Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A complaint, my response

We just got a grouchy letter at the Artsgarden. Someone showed up Sunday to see our art exhibit, and they weren't happy that it was stuck in the corner. We left it there after the event Saturday night, so housekeeping wouldn't move it to scrub the floors; they're less than delicate with the artwork. And we forgot to make arrangements to get it back in place where it belongs. They also weren't happy with the condition of the case. So here's the letter I proposed sending them:
We would like to extend our sincere apologies that the exhibit wasn't available for convenient viewing on Sunday. The exhibit was relocated for a private event Saturday night, and we neglected to return it to its proper position after the floor was cleaned. It was an oversight on our part, and we'll work to see that it doesn't happen again.

As for the condition of the cases, we are appalled that leaves and sap somehow fell onto the case. Upon investigation, we discovered an alarming fact: the Artsgarden is full of trees. To keep the exhibit safe from this menace of nature, we have decided to relocate the exhibit into the Artsgarden's Green Room, which contains no nature of any kind. It even has the added advantage of no sunlight exposure, which can potentially damage artwork. We also understand that fluorescent lighting is the ideal lighting by which to view art; it doens't contain any of the harmful ultraviolet light that can degrade pigment and canvas. This decision isn't without compromise; as a result of the exhibit's new location, it is available for viewing by appointment only, between the hours of 2pm and 4pm Tuesday thru Friday. We're sure the inconvenience will be minor compared to the traumatic experience of discovering leaves and sap on the display cases.

Thank you for your understanding; we again apologize for your negative Artsgarden experience.
They tell me we can't actually send this to our complainer. Shame.


Clint said...


At the risk of being pedantic, I would like to mention the relatively high-levels of UV from fluorescent lights. Not much compared to raw sunlight, but high compared to incandescent lighting. Just thought you should know, you being married to a lighting designer and all.

On a more serious note, I've found that absurd little criticisms like this are problematic when ignored (for fairly obvious reasons) or acknowledged, in which case the problem is to get them to stop telling you what they think you should be doing. The root issue is that people who write these things have too much time on their hands and no real problems to give perspective.


Jeff Mountjoy said...

Yah, I actually knew that about fluorescents; I chose them for the letter because they're considered the worst light, aesthetically, by which to view art. I sacrificed a little technical correctness on the altar of unbridled sarcasm.

Or, slightly bridled. This is the version of the letter I bounced to a few staff members. The first draft had defoliation crews inbound, with the move to the Green Room as a temporary measure. But it seemed a little over-the-top.

I'm tempted to post the original letter; it talked about how impressed they have been with the Arts Council's advocacy for artists, and that to see an artist's work treated so shoddily was surprising. I believe the complainer runs a puppet studio; I got the vibe that it's a bored rich housewife's side project, but I don't actually know details....