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Monday, August 3, 2015

Museum follow up - observations

A few months ago, I wrote a blog that I never posted. This one is a continuation of that theme but as it is on a museum and a particular show it is not the same, yet is similar.

After going through the Sargent exhibit at the Met, I then started over at the beginning to take photos of museum goers to see what were the most popular paintings; which paintings did artists get drawn to (and yes, you can tell when artists are looking at art vs "normal" people); and which, if any, got not much attention. I was trying to see if my previous observation at a gallery opening for a one person show was valid here. It wasn't.  Here are my observations with photos to go along to illustrate.

Another great "head"
I love this portrait. It is of an actor in character; can't remember which character.
 Artists tend to really study a painting and if with someone, talk about it.

 People who get the audio spend more time looking at the art.

the gown of this actress from MacBeth was made with insect wings to get the iridescent look.
A noticeable amount of museum goers take photos with their phones and don't bother to look at the art itself but "may" do a quick read for more info.
William Merritt Chase-commissioned by his students

Madame X always had a gathering
Those with no audio, spend more time reading the placards then looking at the paintings. They read, then look for whatever might have been mentioned, and move on to the next placard. I am not coming down on this approach, as I learned a lot from my husband who read way more of those notations than I did, but it is an observation. And this is not to say "all" who read the notes do this, but it was a commonality. My husband found things in paintings I totally missed and were not on the cards! He looks at the paintings.

The "known" paintings got more attention than the unknown. And in this Sargent show at the Met there were many (1/2?) that I did not know existed. A very prolific painter.

In the galleries of the museum outside of the "special exhibits" more of a percentage of viewers were actually LOOKING AT THE ART and talking about it. I wonder if this is due to the lack of crowds in the normal galleries. Even in the 20th century European gallery which was filled with wonderful works, people were either just walking thru unless something caught there eye (guilty as charged) or they were actually animated about the works.

Stay tuned...


Anonymous said...

Appreciated your observations! CLC

Anonymous said...

what a fun perspective! the art of life. I like the last one, in which the viewers are framed into the works. clever. A lot of times I will study a work and feel frustrated, realizing I don't really know what I am seeing, even though it attracts and speaks to me. I do try to capture the subject but also the techniques used. I am not one for huge, encompassing statements; as with music, I prefer the work that focuses on careful detail (hate big symphonies but love chamber music). That is much of what I love about your work. You get a good, broad picture, but you highlight the fascinating details and often the irony of their presentation. The "head" (first) picture is wonderfully emotive. Thanks for sharing. LNB

victoriasart said...

I would hope that you would gain some information to assist you when you look at paintings. Sometimes you don't have to look any further than that a piece speaks to you. That is a good thing in my book. I am not sure what you mean by "that you don't really know what I am seeing." I agree with you if I understand what you are saying about the "huge, encompassing statements."

victoriasart said...

that last comment didn't come out quite right...I meant to say, I hope my writings shed some light on how to look at paintings...
It was a busy day at the museum and I tried to get all three heads centered into the frames but it didn't work out. This was as close as I could get. the museum guards wondered what the heck I was up to taking photos of the viewers instead of the art!.