Thoughts on Gallery Experiences

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thoughts-on-gallery-experiences“A major Magritte show ran at the Art Institute of Chicago. It was fascinating to see all of his greatest hits in one place, nicely curated and hung.

Unlike the Louvre, photography was forbidden, which got me thinking about ideas, photos and originals.

In front of the Mona Lisa are hundreds of people, all taking a picture, sometimes with their cameras held overhead to get a better view. Why? What’s the point of taking a picture of the most famous, most photographed painting in the world? You’re certainly not going to take a better picture than you can find online with a few clicks.

It feels obvious that people aren’t capturing the painting, they’re capturing the moment, their proximity with a celebrity. “I was there, here look.” Can you imagine going to the Louvre and walking right by the Mona Lisa? (I did this once, and I confess it wasn’t easy). I mean, she’s famous.

Magritte was an artist who worked in ideas, not in craft. A photo of his painting is totally sufficient to get the point he was trying to make. The paintings themselves almost feel like ghosts, like non-digital represenations of the purity of his original idea, the one we saw a thousand times before we ever walked into the museum.

By forbidding photography, the museum does nothing at all to protect copyrights, but instead creates a different sort of intimacy. Is this a famous painting? Can I prove I was here?

The most useful impacts of a show in real life, I think, are the juxtapositions created by intelligent curation and display.”

This expert was taken from marketing guru Seth Godin’s blog. I am a devoted reader and highly recommend reading his daily thoughts.

The excerpt describes the different experiences one can have attending an art gallery or show – one demanding the need to capture the moment and one demanding the intimate, more personal experience – an experience that can’t be shared with the world and through social media.

This excerpt got me thinking… as artists, as gallery advocates, as show curators, what sort of experience are we demanding or even, more gently, allowing viewers to discover with the shows we put on? What experiences do our viewers currently have when they walk into a gallery? As artists, what feelings can we leave each person with that ventures out to our shows, whether its through a passionate conversation and an energetic high-five at the door?

What experiences can we create in the art world of Sioux Falls?


Excerpt from Seth Godin’s blog:

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