Absolutely Everything Is Foreplay
(given the right context of course....)
My painting teacher at the School of Visual Arts had an amazing (and scary) knack of making her students hyper aware of every single minute detail in the painting studio. In the studio, in the work itself, the easel, the brushes, the floor, the light. I remember her coming in one day and making us paint the walls white before we could begin our critique. It became quite difficult to get any work done in her class because we became so self-conscious of every little thing. You would pick up a brush and pause midway between the palette and the canvas with the thought, is this the right brush, is this the right color, is this the right canvas?
To this day everything she taught is ingrained in my psyche. I cannot go to an exhibition without obsessively considering the wall labels, their size and font and proximity to the artwork. I become aware of the floor, the walls and the ceiling without ever making a conscious decision to do so.
Foreplay is a word that implies the prelude to a main event. Before, ahead of, in front of..
You could say cooking dinner is foreplay. That is, if you're trying to get someone's attention. The tablecloth, the wineglasses, the candle in the center of the table. Changing your clothes for dinner and the music you dance to when everyone is done eating. Foreplay. All the particulars to an evening that you want to end well.
In the same way you could say opening the front door to the gallery is foreplay for the exhibition. The space, the lighting, the way the show is hung. All the details that suggest meaning and point to the main attraction: the artwork and how it is perceived.
Success would mean, in either case, that we're all turned on and paying attention.
What makes it so? Intention.
Even if you're the only one who knows. If you are focused and committed enough to it, that intention somewhere along the way becomes palpable. The idea becomes tangible, and you end up succeeding in creating an environment ripe for whatever climax you're hoping to achieve.
On the other hand, ignore the walls or the floor, wall labels too big, too clunky, burnt chicken, stale wine... things get a little dry, confusing, anti-climactic. Pay attention. Advance. Suggest. Preface....
Everything is foreplay.