A recent newsletter from ex-Springs artist Rodney Wood commented on his recent show Symbiosis: "The show at The Modbo and Rubbish Gallery was a grand and rare success beyond all hopes and expectations. Thanks to all of you that helped make it possible and to the hordes of you that attended."
Afire with curiosity, the Indy e-mailed Wood for a little explanation. (See our story, "Would that he could," for more).
The definition of "success" is elusive and subjective. For me there are a few barometers of what makes an art show successful. I fear that too often success is defined solely by sales. Yes, that is a good thing but not the only thing that counts. For me that list also includes: attendance, publicity, reviews, interaction between the art and the viewers. Is not one of the goals of most exhibitions is to have the work be seen? So ... the more the merrier.
Did I participate in compelling dialogue or overhear others engaged in conversation about the art before them (that is very high on my list)? Funny how one type of success feeds the others - with good publicity and buzz come more attendees. I am also interested in a diversity of viewers; young, old, artists, art lovers, neophytes, connoisseurs, collectors, doubters etc. Over the years, I have experienced the gamut of "results" from art presentation (for my work and for that of others - I have curated 350+ shows, juried/judged at least a 100 and attended thousands). Some were wildly successful and others were ghost events attended by but a few of the artists friends. Another significant signpost for me is if I can sense that the show challenged, educated and perhaps even inspired some viewers - be they artists or not.
My favorite quote of the show was proffered by a stranger that came up to me after Saturday night's event and said: "Thank you ... my eyes and ears will never be the same after tonight." This was followed by a handshake and then a sincere hug ... can't beat that.
The Symbiosis show truly was successful by all my barometers and far beyond reasonable hopes and expectations.