Museum Fatigue is a well-known sickness. Attacking its victims when they are at their weakest; while they are in need of inspiration. Walking around a museum, a gallery or sitting for three hours in an experimental music concert is exhausting. Last week I caught a friend snoring at a Pina Bausch’s performance. His plea for innocence was: ” It’s a museum piece!” in other words- boring and irrelevant. A teenage daughter of a friend told us she saw an “arty concert” at school. When we asked for more information she replied, ‘I set for two hours in a dark cold hall listening to “Ploop. Ploop, Ploop biiiiiiiiiiii” sounds. Isn’t that art?’
Here are seven quick tips to make your next museum visit an experience to remember with gladness rather than exhaustion.
- Eat first, look at art later; walking around for hours can make even the greatest art lover tired, hungry and hangry. There is so much to see, but you don’t get any snacks in between. Eat before your visit, or take a break at the museum’s restaurants.
Warning: don’t eat too much. Nobody can look at art seriously with a full stomach.
- Bring a friend- how often do we have the same conversations about the same topics with our friends? Experiencing a museum together can bring new life into a friendship. Warning: Choose the exhibition wisely. What kind of connection do you want to make? Do you want to take your friend to the Museum of Science or Death?
- Friends can be a huge interruption in a museum. They walk too slow or reach the exit by the time you are still checking your second painting. A museum visit can be time for you alone. Just like an urban oasis amidst the mundane duties, a place where you lose yourself with reconciling thoughts.
- Take your time- the average museum visitor spends 14 seconds looking at an art piece. Understandable; we need to move fast; there is so much to see! But why?!
Nobody expects us to eat the whole menu in a restaurant, no matter how fancy it is. Why should we look at each and every painting in a museum? You can also scan the exhibition, find one work that seduces you and spent some time with it. The thoughts that come up after looking at a painting for half an hour are pretty radical.
- Listen to music- Music makes the world magical. It gives the chance to be alone even in the middle of a crowed. Try to connect with the same artwork while listening different kind of music. You will find different worlds in the same painting.
- Take an audio tour- the first time I realize how important an audio tour while visiting the 19th century exhibition. There were many paintings of 19th-century streets, people, and other scenes. Nothing caught my eyes. So I started reading the text underneath a painting of a really boring woman. It said: “A woman in Champs Elysee at night; the subject of the painting might be a prostitute or a lesbian woman searching for another woman. The way lesbians were communicating with each other in that period was by making noises”(a bit like Italian guys do now).
- Special Events- In the 1970tis curators had the notion that art should speak for itself. According to them, this should take place preferably in big halls painted white, with no windows and especially nowhere to sit. I have the notion that art as well as artist love parties, music, fun and drinks. The New York metropolitan gives cocktail parties monthly, Moma hosted Kraftwerk concerts and Van Gogh’ open its doors with interesting program every Friday till 22.00. Looking at art after hours with a cocktail in hand is a good way to enjoy art.
- Read, watch films gather information- Art is a language. Just like any other language a big vocabulary helps understanding what is said to you.