Art Always Gets A Pass

, , , | Hopeless | September 4, 2017

(It is about seven pm and I have just walked into a museum in NYC that has my favorite painting in it. I did not know this previously, and found out after spending the day with my parents at another museum. We are tired, weary, and a tad short on funds. I approach the ticket desk to see how much it will be for one student and two seniors to enter.)

Employee: “Senior tickets are $17 each and students are $12.”

Me: *sullenly turns to my parents, who are sitting down*

Mom: “You go, we will sit here.”

Me: *turns to employee* “One student, please.”

Employee: *accepts my payment and looks thoughtful* “You know, I get free passes that I don’t use. Why don’t you all go?” *hands me three tickets*

Me: *tearfully and excitedly* “Thank you so much!”

(This was about five years ago, but I’ve never forgotten the act of kindness. I was able to see that painting with my family and take a photo with it. We really enjoyed the museum, all thanks to a kind employee!)

Found It A-Moo-sing

| NSW, Australia | Friendly | March 17, 2016

(We decide to go on a family outing to an art gallery a four hour drive away because of an art exhibition that’ll only be showing for a couple more days. Unfortunately, this also means that all of us are extremely tired. My mother wants photos of all the artwork and is busy instructing me on which ones to take. The artwork all consists of fairly standard things like fields, trees… and cows.)

Mother: “Take a photo of that one, sweetheart… and all of those together! And oh… oh…”

(Suddenly, my mother points to another painting, which an old lady just so happens to be standing beside.)

Mother: “That cow, there!”

(The lady turned around, alarmed, realised what had just transpired, and shared a laugh with me. My mother, oblivious as ever, had moved on to another painting, none the wiser.)

This Shopping Trip Will Bear No Fruit

| Sedona, AZ, USA | Romantic | January 18, 2016

(We’re visiting my fiance’s grandparents for the holidays, and they decide to take us to Tlaquepaque, which is an arts and crafts gallery/shopping center. While his grandma is looking at rings in a shop we wander further to the back to look at several skulls that caught my fiance’s eye, one of which appears to be carved quartz. As he debates buying one, I happen to notice a tiny figure sitting on a table marked as clearance items. I point it out to him.)

Me: “Isn’t that pretty? I wonder why she’s on clearance?”

(He picks up the figure and carefully turns her over, revealing a small chip on her backside just below the tag that lists her price and piece’s name, which I recognize as an Eastern goddess.)

Fiancé: “There you go. She’s got a little nick on her base. Fifty bucks isn’t bad for jade or even jadeite, if you want to take her home. Though I can’t pronounce her name or tell you who or what she is.”

Me: *smiling, knowing how he’ll react* “It’s Quan Yin and, among other things, she’s a goddess of fertility and children.”

(Just as I expected, my fiancé carefully but quickly puts the goddess back on the table.)

Fiancé: *shoos me toward the exit* “She’s too tiny to be that expensive. Let’s move on.”

(I couldn’t help laughing at his sudden change of heart. For the record, at the time of this story I was six months pregnant. And, yes, he did buy me a pretty souvenir at another shop.)

A Formless Complaint

| Wales, UK | Right | November 14, 2015

(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 | Right | October 21, 2015

(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.”)

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