This new gallery show encourages you to get hands-on with art
By Brittany Martin
When we think of going to an art gallery, we tend to expect to be walking around, looking at pieces with our eyes and considering them from a few feet back. With a show opening on June 24, one West Hollywood gallery is challenging those preconceptions.
Please Touch the Art at Cantor Fine Art features a group of artists’ works which all share one thing in common: an invitation to get a little hands-on. They call the idea "tactile art."
As the gallery’s co-owner, Sam Cantor, told LAist, inspiration for the show grew out of a story he was told by Laguna Beach artist Andrew Myers. Myers specializes in crafting elaborate mosaic-like pieces from screws which he arranged at various heights and then painted, creating portraits with depth and texture evocative of topographical maps—and one day, a blind stranger walked in and put his hands on the art, almost as if it were printed in Braille. This lead Myers and Cantor to find the man, who turned out to be a furniture maker and artist in his own right, George Wurtzel, about whom Cantor made a short documentary, which you can see below. The experience left Cantor fascinated with the idea of tactile art and using the sense of touch in art and story-telling.
Next up for Wurtzel and the tactile art movement is a project to convert a former grape crushing barn in Napa into the first Tactile Art Center, a space fully dedicated to encouraging the blind to create, observe and sell art.