Art Snobbery

Art takes many guises, in its simplest of forms it is an expression of ourselves. It can be a means of developing a visual documentation of a moment in time, or a declaration of aesthetics, it can be a notion of politics or simply a happy marriage of random elements. Whether the art form is visual or auditory or performing, it is our emotions and imagination that lends itself to create such incredible works of art and the longevity of this creativity, which spans all of time, tells us tales of history in all its glorious technicolour.

Art should be enjoyed by all, but I often witness a huge amount of snobbery. We recently visited a local gallery, full of modern art and featuring some modern masters such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.  It was hugely expensive to get in and whilst I understand that galleries are costly to run, why not do discount Wednesday’s or local incentives?

All around us visitors were talking in hushed tones, akin to a library and children seemed frowned upon.  How do we create the next generation of artists or art appreciator’s, if we do not encourage our children to come and have a dabble? Where were the posters for instance, saying, “Come and paint your own interpretation of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers”, encouraging our children to be creative?

To add insult to injury, whilst appraising a Henry Moore sculpture, I was hollered at from the opposite end of the gallery to move myself away from the art. Isn’t art supposed to be appreciated?

The final blow came whilst overhearing a guide talk to a group of visitors, the comments were so alarming it was all I could do, to stay quiet.  The said guide, a lady who by her comments had obviously worked for the gallery for some years, chose to declare the value of the paintings rather than discuss the artist, or history, or any detail, which would have been of interest and proceeded to tell tales of the owners and their so-called wealth.  I would have liked to have given this guide the benefit of the doubt and surmise that her talk improved after we moved away, but I’ll never know, because I made it may business to avoid the small group throughout the rest of my tour. This is art snobbery in its finest form and its rather put us off visiting the gallery again.

I choose not to give the name of the gallery because one visit is not enough to do the place a disservice.  A second strike though and all will definitely be revealed.


As a post note I would add, that for years as a family we visited Compton Verney in Warwickshire, a fabulously restored stately home which is now run as an art gallery for all to enjoy.  It regularly has events for all the family and children particularly are very much encouraged to play.  I would say that my days here probably developed the enthusiasm I have for art today and I cannot speak highly enough of the place.

Though the beginnings of my art journey originate from my Mother, always a painter, who continues to explore and experiment with her passion for art and never falls prey to art snobs, even when they deem to criticise!