The Gallery Hopper

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

I love art. I really do!

A random evening in a smooth gallery in Auguststrasse where I went to see the work of just another young and “extremely” talented artist. That’s what the gallery owner said at least. I really love art and I’d love to buy some. But, like many people in Berlin who are aged between 18 and 35, I am quite short of money and the cheapest canvas of that evening cost more than 2.000 Euros.

Arriving at the gallery I met some friends I knew from Berlin’s nightlife who just came from another exhibition but weren’t able to tell me what was shown there and by whom. However, they are not as much into art as I am. They visit exhibitions for a single reason: grabbing as many free drinks as possible before going out to the clubs. They remind me of a swarm of bugs; the way they entered the room going directly to the bar without taking any notice of the exhibited paintings. I call them gallery hoppers

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

The common Berlin gallery hopper never has a bad conscience for having a bigger interest in free booze than in art. “Darling, what’s the matter?”, says one of them on the matter – let’s call her Uschi. “Thanks to people like me there are at least some interesting things to look at here tonight.” She laughs in a dirty way. I had to laugh, too.

Yeah, but thanks to people like her it sometimes happens that they fill up your glass with a certain look that says: “You can’t fool me. I know exactly why you are here. You can’t afford to buy the smallest artwork in this room.” When this happens I feel slightly humiliated. But then I tell myself that they are just fools for thinking that being young equals being poor. Okay, let’s face it, in Berlin it kind of does.

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

However, last evening, after an unexcited glance through the big glass windows at the exhibited artwork, there seemed to be a mutual decision between myself and the gallery hoppers just to hang around outside the gallery talking about past and upcoming parties instead of joining the rest of the visitors flattering the artist who I thought did not deserve it at all. The hoppers wouldn’t be able to tell if it was art at its best if they looked at it for an hour, but I instantly saw that this was just another collection of unexciting pieces.

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

As my bad conscience came sneaking up I started to feel like I should really have a closer look and give the artist a chance. But that feeling was quickly overruled by the taste of wine and the hilarious and extremely entertaining party stories Uschi and the rest of the hoppers had in store for me. We had a great evening blocking the sidewalk in front of the gallery. From time to time one of us sneaked inside to bring more French wine in plastic cups (yes, a good French one in a plastic cup, a crime) for all of us.

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

After a while we decided it would be more elegant to have wine out of a bottle instead of a plastic cup. Finally, we took several whole bottles outside, of course not without being followed by the suspicious gaze of the gallery owner who seemed to be very pissed off. “Who cares, this is Berlin”, Uschi said after noticing.

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

She came to Berlin some years ago from Switzerland that she described as being “so damn small” and now works as a fashion designer. Like most of us she didn’t come along with her pockets full of money that night. “Those gallery people can surely afford giving a bit of booze to the younger generation. Perhaps, in a few years it will be me who buys art.” I totally agreed with Uschi and went to the bar to organize another bottle of wine, this time wearing my head high.

Berlinstories: Art and Free Wine

Later in the evening when the booze ran out, it was time to leave. But I couldn’t just leave without having a dutiful look at two of the artworks that, after having some wine, didn’t seem to be that bad after all. I continued the night with the gallery hoppers who were now going club hopping for more free drinking. That’s how it goes, just a normal evening in a gallery in Berlin-Mitte.

But I do love art. Really!

The photos were NOT taken at the gallery from the story, they were taken at this event.

on May 6th, 2009
updated on January 17th, 2015
in People, Stories

4 Responses to “The Gallery Hopper”

  1. Alfresco Says:

    Na das kennen wir ja aus den guten alten Zeiten! Auf Nachtleben wurde jede kostenlos Party gepostet. Die Communty war wundervoll. Schade daß solche Events immer rarer werden! Aber so lange es Gallerien gibt ist für freien Suff gesorgt! Manchmal lohnt es sich auch der Kunst wegen vorbeizuschauen! Kunstagenten kann ich da empfehlen!
    Viele Grüße!

  2. suz Says:

    kunstagenten in der linienstr.?

  3. Lea Says:

    der artikel hat mich sehr gut unterhalten. vielen dank.

  4. miki Says:

    Very interesting story about gallery “hoppers”!
    I think they are best prove you live in urban jungle.
    How would it be without all those different characters between “real” art adorers ?
    Art shouldn’t be steril and artist communicate with all people in front of his work.
    We remember Warhol’s “factory” and bunch of people trying to get in, just to be a part of pop art fashion. I’m not sure if half of them cared about his art but actually they were part of his work.
    I like your perception of some small details you recognize in those situations we all know and also it’s pleasure to say your writing remind me on movies made by eye of proficient directors.

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