November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

A Formless Complaint

| Wales, UK | Bizarre, Crazy Requests

(I work with the arts centre in my town. I’ve worked about seven shifts at this point, so getting to grips with things, but still a bit hesitant at times. One day in my last half an hour a tall, artfully-disheveled-looking 60-ish man enters. He charges up to the desk (and into my personal space).)

Man: *unintelligible due to the gallery’s echo*

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t catch that, the echo and all! Can I help?”

Man: *very condescending* “HOW… MANY… PIECES DO…” *points at me* “YOU- HAVE- IN-HERE?

Me: “Erm… I’m not exactly sure myself but I can—”

Man: “Ah, no, you’re only the help. I understand.” *under his breath* “Women.” *laughs through teeth as he charges off around the exhibition*

(15 minutes later after he’s been around the gallery.)

Me: “I hope you enjoyed the exhibition!”

Man: *smug* “Well, I counted them.”

Me: *smiling through gritted teeth* “Oh? I’m sorry that I couldn’t tell you the exact—”

Man: “There’s… a lot!”

Me: “Um…okay brilliant.”

Man: “There aren’t enough people I know in these pictures. I didn’t like it. Where did this even come from?”

Me: “It’s from the Tate.”

Man: “Oh… well, still. Maybe… arrange something more interesting next time.”

Me: “I’m not actually in control of what is shown in the exhibits, but if you could fill out a visitor survey for me, I could definitely pass your suggestions up to the curator.”

(The man just stops and stares at me for an uncomfortable five seconds.)

Man: “I don’t believe in tainting art with forms.”

Me: “…”

Man: “Just… project this onto the creative directors. Okay?”

Me: *giving up* “Okay, sure. I’ll let them know.”

Man: *emphasizing* “Project.”

(He walked outs of the gallery whilst sighing under his breath.)

The Art Of Parenting

| Brisbane, QLD, Australia | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids

(I work as a security guard for an art gallery that features paintings by local artists. Today, we are auctioning off some of the older paintings to make way for some newer ones. The paintings that will be auctioned are displayed in one particular room, and I am the guard for this room. When this happens, there are a few customers already here. A well-dressed lady with her young son in tow enter. She leaves her child unattended while looking at the paintings.)

Me: “Ma’am, may I request that you keep an eye on your son? We wouldn’t want him to get in any trouble, would we?

Lady: “Yes, yes, I know.” *returns to paintings, disregarding child*

(I think nothing of it, as the child is only a few meters away from the mother. But, a few minutes later, as I am distracted with another customer asking about the auction, another customer starts shouting.)

Me: “Sir, can you…”

Male Customer: “Mister! That child is drawing on one of the paintings!”

(I immediately turn around in horror, to see the little boy scribbling on one of our prized pieces with a white-out pen.)

Me: “Ma’am! Please get your son under control! He is defacing the painting!”

Lady: “Whatever. Leave me alone. Can’t you see I’m trying to appreciate the art?”

(I walk over to the young boy, who can’t be older than five, and gently take his hand. Speaking soothing words, I lead him over to his mother.)

Me: “Ma’am, I would like you to keep your child under control.” *I let go of his hand and he clings onto his mother*

Lady: *gasp* “How DARE you touch my son! He didn’t do anything wrong! I’m going to call for security!”

Me: “Ma’am, I AM security. Your son was scribbling on this painting, and I stopped him.”

Lady: “Well, I never! I am never coming back here! The paintings are s***ty, the security is terrible, and I bet your artists are poor homeless f***s who splat paint on canvas for a penny an hour!”

Me: “…. Ma’am, the painting your son just defaced—”

Lady: *snorts* “Defaced?! These paintings are so bad, he probably made it better!”

Male Customer: “Miss! I have been quiet up until now, but you are being a right b**** to this guard!” *to me* “Show her the painting!”

(I lead her other to the painting. It happens to be a beautiful oil painting of the city, now with a white scribble across it.)

