Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How do you look at a museum?

Today, on Etsy, there is a forum discussion about artists and how they view their own work and those of "their heros". It started me thinking about how overwhelming the museum experience is for many people. If I may, I would like to give some of you, who have trouble knowing how to make it through an art museum, a hint that helps me.

When I get to the museum, I set a goal for myself. It is impossible for me to survive or enjoy a museum for long if I just wander and soak! (Although that can be fun now and then) I usually set myself on a scavanger hunt. One day (when I was painting more) I spent the entire day checking out brushstrokes and paint application for making highlights. Another time I just looked at the composition of everything...breaking it into simple shapes. One day I just looked for blue. One time I went with my son, who was about 16 at the time, we spent about 2 hours just looking at the designs etched into the swords and other weaponry - an area I had only walked through on my way to the "real art" before!

I have found this is a great way to get me to spend time with artists and works that I may have otherwise ignored. It is a way to bypass any judgements made purely on subject matter prejudice and, instead, look at technique or process. It gives focus and adventure to the experience.

 The last time I was in Chicago,  I decided to check out the ways artists have worked on faces and eyes. Here are a few of my phone pics of some of the pieces.

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