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Wednesday, February 17. 2021
According to the article below, Manet was the first artist to aspire to have his work placed in a museum. In my view, there are a few of his I'd enjoy as our living room decor but we are out of wall space anyway...
I am ambivalent about art and cultural museums. You get to walk around in a strange reverent hush and look at pictures that you could never afford to hang in your living room.
What is the greatest art museum in the world? By all accounts, NYC's Metropolitan Museum. Lots of other wonderful ones (I've been to most of 'em) around the western world to visit, but the Met's scope and abundance is overarching.
As you know, my limit is one hour just to see a show or a few things I want to look at. Otherwise I get "museum brain". I had some excellent art history classes in high school and college, not to mention books and the good things from Great Courses. Still, a semi-illiterate with Fine Art. I like to look at all of it, cool pictures.
Addendum: Re the Met, I wish they would show a mock-up of the Greek guys - the ones with their penises broken off - with the original Greek paint on them. These were not made as "art". More like Tussaud's or Disney. Wish I knew whether Michelangelo knew that the Greek stuff had been realistically painted.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:57 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
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Well, biased, since my relatives were museum people but I think the main purpose is NOT to provide backdrop for idle rich and celebrities (Met gala) but to entrance children and inspire them by beauty and talent on display. American cities and suburbs are so ugly (tho our natural landscapes earn us America the beautiful) that kids benefit from being wowed by one beautiful thing after another.
My family never directed us, they just let us loose with some strict behavioral guidelines, to look at what we liked. Above all they didn’t tell us wh were the masterpieces or what to rank how. Just go look, and tell adults what you see and admire. I do this now w grandkids.
People hate and are bored by things they are told to admire and given pompous interpretations of. But just let them look...I remember seeing some school kids at the Prado, I think they were the same school trip that was in Madrid from Andalusia, at my B and B, first time away fr home for some...their teacher was asking them to tell stories about various paintings and point out things they noticed. They were completely engrossed.
For myself, I love museums, because I’m not a billionaire and will never have such art on my own walls. And why would you hog a truly beautiful work of art anyway? Shouldn’t everyone be able to enjoy?
Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals and even small parish churches were wowing our peasant ancestors in the same way. God is to be found, reached for through beauty more then thru dreary Puritan sermons. Imagine grubbing like a Monty Python peasant in mud all week, then seeing a stained glass window and hearing a choir: stirs the soul.
Museums potentially can be the same. In many countries they were built rather patronizingly to “elevate” the exploited populace. But at their best museums are democratic: sharing art w everyone instead of leaving it to be privately gloated over by tyrants, robber barons, drug lords or insider traders...and what kind of art gets hoarded anyway? I remember being rather repulsed by those rows of statues of beautiful boys being kept in the papal galleries of the Vatican, like trophies...
But I think many Americans hate museums because stupid teachers and precious prating academics mystify art and make it something one needs them to “properly” understand. They spoil it and keep people at a distance, in the same way as pompous theologians drive people away from Jesus w dogma and judgment...this is not to say everyone’s picture is great, or that anything except quality should matter...but people don’t have to use jargon to see something glorious and transformative or droll in a museum.
I agree about limiting one’s time in a museum. An hour or two, then go for a hike or have a coffee and reflect on what one has seen. Taking tons of pictures can help if allowed because one can then look harder after the visit and see things one missed when the grumpy guard nagged to stand further away...
While the great museums like the Met are fantastic, I have always liked small, local museums w art and artifacts important to that particular area. Usually the curators live there and tell you things you could never learn anywhere else. In the US we were struck by that museum in VA on the site of the battle of the lost shoes. In Portugal, a tiny local museum w beautiful collection of nursing madonnas and child...my point is, you learn more from someone who loves their own regional history than from an academic.
The Canadian taxpayers paid $1.8 million for this shite:
I have no desire to pay more money to see this kind of crap...
Elevate? No. This degrades the meaning of 'art' so that anything, like my last bowel movement, can be considered art...
Oops. Speaking of crap... Already done...
Never been to to the museum in New York City, so can't comment on it. The best art museum that I have been to is the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. Two hours of wandering around and just barely scratched the surface of what they had there to see. Then another couple of hours at their storage facility, again just scratching the surface. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of it.
Another great art museum we toured is in downtown Dresden, Germany. Again, not nearly enough time to see everything that was there. Just an hour or so. Both trips courtesy of Viking Cruises.
I've been to the Met, and also to the Louvre and the Prado. In some ways I liked the Prado best, because they have enormous family portraits, done in oil. Some of those paintings are ten feet wide, and ten feet tall. It's really nice to spend a day looking at the paintings of families. I suppose the painters (if they were smart) made the people look a little better than they did in real life, but the level of detail is amazing. They put everything in there; the dogs and cats, the servants, the booze, the food, you name it. It's almost like time travel. But sadly, the Prado has fallen ill, like the rest of the world. Their new exhibition is "Very angry women of the Renaissance."
And whenever anybody talks about the beautiful paintings in Spain or France, people always say that they would like to visit those places, but it's too expensive. So the kids never get to see what those Frenchies were up to, when they weren't busy chopping-off heads. (Make no mistake however, the kids would love to see some chopping-off of heads.) Anyway, there's no reason to deny the kids. Local artists could make perfect copies of every single famous painting, and then send collections around the world, for local people to see. But that creates an intellectual property problem. The Louvre, believe it or not, claims copyright "ownership" of thousands of old paintings. So sending duplicates of the Mona Lisa around the world would be a copyright violation. But the Louvre, and the Met, and the Prado don't own jack-shit. There can't be any copyright claims on paintings which are hundreds of years old. But there can be greedy malicious lawyers, who would deny our children an education, by trying to steal our collective past. So remember: Don't screw with the National Gallery in London. They own everything, unconditionally.