|Opening with Hipsters, 2014, Oil on Panel|
Friday, September 12, 2014
Posted by Aubrey Levinthal
Above is a recent painting I made. It came from deep in my subconscious brain. I seriously started the painting with four pink balls and before I knew it they became heads and this was in front of me. I have no clue who the people are except that the short head in the front is mine. It came after a particularly awkward night of openings that prompted me to write this post -- an issue I have been thinking about for a long time: openings.
I always set out going to openings with such optimism. From a month's distance they seem like the perfect social gathering -- people interested in the same things, looking at artwork over a glass of wine. And then I enter the show and usually pretty immediately things start to go awry.
It's a type of awriness (should be a word) that is so subtle. I mingle with a first person who its great to see but I'm simultaneously aware that I'm very sober and fairly sweaty from the walk. The more I start thinking about how sweaty I am in the lights of the gallery, the more my hands feel like foreign objects attached to my arms that are growing quickly and need to be folded awkwardly over my chest to be contained. I excuse myself to get a glass of wine. As I am pouring, I am rewinding the scene that just occurred so spontaneously and still deciding whether my enthusiasm was way too excited over the person's comment when someone else usually pulls up. We talk, I inevitably do something weird.
The thing is: there are two types of opening goers. There are those who want to really engage and have a great conversation for a long time broaching all subjects and those who want to bop around and say hi and take in the show quick and easy. Both philosophies are great. It turns out I am neither of these. What I am is the opposite of whatever the person I am talking to is. I don't mean to be but I must not pick up social cues well or something, every conversation I either feel like I need to pivot and run or am grabbing the person on the shoulder trying to scream a stupid story into their ear.
The finale comes when, after so many of these start to accumulate, I eventually am talking to someone and the voice in my head is just replaying the 'aubrey's awkward highlight reel', the painfully weird and overly enthused things I have spewed at various points in the night and I can no longer take it. Which is when I dash out to the nearest bar (hopefully I am with a friend or Alex) and drink away the socially inept artist that I am and wait four weeks to do it again next month.