I went to an art exhibit the other day and when I arrived at the end of it, a girl next to me turned to her group with a puzzled expression and said: “Is this it?”
Granted, it wasn’t that great of an exhibit, but this feeling of bafflement is quite common. ll never forget when a friend of mine told me the thing she enjoyed the least in Italy were the museums.
The thing is: it doesn’t have to be this way. Art can be very moving and uplifting, if we know how to approach it.
Here’s what I’ve done over the years that allowed me to enjoy art more:
1) Keep it simple, sugar
If you feel like you don’t “get” art, you should stay away from modern art. There is a lot to “get” in modern art, so we might as well go for artists from the Renaissance or the Classical period. The beauty and the technique from these paintings will have a much more instantaneous effect on you, so there is no feeling of “not getting” what the hell is going on in the painting.
2) Look for the real thing
I try to see paintings live in museums whenever I can. Reproductions in books and the internet are ok, but you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see the original painting live.
3) The more that you learn…
Once in the museum, fight laziness and read those small explanations next to the paintings and the big ones in the beginning of the exhibitions. Plus, if the museum offers audio guides, use them. I know you have to pay for them, but they are incredibly helpful and interesting. I used one in every big museum I went to and I don’t regret it.
4) Be the king of the pen
Carry a pen and a notepad with you and take notes. It can be anything, like the name of an artist, a sculpture you liked, that one you really hated. Draw details of the painting, if you have an artistic bone in you. It sounds nerdy, but it’s worth it. I revisit my notes much more than the pictures I took in museums.
5) Take your time
You’ve probably seen this: people enter the exhibit and they form a line. Everybody moves at the same pace - the standard 30 seconds on each painting. That’s crazy. When you like a painting, spend more time observing it. When you don’t, walk away.
Artists are so passionate about their creations. Why not approach art with the same passion, or at least with some curiosity?
Now that we are all set, we just need to decide what museum to visit this weekend!