Saturday Nite in Bali

Another exhibition opening. Get dressed, put some name-cards in your wallet, and remember to get there a little late in order to avoid the long-winded speeches.

The room is buzzing, but not too many people are actually looking at the art.

It's too difficult to get a clear view of the paintings hanging on the walls

because there is so much action happening right against those very walls.

Collectors are chatting with dealers, or with artists whose work they already have acquired. Other artists are trying to introduce themselves to the collectors. "Please come to my studio tomorrow. I have some new paintings. Maybe you'd prefer to buy MY work," as they hand over their name card complete with map and mobile telephone number. A gallery is looking for a manager, a museum needs a curator. An artist is looking for a graphic designer for a book or exhibition catalogue. Writers, translators and journalists are setting up their next assignments: some are trying to convince a museum director that he simply MUST publish a book about his permanent collection and they are the ones who can do the project. There is certainly a strong buzz of business in the air, but at the end of the evening when the crowd has gone off for dinner - the collectors and dealers to fancy restaurants in the area, the artists to warung - only two paintings have been sold. Actually, most of the sales happen before the opening or after the show closes.

Exhibition openings are great networking opportunities. . . . . Remember to get some name cards printed soon.

The art dealers, collectors and established artists go off to dinner at a nice retauraurant

Some artists may get invited to a decent restaurant by an art collector....

while the rest of the artists and curators and writers end up at some warung or a friend's house, where at best they may get some free beer, but very little to eat!

[published in Latitudes, Vol. 20, September 2002]