Rough Start to The Night

Rough Start to The Night

When it is time for a show, we all mobilize to get ready. It takes a good eye to decide where everything goes and what sequence of artworks looks best. It matters what you put side by side so that everything creates a harmonious whole. It is an art in itself to put together an exhibition apart from the creation of the art itself. It is my world and it encompasses a wealth of creativity and forethought. Lighting is of vital importance as it enhances and brings out the fine qualities of each work. We have all sorts of track lighting, spotlighting, etc. so that we can customize the space. When the viewers arrive, the mundane gallery is turned into a magical realm. The light leads the way.

Imagine our chagrin when one opening night a few hours before the doors were to be unlocked, a strategic lighting bulb blew out over one of the key sculptures just before the show was to be revealed. Such bad timing! Plus, we had no replacement bulks nor anywhere to get them since we ordered them from a catalog and they took a week to arrive. You don’t find gallery lighting in your nearest drugstore. Maybe the hardware store would have a good substitute but it was closed. We were in a quandary as to how to remedy this dilemma. Giving it great thought, I decided to take a stop-gap measure and in MacGyver fashion to use a LED flashlight to illuminate the sculpture rather than let it sit in the dark. Basically, I rigged the flashlight from http://www.flashlightpro.net/ to the empty bulb socket and as funky as it appeared, I don’t think anyone would notice. Unusual installations are part and parcel of the gallery scene.

After the crowd arrived, there was so much going on that virtually no one looked up to the ceiling to spot the flashlight. If they had, I would have claimed it to be part of the sculpture. What a novel concept they would have commented, but alas, it all went unnoticed. Perhaps that is better than giving the artist credit for something completely unintended. Perhaps he would even have been annoyed. But the opening went off without another hitch and the sales attested to the show’s success. It was one of the magical nights when people seemed to respond particularly well, enough to loosen their pocketbooks. It is a good thing we didn’t panic over the missing bulb since the sculpture in question was one of the most popular pieces in the exhibition. We had a great deal of interest, and by the end of the night it had sold. At least two other people were disappointed as they wanted it, but they were too late in making their decision. I wonder if any of them would have wanted the flashlight to take home to showcase their new artwork? It was a silly thought, but nonetheless it occurred to me.