Monday, February 25, 2008

Art Gallery: Intimidation

Art tends to be inherently intimidating. Thanks to my Father, I have never felt that intimidation. Between the home I grew up in and the one my parents live in now, there was always enough art hanging on the walls and on bookshelves to have filled the Art Institute of Chicago. Anyway, when it comes to art galleries and museums, bring ‘em on! Pretentious art brokers and zany artists don’t intimidate me, they intrigue me. That is until I walked into “Off the Wall Art”, a gallery on Haight Street that sells posters and reprints of famous paintings. The first time I went into the shop it seemed like there was no one else in there, including anyone working. My friends and I walked around for five minutes or so but got annoyed that no one was there to help that we left unsatisfied.
Months later I saw a sign in the window of “Off the Wall” that said ‘Lost Our Lease Closing in 3 Days.’ I decided to give the place another chance, figuring that at least there would be a decent sale. Well I wish I hadn’t gone back in because the sales woman/ owner of the shop who had failed to help us the first time, was snippy and a tad feisty. My boyfriend and I found the one poster in the place that wasn’t on sale and the woman was short with us as she rang up the purchase. The poster is a pretty awesome map of the Haight-Ashbury area, with a key telling you where all the musical people of the 60’s and 70’s lived. I walked out of “Off the Wall” with 150 dollars less than when I walked in, and a new intimidation of art (one that I had so fortunately avoided for 21 years). After 23 years, “Off the Wall Art” a store full of posters and reprints has lost its lease and is moving to Ninth and Folsom. Haight Street in San Francisco is one of the friendliest places on earth, between the hippies and tourists; I guess there just is not room for pretentious art.