There is no lack of exploring to be done in Chicago. I have been here nearly two weeks and have visited over thirty galleries. One thing I am beginning to realize is that there is no secret rule to running a gallery. It is a diverse business where gallerist with a variety of styles have found success.
This week has me thinking about the different aesthetics in galleries. Some galleries, such as the Corosh Gallery in Pilsen, are overflowing with art. I pulled the door open to be greeted by a sculpture standing dead center, two and a half feet away from the entrance. The placement of this piece reminds me of a strategy mentioned by Curator Kerry James Marshall of the Smart Museum. He sets up his displays to force the viewer to look at an image by exhibiting only a single piece on a wall. Talk about powerful. Another way to force the viewer to look at a piece is achieved by a different approach to organization. This method is done by galleries that provide the viewer with a big open space. Either approach is acceptable, but I find galleries stuffed with art to be more comfortable. It may take away from the dramatic impact of seeing a piece on it’s own wall, but I enjoy the cozy atmosphere one gets when they are standing in a room piled floor to ceiling with art. Maybe I am biased from working in the tight crevices between massive stacks of books for five years.
Another aspect of creating a desired atmosphere in a gallery comes from wall color. I would say about 80% of the galleries I have visited stick to traditional white, but I am much more drawn to galleries with a little more color. The yellow walls of the Hildt Gallery in The Loop had me locked in. Perhaps this is another bias of mine, because I grew up in homes with yellow walls. Whether it be bias or fact, yellow walls definitely have a way of brightening up a room. It is a stark contrast to the Atlas Gallery with its gray carpeted walls. Dark walls definitely tighten up the space. The Hildt Gallery had a much brighter flow even though the Atlas Gallery was nearly half windows and the Hildt Gallery had no windows at all. Don’t get me wrong, reader, I am not saying either method is right or wrong, but mark my words: my future gallery will be luminous!
Patricia Singer, intern.