Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

MoMA Observations……..

In 2011 the throngs of people visiting the great museums like the MOMA seem more concerned about taking cell phone photographs of the great art hanging in the galleries than they are about truly LOOKING and APPRECIATING the art itself.

Museum visitors used to stand close to the great paintings and other works of art to scrutinize the brush work and at least make an attempt to analyze and try to understand the WHY behind great art.

It seems these days most people stand back from the art in order to get a good cell phone photograph of that Van Gogh or Picasso painting. As I walked around the MOMA in NYC I noticed this kind of flowing rhythm with the crowd of museum goers just meandering from painting to painting pulling out cell phones and taking grab shots and then moving on to the next famous work of art. There was no real attention payed to the art itself – just take the photo and move on to the next painting or sculpture.

I found this behavior very interesting to observe and I suppose a statement about our digital “cell phone” culture so I whipped out my cell phone and photographed people photographing art at the MOMA. So many people are so absorbed with their cell phones they don’t seem to be able to “step-out” of that mode and enjoy the art itself up close and personal. I am not making judgments here – just an observation. So what is more important…enjoying a few moments truly looking at the real thing or using those precious seconds photographing Starry Night for example to send to a friend in Kentucky or Mom and Dad in California.

The one thing I love about going to art museums like the MOMA is not only getting to immerse myself in the great art – it also fuels my imagination and is an inspiration for my own art making. It’s like a creative jolt! So next time you visit a museum…I suppose its ok to shoot photos of the art, but in addition to that take a moment to really look at it after you get that photo and send it off to Uncle Joe in Cleveland.


5 comments on “MoMA Observations……..

  1. hazel
    July 18, 2011

    This is a most wonderful comment on those “black ear rings”. I have also seen this happening in museums. I wonder if they know what they saw (or should have seen) there.

  2. keoughp
    July 18, 2011

    Yes. Hazel…I just found it absolutely fascinating how throngs of museum goers were not really LOOKING at the art – they were just taking “grab shots “cell phone photos of it and then moving on to the next painting. Interesting statement on our digital culture I think.

  3. souldiaries
    July 20, 2011

    i once went on an amazing holiday in which my friend insisted we take absolutely no photos but just enjoy everything and be in the moment. it was wonderful, i really did remember stuff so clearly. of course, i now do wish i had photos, the wonderful triggers of memory. perhaps one cans trike a balance between being completely in the moment and in capturing the moment?

  4. photocrazy81
    July 20, 2011

    I always wondered why people do that. I mean, I might take a picture and send it to someone that I know probably really wanted to see it. But then I take a few minutes to appreciate it, especially if it is a painting, because lord knows I don’t have the skills that painters have. 😀

  5. dawn
    July 25, 2011

    this is such a timely post, patrick…i just got back from NYC and was commenting to steve about how blown away i was that the newest and greatest thing people like to do at museums now it seems, is to not only take a cell phone image, but to stand next to the painting as well! there was little or no time spent on just taking in the canvas, but more the sport of taking as many pictures of the art as they possibly could. it really made me kind of sad….

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This entry was posted on July 17, 2011 by in ArT, Keough Journal and tagged , , , .
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