Sorry for the nearly two week absence. I’m sure no one noticed…or even cared. I think I might be getting sick of the internet. Sometimes it’s good to step away for periods of time, which I might be doing more and more in the months to come. Anyway, on my short trip to NYC I spent an afternoon walking around the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw…what?…8% of the collection (that place is freakin’ endless). But what has always fascinated me as a museologist is observing visitor response to art. I’ve written about the fetishistic nature and commodity character of art, which was more apparent than ever as I observed people taking pictures with their phones (and tablets) of the various paintings (and period rooms) in the museum. I also noticed a girl posing next to every other piece while her friend took pictures, like the art itself was some kind of tourist attraction. Hardly anyone was studying or taking in the art with their very own eyes, but instead looking at it through the view of some kind of mobile device. What’s the point then? They should’ve all just stayed home and clicked on the museum’s website. And if the photos are just proof they were there, that they experienced it, did they really? Because I don’t think so. And why does every moment of our lives need to be documented, even looking at art in a museum? Visiting a museum was once a special, meaningful experience, but the aura of that sacred space has been lost in the crowds of people busy taking pictures.
See more of my opinion on this topic in these other posts here and here.