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.
(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.
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.