While most galleries and museums around the world are concerned about the safety of exhibits, the Same Gallery in Tokyo decided to experiment in a unique way by opening the Stealable Art Exhibition. This project was conceived as an illustration of the unequal relationship between the viewer / visitor of the exhibition and the artist. By clarity, it exceeded all the expectations of the organizers.
On July 10, according to the schedule announced earlier, all employees left the gallery, leaving all exhibits in the public domain for the visiting public 24/7. According to the conditions of the action, each visitor, if desired, could take for himself something from the displayed items. The exhibition was supposed to work in a similar mode, while at least one exhibit would remain in the gallery.
However, the situation quickly got out of control. That was conceived as a kind of thought experiment with the participation of many prominent representatives of modern art in Japan turned out to be an invasion of a difficultly controlled crowd of people who read in social networks that the gallery would distribute works of art for free.
As a result, by the time access to the exhibits was opened, about two hundred people had gathered at the entrance to the gallery, and it all ended in less than ten minutes. To avoid crowding, the gallery even had to open the doors somewhat earlier than planned. Thus, many representatives of the art environment who came to the appointed time to observe how the exhibits would go hand in hand (the exhibition was designed for 10 days) saw only clean walls in front of them.
The statement on the gallery website said that more people than they expected came on the day of the event. Therefore, after discussing the situation, they were forced to start it before the scheduled time. To ensure security and order, police had to be involved. In addition, just a few hours after the opening of the exhibition, items that were taken from the gallery appeared on online auction sites.