Looking at people looking at art: what gallery attendants think

At every show across the world, the gallery attendant is on permanent display. They are, along with their functional chair, as much a part of the furniture of the art gallery as its meticulously positioned frames or silent white walls. Since the invention of the exhibition, these workers have kept a close eye on the works that surround them, handed out literature, offered visitors impromptu art history lessons and ensured that Do Not Touch signs are adhered to.

Or not adhered to, perhaps. After all, in recent years, climate activists have glued themselves to displays, as well as launched a Warholian tin of tomato soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and slashed ancient masterpieces. Elsewhere, a banana on display worth £90,000 was eaten and an 18ct gold toilet was stolen. The art gallery has never been more infiltrated.

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