Me: “If you would just look at the plaque, this is a oil painting by [Respected Local Artist] that would have been auctioned at around $7500. Now, you will have to pay for it, since your son defaced it.”

Lady: *obviously recognising the name, turning deathly pale and sputtering in horror* “You should have told me to keep an eye on my child! This is NOT my fault! You hear me?! NOT MY FAULT!!”

(She gave us an answer soon enough. She grabbed her son’s arm and dashed away to the exit. Luckily, the guards outside caught her. She ended up paying $7500 for the painting, and was banned from the gallery. The kicker? She filed a complaint on our website for “not warning her of the danger of children in a gallery.”)

Not What They Pictured

| FL, USA | Extra Stupid, Funny Names

(I’ve been showing my paintings at outdoor art shows for five years. I sell originals and prints, called giclee prints. Increasingly, as people look at my work and ask if I’m the artist, they seem genuinely surprised. Why, I have no idea. A couple of my neighbors and I were just talking about this when two women started flipping madly through my print rack, clearly marked “Giclee Prints (geeclay)” with the sizes and prices.)

Customer: “Is this you?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Customer: “REALLY?”

Me: “Maybe you ladies can help me with this. We were just talking about how surprised people are that I am the one who painted these. Why is that?”

Customer: “Well, you have to admit, Giclee DOES sound like a boy’s name.”

Me: “Actually, giclee is the name of the process to produce the prints. It’s a French word. I am not giclee.”

Customer: “Well, maybe I want to talk to this Giclee guy. Where is he?”

Not The Best Way To Spread Your Art

| Washington, D.C., USA | Crazy Requests, Rude & Risque

(It’s my second day as an intern at an art gallery. We have guidelines for artists who wish to submit artwork. I’m by myself in the gallery when an artist wearing cut-offs and flip-flops walks in. She’s carrying a huge canvas that is as big as she is, but I can’t see what’s painted on it as the front is facing away from me.)

Me: “Hello, can I help you?”

Artist: “Yeah, I was wondering if you could hang this up?”

Me: “Well, we don’t accept walk-in submissions like this, and even if we did, the gallery owner isn’t in right now. If you go to our website, you can follow the submission guidelines.”

Artist: “But I have the art right here! Can’t you hang it up?”

(At this point she finally turns the canvas around: it’s a life-size, poorly-painted, VERY nude self-portrait of the artist sitting down with her hands on her knees and her hair sticking up in all directions. Worst of all, she has painted herself with her knees splayed and her lady parts in high definition.)

Me: “Oh…”

Artist: “I’ll just leave this here, then!”

Me: *panicking* “No, wait! You really have to fill out an artist’s submission and we’ll get back to you. I can’t just hang up art without the owner present. Also, we specialize in abstract expressionist art, not…erm…figurative art.”

Artist: *looking at her painting* “But this is pretty funky!”

Me: “Yes it is, but I’m sorry, I really can’t accept it. Thank you for coming in.”

(The artist eventually left. Unfortunately, that meant she was carrying her enormous nude self-portrait in full display down the busiest street in town. I have to admire her pluck!)

Suffering For Art

| Laguna Beach, CA, USA | Liars & Scammers, Uncategorized

(There are giant "No Photography" signs posted on all doors and all over the gallery. A gallery patron pulls out her camera and starts photographing artwork.)

Me: “Excuse me, ma’am, but we do not allow photography in the gallery.”

Patron: “Oh, sorry. Why can’t I take pictures?”

Me: “These are copyrighted images and if we let everyone take pictures, they would have no reason to purchase the art.”

(The patron shrugs, pulls out her cell phone, and walks around the gallery. She holds it up in the air while taking pictures of the wall art.)

Me: “Excuse me, but like I said before, we do not allow photography in the gallery.”

Patron: “I wasn’t taking pictures, I was talking on the phone!”

Me: “Ma’am, you were holding it over your head, and you weren’t even talking.”

Patron: “Well, it’s none of your business how I talk on my phone. Besides, I don’t think any of them were in focus.”