Wandering the Gallery: Survey before evaluate

This next Thanksgiving week, my wife and I will be traveling back to our old stomping grounds in Northwest Arkansas. I was hoping to visit the recently completed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (funny video announcing their opening) if we could squeeze it into our trip. Sadly, you need to reserve tickets to get in before January, and the day we’ll be down there is already sold out. Regardless, the opportunity started me thinking about my own gallery experiences again.

I’ve recently come to realize that I like to survey an exhibit or gallery before intently viewing individual works. I’m trying to decide if this is just a part of who I am or if it’s an unfortunate symptom of a culture too fast paced for its own good. Maybe some of both.

Of course, this means that some of the time I don’t get back to viewing individual works. I’m curious to hear how other people approach a museum of art, if they’ve ever thought through it.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

One Response to Wandering the Gallery: Survey before evaluate

  1. Julie says:

    My viewing threshold before I’m overloaded is about three hours. Giving my careful attention to every-single-thing means that I spend my energy on works that aren’t particularly exciting to me. The best way for me to view a large collection is to make several visits over several days. For me it’s necessary to accept letting many works pass by so that a few might be absorbed.

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