and black patent leather heels, etc., with a distinguished looking older gentleman also dressed formally in a navy blue suit. We arrived at the embassy, I located the artist after a while, introduced myself and offered the message from her friend. She was gracious and intrigued. While walking around, I decided to makes notes on the show program so that I would remember specifics about each painting when later reviewing the event with my student. Turned out our attire was perfect since most of the people attending were dressed to the nines. There were two gentlemen in black suits who were 'monitoring' people in the gallery and one of them was keeping an eye on me as I walked around taking notes and whispering with my friend, studying each piece, going back for second looks and smiling at the artist whenever she caught my eye.

This 'guard' came over twice to ask how I was enjoying the show and whether I was an art critic since I was taking notes. I laughed and assured him the show was beautiful and I was only taking notes to remember what I liked about favorite pieces. He didn't seem to believe me. Toward the end of the evening, the man watching us went to the artist and whispered in her ear, she nodded and he came over to us with an invitation to attend the reception dinner which the embassy was sponsoring after the show. We declined, but he (and she!) insisted, so we went. Unforgettable evening--beautiful paintings, great restaurant, delicious food, interesting people. It was finally during the dinner conversation that they accepted that we really weren't art critics preparing to issue a secret review of the show. We all had a good laugh (they looked a bit embarassed) and went on to meet at several local art events after that. You never know....