Have you ever been to a crowded museum and found yourself trying to look over other people's shoulder's at an artwork, only to be pushed aside by various elbows of people taking pictures of the piece? Or maybe you've laughed to yourself when seeing a tourist speedwalking through MoMA, taking a picture of each piece, then a picture of its label, barely even looking at the artwork other than through their digital camera screen? Or you're in a foreign country and there's some embarrassing American family talking loudly and all five of them are taking a picture of the same painting with their cameras?
It kills me. Kills me. And it happens. All. The. Time. I mean, in this day and age, you can get a much better quality image of a painting on the internet than you can take with your digital camera in a museum if you're really dying for a desktop background of a Van Gogh. Sure, I'll forgive the pictures of you next to a sculpture or painting. Or sweeping images of a beautiful installation. That is a memory of you being there, in that museum, interacting with art. And a few pictures, here and there, fine. But seeing people breeze through rooms, taking quick snapshots without letting their bare eyes see the work makes me sad. I thought you paid your $18 to get into the Met to actually look at the art.
Anyway, sorry to rant. But there is a great article about this issue on the cover of today's Times that I wanted to recommend. Find it here.
Image courtesy New York Times.