From the New York Times: At Louvre, Many Stop to Snap, but Few Stay to Focus, by Michael Kimmelman:
...[T]ourists now wander through museums, seeking to fulfill their lifetime’s art history requirement in a day, wondering whether it may now be the quantity of material they pass by rather than the quality of concentration they bring to what few things they choose to focus upon that determines whether they have “done” the Louvre. It’s self-improvement on the fly.
I've always had a hard time going to galleries with other people. I like to go at my own particular pace. Sometimes I want to spend a long time with pieces that draw me in, and other times, I just want to whirl through. I'm not very adventuresome in my artistic tastes. I was one of those freshman college kids who had Monet posters on her wall, and it took me years to appreciate Picasso and Pollack. These days, I still gravitate toward the Italian Renaissance artists.
Bede and I are pretty fortunate in that our ways of visiting galleries are compatible. When we went to Italy for our honeymoon, we realized that the Uffizi gallery in Florence was so overwhelming that we would have to find a focal point in order to be able to begin to appreciate the treasures before us. That was when we decided to look out for Mary Magdalene in art. I wrote about this "I Spy" exercise four years ago in the blog post Magdalene in Florence and Rome.
What about you? How do you experience art? Do you prefer the ajoining gift shop? Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., my favorite gift shop was the one in the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History because of its fabulous collections of paper-dolls. The Smithsonian Natural History museum's gift shop was great, too, because of all the stones and bones.