“Hello and welcome to my art gallery.” A pamphlet is presented. You flip through the pamphlet and find a lovely scene of a bubbling brook, overlaid with information on the gallery in white Helvetica font. You learn that they are open for another 13 hours, but you’re already late for dinner. “I’ve been running this place going on five years now,” the voice says. “We get folks from all around. It’s nice to meet new people, isn’t it?” A cup is set down on a plate. It clatters. You get a vague smell of an apple orchard. It’s a candle labeled Apple Orchard. “Please, enjoy some complimentary tea.”
You enter the first room. It’s actually a hallway and it’s crowded with sculpture. “These are from our permanent collection,” the voice says. “She’s a local artist. No one really understands her, but they pay $45k per pop anyway.” You enter the next room and begin to smell the tea. Moroccan Mint. A couple comes in through the front door and you hear the security system click into place.
That’s when you hear the music. It’s soft jazz and it’s incessant. The instruments are fighting each other for control and rhythm, grasping at straws. The curator has moved on to greet more guests and you enter the next room. You have hardly been paying attention to the paintings but now they are hard to miss. Large, annoyingly colorful works cover the walls of half the room. The artist has a unique way of working their name into the painting in subtle ways.
The other half of the room is administrative, meaning there is two desks with Mac computers on them. You feel like you have invaded someone’s privacy. The jazz continues.
You finally find the tea that you’ve been smelling, the host wasn’t specific about its location. She appears out of thin air, but you only see her shoes and hear her voice as you lean down for some tea. It’s mint like you thought. “Oh good, you found it. Anything else I can get for you folks?” You ignore her question and float to the next room. The ceiling and the floor switch.
The final room is in the back of what you now clearly can see used to be a house. Every picture is of you, from a different year in your life. There’s you waiting for the school bus. There’s you eating glue in Sunday school. There’s me, losing my religion, but this isn’t my story. There’s you experiencing love. There’s you letting it go. The artist really knows you, you can tell from their brush strokes. You look at the price.
“No way,” you mutter. You finish the last of your tea and leave. You hear the security chirp as the door seals behind you. “On to the next one,” you say to yourself, and the cycle continues.
This was written by Nathan Ellwood, who hopes that you like worms, because they are they in thing this year. Follow him @NPEllwood.