Tuesday, January 3, 2012
I went to the Clark Art Institute today. I initially declined the audio guide, thinking I didn't want to tune out my companions, but on second thought went back for the audio device. I like to learn about what I'm viewing. But more importantly, listening to the commentary forces me to spend more time looking at each individual work. As a TA in grad school, I assisted a professor who required his students to draw any object of their choosing during a museum visit and record the thoughts that occurred to them as they sketched. The exercise forced them to slow down, and by spending more time with the object, to consider many aspects of the work--the materials, design, decoration, use, intended user, etc.--and by extension of all of these aspects, to consider what could be learned about the people who made the object. This is a useful lesson for anyone who enjoys museum exhibits, whether art or cultural objects. I am reminded, within my art, to consider my own choices thoughtfully and thoroughly.