Books & Art

A Beginner’s Guide to Art Fair Etiquette

Rule number one: keep your hands to yourself.
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Art Fair Philippines is coming up on March 1 to 4, 2018. Over the past five years, it’s become the biggest and probably the most popular art exhibition in the country. While it’s wonderful that more and more people are coming to appreciate art, it’s time we learned to do so with a little more consideration for others and for the art itself. Here are some basic do’s and don'ts from the good people of Art Fair Philippines.

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This is pretty basic, kindergarten stuff. The artist poured a lot of time, thought, and effort into his or her creation; the least you can do is avoid damaging it through wear and tear. After all, this is an art gallery, not an Apple store. So no matter how cool a piece of art looks, be a grown-up and keep your hands to yourself. 

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Art fairs can become very crowded—the last thing you want is to fall onto a painting if someone bumps into you from behind. Stepping back also allows more people to admire the same painting without your blocking their view.

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If you do, make sure to check them in. This is because it’s very easy to wind up knocking a sculpture over with your bag when you’re backing up or turning around. Art Fair Philippines will have a bag deposit area on the third floor.

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Camera flashes are believed to damage paintings by causing their pigments to fade. Besides, harshly lit, washed out photos never look good.

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It’s generally rude to bring snacks to establishments that sell food and refreshments, including the art fair. And even if you buy food at the art fair, make sure not to take it outside the dining area. The risk of spilling your drink on a piece of art just isn’t worth it.

Here are a couple more pointers based on our own observations:

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Last year, Art Fair Philippines had over 40,000 visitors, and this year’s fair will be bigger than ever. Given the volume of people coming to view the exhibition, it’s best to avoid lingering too long in front of one particular piece of art. If it’s especially crowded, try and time yourself according to the flow of people—you can always circle back to your favorite painting or sculpture later.

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Try and spend more time actually appreciating the art, rather than showing off the fact that you attended the art fair. A selfie or two is fine, but blocking everyone else’s view for over five minutes just to get the perfect picture just makes you look vain and shallow.

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Angelica Gutierrez
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