It’s not, really. I don’t think so, at least. But there’s a problem with how we look at art, how we approach it.

There’s no embrace. Museums are stiff and strangely dry, with no humidity. Barriers prevent us from deviating from the curator’s path. Glass traps the paintings permanently in their frames—an invisible barrier preventing us from ever getting close to the art. From touching it, feeling it, licking it. Docents and guards constantly surveying us, stopping us from taking photos, or using selfie sticks, or of talking too loud. Museums have too many rules. And they’ve made our art boring.

Art is Boring

(Not all museums, by the way—but even with incredible changes to how museums are built, designed and curated, so many of them are still so strangely stuffy).

We should be able to see art, to sometimes touch it. How can we feel any connection to the world? Art is a way to connect to the world, and yet so much of our art (and it is our art, not theirs, not yours—but ours) is unreachable.

Why can’t we laugh in museums? Why can’t we take silly selfies in front of art, our tongues sticking out, our hands in the air? Art is not boring and yet, we as a society, have made it so. We’ve trapped incredible artists behind glass boxes, with arbitrary rules governing decibel levels, lights, flashes, sounds, photos, selfies, pens & pencils.

I love art. I think it has this incredible power to change our world. It can move us—as individuals, or as a collective society. It can even topple governments. Art is so often a window to something else. And yet we’ve allowed museums and galleries and collectors to prevent us from ever opening those windows.

Museums are Boring

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy art museums. There are many fantastic ones around the world. And without so many wonderful curators and collectors, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy much of the art that is created—the masterpieces and the newer, more contemporary (and sometimes crazy) art. But at the same time, we’ve allowed museums too much control.

They’ve taken our art.

They’ve curated our world.

And our world, our art—it’s not meant to be curated. It’s meant to be experienced—however that may be. It’s an individual, personal choice.

Let’s take back our art, our museums. And take some selfies.

Museum Selfie

Museum Selfie

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10 comments

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  1. Hi adam,
    I agree. I think everybody has an access to art at different levels, from the street, to galleries to museum with a different level of commitment, and access to the communities it is supposed to federate. When you go to a museum, the community behind the canvas, and by extension the ideas the artist are expressing are of course a bit less tangible. If you are still in Berlin and love to get in touch with new communities and artists, come see us in the ballery, we love to organize joyful events around art.

  2. There seems to be a very different approach to art over here in São Paulo. Many of the more popular exhibits and installations are selfie fodder for a lot of my Facebook friends! Actually, there was one exhibition I didn’t get to go to…but I didn’t mind. This was because I actually felt like I’d been, there were so many pictures of the place on my Facebook wall!

    I’m not sure if this is a São Paulo thing or a wider Brazilian/Latin American thing. But it is interesting to see people interact with the displays here, especially when I’m used to the stuffier, more European attitude when it comes to appreciating with art in museums.

    • Interesting insight, Andrew! I imagine there are a lot of cultural differences at play in how we interact with art in museums. Not really surprising to me to hear how it works in Sao Paolo

  3. Yes some museums are boring but there are others that are really trying to get out of the box and reach a new target demographic especially with programs like Adults only nights, wine & cheese socials, DJs and bands and booze. I’ve been to a museum with a themed event on different types of dance around the different open spaces and they were a blast. Just need to find those cool options and special events or nights when these happen and I’m sure Berlin has a lot of those going on.

  4. Matt from Vt ( the Goof)

    Sorry for the above post, I’m kind of out of it and meant’ no disrespect at all. I truly enjoy your blogs. Many European musuems had guards that would hollor at you if you got too close or where being to noisy..Shsssh.I wasn’t going to take it..Whoops..prob shouldn’t say stuff like that.. I’ll keep quiet.. sorry for being annoying.. I”m just lonely..i guess, haha.. hope your having fun Adam Cheers..Hugz, Matt

  5. Matt from Vt ( the Goof)

    your’re so right Adam, Museums can be deadly boring if the atmosphere and welcome parts are off. They should have a theme and flow smoothly..(ambien is kicking ing so m typing is turning to shit) so..I love Museums myself and they need to be interactive and some parts fun but with a message. You can always go to the greats to see David (amazing,no need for improvment there) We should start a beer museum with cultural stuff but explore pubs and things..while sampling the wears..eating great foood, having a fhucking blast. maybe look at a pic on the wall, one with beer in it.. or something. i’m a wreck, I have to go..thanks for being so cute and sweet and kind to me Adam, your an awesome blogger and writer, your way smarter than I am..Cheers..pass me another brew please. twyl, i hope :)

    • Haha, okay thanks for this comment Matt. I agree there is so much potential with museums – we need to make them more exciting and interesting and available for everyone, that’s how we make art more important and more useful for our world.

      • Matt from Vt ( the Goof)

        I so agree Adam, If Museums were somehow more interactive and allowed people to get access they would also benefit themselves.. Its cool to see not only the masterpieces but eclectic art, though some of it is out there,haha..its all very interesting and could be more inviting (the buildings that is).. What are your favorite museums? I did get to see the David in Florence..I love the detail and was amazed at what a creation..perfect in many ways.. Cheers :) Matt

  6. Caroline Soelver

    You are SO right! I, as well, went to the Martin Gropius Bau this weekend (and managed to snap 26 photos before someone caught me, lol!). The art was amazing but the whole approach to it is awful as you point out in this post… Loosen it up a little bit please, and let is enjoy and embrace it however we want to. I mean that is art as well?

    • Ahh so great to hear that from you Caroline. It’s funny – I wrote this while sitting on a bench at the Martin Gropius Bau in the Mondrian exhibition. I watched so many people take photos and the whole exhibition, while really great, felt so stuffy and cold—I just thought it was weird!

      Funny you got so many photos!

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