What Viewers Want: Experience Over Exhibition.

In 1 on November 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Grace Jones by  by David Corio. ©David Corio

Grace Jones, 1981, Drury Lane Theater. Photo by David Coro. ©David Corio

Here’s the photo link to “Who Shot Rock & Roll” that  I promised you several days ago.  (Sorry for the delay, but I was attending an intense but informative National Arts Marketing Conference in Providence.)

While the New York Times and a lot of other media concentrated on the book cover photo of Tina Turner and the picture of  Jimi Hendrix as Wilson Pickett’s side man (Jimi in process and tux!), no one caught the remarkable composition of line that is Grace Jones.

Even though we all rocked out in the hallowed halls of the Brooklyn Museum,  this show is seminal for a couple of reasons. Sure, it elevates rock photoraphy to art photography but it does something else.”Who Shot Rock & Roll” gives the public the kind of  high energy experience they want.

Brooklyn Museum by Julie VanDolen

Brooklyn Museum - not as staid as it looks. Photo courtesy of Julie Van Dolen, Latique.

Experience, not exhibition, is what people want these days.  And they don’t want their experiences  one at a time.  People want their experiences bundled.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look around the next time you’re in an elevator. Someone standing within inches of you is…

  1. Listening to their iPod,
  2. Texting, and
  3. Planning what they’ll do when the step off the elevator.

Simplistic as my example is, I’m pretty sure it counts as a bundled experience. So, when the Brooklyn Museum added Blondie to their mix at the opening gala, they were definitely giving people a bundled experience.

This concept is something that the Presentation Arts and the Art Show promoters across the country should chew on.

  • How can you make your exhibition or show come to life?
  • How can you make it involve your viewers.

Take the blinders off and put the audio phones down. We’re suggesting you kick up involvement to another level.

And, I’m open to comments on this. Anything you as a presenter have done or would like to do to involve you audience – both in terms of creating anticipation and when they get to the on-site experience – deserves recognition. By sharing, we can start a social epidemic that might, just might, bring the experience to a breathless public.

BTW, you can click through Grace’s stance to see my  story on “Who Shot Rock & Roll” in Antiques and the Arts Weekly.


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