I know that some people are shy of art, or intimidated by art and artists. At cocktail parties, when people ask me what I do, I get a range of responses. I hear authentic interest: “Wow, what kind of art do you make?” to sympathy: “Must be tough!” or not sure how to respond: “Ohhhh… (silence).”
I don’t mind; on the contrary, I can understand. The art world can seem either like an exclusive club full of elitists, or a dark and mysterious community of starving artists. Two very different extremes, and both are unapproachable. Fortunately, there are many, many more of us who would say we are in neither of those two camps, but rather are (somewhat) normal people, with vibrant lives and families, who love art and love to make art, and do it for a living.
Art museums are often “the way in” to beginning to feel comfortable with art. This is where all kinds of art is housed, created just for all of us to visit and interact with.
So I wonder, how do you navigate an art museum? Do you ever feel guilty for bypassing what looks boring, or do you feel you should stop and read every label on every piece of work? Do you like to rent the audio guide, or do you like to wander on your own? Do you attend only for the big "celebrity" shows, or do you explore a more obscure period? What grabs you the most at an art museum – what speaks to your soul? What do you remember of art museums when you were a child?
Here’s a more pressing question: what about galleries and studios – where you would most likely see art that is being made today. Would you attend a gallery opening or open studio if you didn’t already know the artist, or would you feel like an awkward party crasher? Be honest! I myself have felt that way attending certain gallery receptions!
Just for fun, I thought I’d share two quick stats with you:
Yes, that means that art upstages Disney World and the Superbowl every year. Sorry guys!! (not really)
I was so happy to read this. Now, granted, this is not just talking about art museums, but museums in general. However, most museums do contain a lot of art, whether they are exclusively art museums or not. This is so encouraging to me as an American artist. How does this strike you?
Would love to hear your thoughts!
In my next blog post, I’ll write about a show I will have visited at one of my awesome local art museums.
I got these facts from The Alliance Of American Museums: