n. Extreme anger displayed by an art gallery patron when a visit is marred by huge crowds or rude gallery staff.
Gauguin: Maker of Myth has drawn what is thought to be a record number of visitors to a Tate exhibition, but many of them left the building in a state of what one prominent art critic called "gallery rage". The crowding in front of the paintings on display was so bad, according to angry art fans and critics, that they have vowed never to go to such a big show again.
First road rage — now 'gallery rage'. The hushed marble foyer of the British Museum was disrupted last week, as more than 20 sightseers staged a sit-in protest against rude staff. A fracas erupted after the group were ejected from the Forgotten Empire exhibition by museum workers so intent on leaving by 5.30pm that they jumped in front of artefacts and shouted to drown out the exhibition's audio tour.
Unfortunately, the show is almost impossible to look at. It feels as though there are as many visitors crammed into the Sainsbury Wing galleries as there were people in Florence at the height of the Renaissance. This is how exhibitions often are now frustrating, wearying, ultimately dispiriting. It isn't the art's fault. Museum curators work with objects and documents and histories, loan forms and lighting, finely tuned sight lines, contrasts and dialogues between exhibits. All this is lost amid the crowds, attempting to devour as much as they can of the show while trying to suppress the gallery rage just below the surface.
I haven't highlighted a rage phrase in quite a while. In fact, my last one was checkout-line rage that I posted to Word Spy five years ago to the day. The template for all such phrases is, of course, the famous road rage that first appeared around 1988. Road rage itself is fascinating in a sociological, sign-of-the-angry-times way, but it's also interesting when turned slightly and looked at from a linguistic angle. That's because the popularity of the phrase road rage made it extremely fertile, spawning dozens of X rage angers, from air rage to zoo rage. Think of a noun, add the word rage to it, and you've no doubt come up with a type of anger that somebody, somewhere has felt, although probably not yet written about. See the "Related Words" for a list of rages that have made the leap to print.