Saturday, April 10, 2010

My Turn

Most of my Saturdays at 47 begin by schlepping in some chopped wood from the yard. Nestled in the corner gallery office I start a fire in our woodburning stove. Sometimes Dennis, one of 47s directors, will already have it going for me, but today I am alone. Now sitting next to the silent flames and ready to write, my hands are dirty, soot covers my pale pink nails. Not exactly the gallerina image some might imagine. In the same thought, 47 isnt' exactly what you might imagine as a gallery either.

Prompted by our quickly approaching and aptly titled show In Turn, as well as a few tiny jabs from ArtListPro, it seems that my job title at 47 (intern) holds more (or less, as implied by ALP) than orginally thought. While his posts are now a month old, and he has since addressed many of the general qualms I initially had, I am more focused on his dismissive view of various gallery staff. With our intern show just two weeks away and almost a year as a gallery intern under my belt, I am caught between looking forward and backward as I contemplate my role.

Starting last spring in the Distillery and happily moving West to Parkdale, I have spent just about every Saturday since behind a desk at a gallery, and I really couldn't be happier. And yet ALP implies in #7 of his list of Important Life Changes, that he would rather be anything but an intern, and will work hard to avoid such a fate. And again in #5 of his semi recant-posting on 47 (man this guy likes numbered lists) he slags the intern again, dismissing them as viable connections in the gallery staff. I don't take these comments personally, as I have never infact met Chris Healey, so I assume these are generalizations. But while he explains his writing style is 'classic blog writing', the few times he mentions interns I sense little irony or comedy. Why such an attitude against those at the bottom, especially when you place yourself within similar status? Shouldn't the little people try to applaud one another? This is partly why I still feel it relevant to discuss the posts, from one independant blogger to another.
(Sidebar - the fact that 47 allows us to slap their name onto our intern blog seems pretty clear to me that they too support independant writers, and encourage a dialogue between the public and the gallery. Just my two cents.)

So ALP I thought I might try to explain why I am not such a nuisance for you. Aside from building fires, my main task on Saturdays is to man the gallery alone. Which means I must entice and interest each viewer who finds us down the alley and happens upon our stoop. Street traffic being light, for me each visitor is an opportunity to talk some art, or just shoot the breeze. As ALP wallows, he states that he has become 'someone the intern is supposed to deal with' (implying that the unimportant are carted off to the lowly interns). Does ALP not trust that 47s directors, and assumably all galleries, would not employ staff with whom they do not feel best represents their mandate and their artists, and in reality, themselves?

Between the two galleries I have been employed at, my responsibilities have waxed and waned, but in general the overarching principle remains - the effort I put out is the fuel for my progression, and this progression is as personal as it gets, I am not compensated with money, this is my time which I invest. And from effort sometimes comes reward, so alongside people who are rooting for you to succed comes relationships and connections and hey, my own exhibition. 47 offered up this opportunity to us interns months ago, offering too their trust in our capabilities. Internships are meant to end, they are purposed with an in-between nature, and by that end they are the sum total of an individuals evolution. So if I learned anything from ALP's long winded whinging (props to fellow British intern who taught me this slang), it was his final sentence, about growing up and rethinking.

Dear ALP,
Come chat with me about art? We can sit by the fire that I made. Us interns, we are an industrious bunch when we really get our act together.