Getting the Studio Visitor to Talk
One time my wife and I went to a small gallery showing Salvador Dalí prints. When I was a teenager, I liked Dalí quite a bit, so I was curious. We entered the rather small space and began looking at the eighteen-by-twenty-four-inch prints. The prints, lightly colored drawings with Dalí’s signature line, quality and subtle references to himself and his work (the dripping clock, a crucifixion, etc), had large, gaudy gold frames around them. Though they looked like drawings, they were actually etchings from plates. As we walked through the show, whatever my childhood fondness for Dalí had been, was gone. The show was interesting, but not enough to keep me there for more than five minutes. I told my wife I wanted to go.
As We Were Leaving
Just then, a saleswoman, or perhaps the gallery director, asked me if I wanted a glass of wine or champagne. I declined, but thanked her, and we started towards the door. Then, the woman called out and asked if she could ask me one question. I said yes, and she asked me which one was my favorite. She didn’t ask if I had a favorite, or if I liked the show, she asked a direct question that required a straight answer—not a simple yes or no. So standing near the door, I answered her question by pointing to one of the pieces I liked better than the others. She smiled and said “Oh, that is a very special one. May I tell you something about it? It has a great story.” Reluctantly, I said yes, and my wife and I were walking back into the gallery toward my favorite etching.
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