At my solo show (here), I happened to notice something about the way people react to the baggage that comes with art. I decided that contrary to popular practice, I was going to add a little blurb to each of the 10 paintings displayed at the gallery in addition to details like size, medium and title. The blurb ran from about 50 words for some paintings to about 150 words for some others. In most cases, the blurb tended to explain the social situation that compelled me to attribute that particular face to a particular facet of social reality. Gallery purists might shake and shudder at the fact that I had sunk to lowbrow levels by condescending to add blurbs next to paintings when it was supposed to be the other way; just view the painting and let the opinions garnered by the visual experience play out in the viewers mind rather than distort/subvert the whole process by an artist supplied opinion.
Surprisingly most of the gallery viewers reacted in a very positive way and were very happy to actually note that I had taken the trouble to write the context behind the painting.
As an example, I had the following blurb next to ‘Stomach Clock‘.
It is estimated that 33 million Americans continue to live in households without an adequate supply of food. According to statistics from the Bread for the World Institute, 3.5 percent of U.S. households experience hunger (9.6 million people, including 3 million children.) Children are a disproportionate share of the poor in the U.S. Although they are 26 percent of the total population, they constitute 39 percent of the poor.
My question to you is as follows: When would you consider putting a blurb next to your works? Never, sometimes or all the time. Why?