Skip to main content

How to Crash a Gallery Opening

Art, schmart – you’re only here for the white wine and obnoxious conversation.


  • Step 1: Pick a show Identify the gallery show or opening you’d like to attend. Write down the date.
  • Step 2: Get to know the artist’s work In the interim before the show, familiarize yourself with the artist’s work.
  • TIP: It also helps to know a little bit about the gallery owner, too.
  • Step 3: Dress the part On the day of the event, shower and get dressed to fit the part of a clean, neat and sophisticated attendee. Don’t be loud or trashy.
  • Step 4: Arrive late Arrive at least one hour after the opening time. The place should have a good number of people in it, but not so crowded that you’ll be standing in line to get in.
  • Step 5: Approach the bouncer with people behind you If you can, go up to the bouncer just before someone else so that you have people waiting behind you. Make eye contact, smile and say, 'Hello.'
  • Step 6: Give your name if you have to If it looks like he’s not going to hassle you, go right in.
  • Step 7: Make an excuse about why you’re not listed If Bruno checks the list, you’ll have to make an excuse for not being on it, such as sending your RSVP a bit late — which is common and plausible.
  • TIP: Act like you’re supposed to be there, and that this is unusual and slightly embarrassing. Turn around and apologize to the people behind you. Make sure the bouncer sees you do this.
  • Step 8: Avoid the artist and owner Once inside, look for the artist and the owner. Stay away from them for the moment and try to find a place outside of their view to settle in.
  • Step 9: Pretend to care about the art At first, you want to act like the art is what’s of interest to you. Don’t make a beeline to the booze, but take a glass of wine if one is offered.
  • Step 10: Start talking Strike up conversation with friendly-looking people. Smile like you’ve met before, then ask how they’re doing. Collect names, just in case you have to name-drop people later on.
  • TIP: Avoid critiquing the artwork if you can. Instead, ask people what they think is their favorite piece.
  • Step 11: Thank the artist and the owner Once you feel secure, don’t hesitate to thank the artist and the owner. Ask when their next shows will be. That may get you on a mailing list next time.
  • Step 12: Don’t be the last person there Finally, don’t be the last survivor. If you can find people to leave with, the illusion will be perfect. And thank the bouncer on the way out.
  • FACT: While pop artist Roy Lichtenstein was still alive, his paintings were being sold for $2 million each before he even completed them.

You Will Need

  • A little bit of courage
  • And dress-casual attire

Popular Categories