I generally avoid such events, but find myself occasionally obliging a friend and accompanying them with the only consolation being the hope that the experience may prove my convictions inaccurate. Alas those hopes prove to be futile at every such chance attendance.
There's the experiential aspect, which even with the aid of empathy, understanding and careful reflection fails to provide more than painful frustration; during the fake and polite interactions equally ungenuine inquiries arise: "So what do you do?” The frustration emerges primarily from the realization of my cowardice which prevents me from actively defying customary conformity - knowing with certainty the pure formal nature of the inquiry, devoid of no more genuine interest then required to satisfy a curiosity which attempts to avoid boredom and dullness by engaging in mild and superficial intellectual entertainment (the conversation), I find myself pretending that this empty shell of an inquiry is of substance and respond accordingly - with symmetrical pretension. The only way I can withstand the half hour or so of my physical presence at such events is by erecting a hermetic and pseudo philosophical wall around me which relates insincerely to the exhibited pieces, or physically avoiding any interactions by inspecting the exhibited works repeatedly with ostentatious interest that would excuse my lack of socializing. Whilst exercising those evasive tactics I'm always astonished by my paranoia that time has slowed almost to a stop. This behavioral device tends to temporarily fend off those excruciatingly vacuous inquiries into the content of my person.
It would be tempting to at least engage in the consolatory activity of amusing myself by observing the career hungry crowd, seeking mutual attention of only those who in its mind can contribute to the elevation of either the ego or what's more important the factual career status. Sadly I no longer find it amusing. I'm saddened by this and inescapably forced into reflections on the human condition in general - how we will readily crawl, hop or sing in a bad chorus - ready to take those desperate measures if only their performance, no matter how pathetic and degrading, would deliver but a glimmer of a promise of bringing closer the illusory goal that we have chosen to endow with value.