1. Act as though are you are rich.
Art sellers will only spend serious time talking to you if they really think that you are going to be able to buy the pieces that they are selling. They need to believe that you have enough money that you could buy anything that they have on sale without giving it too much thought. Expensive clothing can help, but there is much more to it than that. You need to have an air of wealthiness about you as you walk around the gallery and it can help if you are a little bit aloof. Appearing disinterested will also make the seller work that little bit harder to try and secure the sale.
2. Don’t expect to be given a straight answer when you ask the price of something.
You will more than likely just be given a number. It is then up to you to try and decipher whether they are talking about hundreds, thousands or even millions. Some galleries will use this trick as a test to see who really knows their art so it can help if you have a done a little research into how much the artists work usually sells for beforehand. The other thing to remember is that you should try not to show any emotion when the price is announced, even if you feel like your jaw wants to hit the floor.
3. Try and keep a sense of humour.
It will stand you in good stead when dealing with sellers. You may find that everyone else is taking themselves a bit seriously and if you can find a way to poke fun at them without them realising, then this can be quite entertaining. You should never be rude or nasty to somebody’s face. The one thing to avoid is mentioning anything about postmodernism as this is something that the art world really does not find funny.
4. Take every opportunity to visit a pop-up shop or restaurant.
This will show everyone how up to date you are with the latest trends. It does not matter if you buy anything as long as you manage to get your photo taken while you are there. When you have this photo, it needs to be posted on social media immediately for the whole world to see. When you are sure that many people would have seen that you have been to this pop-up shop, then you can move onto the next one.
5. Inflatables are things to stay away from.
You may not think that this needs mentioning when we are talking about contemporary art, but unfortunately, that is not the case. There has been quite a big increase of art that has been created using inflatables, and it is quite a bizarre trend. The main thing to remember about inflatable art is that sooner or later it will start to deflate and if it somehow bursts then it is all over. They are temporary pieces of art and can easily be forgotten when they are no longer around.
6. Performance art is something to be supported.
There are encouraging signs which suggest that it is something which is becoming more popular. One of the great things about performance art is that it is something that can be viewed in the real world rather than being watched on the screen of a computer or mobile device. This is going some way to fight the trend of people always being attached to their gadgets and not paying attention to anything that is happening around them.
7. Make the claim that pop music is coming back at the expense of contemporary art.
There may be some people that agree with you. There have been instances of quite well known contemporary artists turning their back on art and trying out the music scene instead. Dinos Chapman is one such example of this, but he is well known for doing the exact opposite of what people expect him to do next. Pop music has been in decline in the past few years, and people have been more aware of artists so if this trend reverses it does give the art world something to think about.
8. Try and see contemporary art away from specific fairs and exhibitions.
There is nothing quite like seeing an artist in their natural habitat. In big cities, there will always be an area where artists tend to gather, and you may find little shops where they try to sell their art work. You can also watch them at work, and this is an excellent way to really appreciate how much work goes into creating just one piece of art. It will help you appreciate the artist far more than if you were just to see the finished product on display in a gallery.
9. Explore galleries that feature work from the Middle East and China.
If you can get to these areas to visit galleries first hand, then this is even better. Art is a great way for people from these countries to express themselves when they may otherwise have limitations on their freedom of speech. You are also likely to find that galleries of this type are less formal than you would find in the West and there is a far more relaxed atmosphere as you walk around. If you are looking for something different from the art that you would usually see, then this is the place to head.
10. Don’t beat yourself up if you decide that contemporary art is not for you.
The truth is that it is not for everyone. If you feel that you are struggling to understand it, then talking to artists about what they are doing can be a big help. At every point during history, all artists were contemporary at the time that they were producing their work. There is a lot that we can learn about history from studying art works from the time, and this will be true in the future of the works that are being created now.
This art article is a cross-post from Ian Tan Art Gallery. Click Here for more contemporary art ideas.