If you've never been to a modern art gallery, then you may be wondering what to expect. What are the rules? What should you avoid doing? In this article, we will discuss 7 things that you should never do in a modern art gallery. Keep these tips in mind when you visit your next art gallery and enjoy your experience!

Modern Art Gallery Rules

You've finally made it to the big city and you're ready to see some art. You head to the hottest new gallery in town, but as soon as you walk in, you realize you have no idea what you're doing. Don't worry, we've all been there. To save you from embarrassment, here are 7 things you should never do in a modern art gallery:

1. Don't Take Photos Without Permission

In a modern art gallery, it's important to remember that you are not supposed to take photos without permission. This is because many galleries have strict policies about photography, and they don't want people taking pictures of the artwork without consent. There are a few things you can do to make sure you don't take photos without permission:


  • Ask the gallery attendant before taking any pictures. They will usually be happy to permit you as long as you're not using a flash or causing any other disturbance.
  • Don't use your flash when taking pictures. Many galleries don't allow flash photography because it can damage the artwork.
  • Be respectful of other visitors and don't block their view when taking pictures. If someone is trying to see the artwork, move out of the way so they can have a clear view.
  • Don't take pictures of other people without their permission. This is just common courtesy.
  • Follow all of the gallery's rules and regulations. If you're not sure what they are, ask an attendant before taking any pictures. Breaking any of these rules could result in you being asked to leave the premises, so it's important to be mindful of them when visiting a gallery.

2. Touch The Artwork

Art is a delicate thing. The majority of people are aware that art is meant to be appreciated visually rather than physically, but occasionally people are merely curious about the creative process and want to learn more. Particularly modern and contemporary art can arouse an interest in the materials used, making them particularly vulnerable.


The primary reason for keeping one's distance from works of art is their intrinsic fragility. If an object were to be sat on, climbed on, or handled improperly, it would break. The invisible marks made by fingers running up the arm of a marble sculpture or across the brushstrokes of a painting are less noticeable but no less important. Sweat, oils, and acids are all carried on the tips of our fingers and can all be transferred to artwork. Unclean hands can taint or harm metal, painted surfaces work on paper, fabrics, and pictures.


Particularly acidic and salty substances can damage metals, and using bare hands to handle metal can leave permanent handprints and fingerprints on the surface. To give works of art the intended appearance and to provide physical or environmental protection, coatings, waxes, or chemical patinas are frequently applied. However, frequent handling damages this protective covering. A porous surface may become clogged with grease and filth from hand grime that has collected in the crevices.

3. Don't bring food or drink into the gallery

Most galleries don't allow food or drink inside, and for good reason. Food and drink can damage artwork, and it's just messy. Plus, it's distracting to other visitors who are trying to enjoy the artwork in silence. If you're feeling peckish, there's usually a cafe nearby where you can grab a bite before or after your visit.

4. Make sure your phone is on silent mode

You would think this one would be obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people forget to turn their phones off before entering a gallery. Not only is it rude to have your phone ringing in the middle of a gallery, but it's also distracting to other visitors. If you must take a call, step outside of the gallery first.

5. Don't Touch Anything Else in the Gallery

In addition to not touching the artwork, you should also avoid touching anything else in the gallery. This includes furniture, walls, sculptures, etc. No matter how tempting it is to adjust the lighting or rearrange the furniture, resist the urge. The staff has carefully placed everything where it is for a reason, and touching anything else could result in damage or even injury. Next time you're at a gallery, enjoy the artwork - but leave everything else alone.

6. Don't Interrupt When Someone Is Looking at a Single Piece of Art

When you're in a museum or art gallery, it's important to be respectful of the other patrons. One thing you should never do is interrupt someone who is focused on a particular piece of art. If you want to ask them a question or start a conversation, wait until they've moved on to another piece before approaching them.

7. Follow the Gallery's Rules

Each gallery has its own set of rules, so make sure you follow them. Some galleries don't allow photography, some don't allow food or drink, and some have age restrictions. If you're not sure what the rules are, ask a gallery attendant before entering.

Are You Looking for Contemporary Art to Complement Your Home?

The Marshall Gallery, located in Scottsdale’s Historic Arts District, has been the center of contemporary art since its founding in 1998. Boasting a collection of paintings, sculptures, and exquisite glass pieces, the gallery hosts several exhibitions each year plus a biennial glass invitational that attracts top-notch talent. Here you will find exceptional art presented in an open and relaxed gallery space, which is perfect for browsing the ever-changing collection. Explore on your own, or allow our expert art consultants to offer complimentary assistance to find the perfect addition to your own collection. Looking for the perfect piece of art to complement your home’s decor? Visit us in person or browse our online art store!

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