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Am I a Barbarian, Or Are Museums Pretentious?

Do you like going to museums?  I don’t think I do.  I like the idea of museums as a place to gather while exposed to creativity.  I enjoy art.  I appreciate appreciating things.  But museums are so quiet and sterile.  They kind of take the life out of the art. You are expected to be a poised and unmoved observer as you examine and judge what someone has poured their soul into.  It is a weird context.  Oh, here is a bunch of shit- look at it all at the same time, value it, understand it, be cultured and sophisticated about it… but do so in a soft whisper.  I had to find out the hard way it is frowned upon to say “fuck that cool” loud enough for anyone to hear.

If you go to museum with someone, you are expected to have some complex academic answer for why you like what you like.  Forget that fact that art is totally subjective and maybe you just like Picasso because you are into the color blue.  If I were to say, “I like this because it is pretty” or “I don’t like that because it is ugly” I would not be valued as a good museum partner.

But maybe I am coming at this wrong?  Perhaps I am slightly traumatized from my childhood experiences with museums.  That being that every birthday from 4 to 12 my parents forced me to go to one.  I personally don’t know many 7-year olds who voluntarily want to spend their birthday at the museum rather than eating cake while watching a demented clown make balloon animals, but I guess my parents did.  I remember walking around for hours and wondering how long I had to stand there for people to think I did a good job of looking at the painting.

So when The Munch and I went to Boston for the day, my mom and dad decided they wanted to spend some time with her…. And take her to the Museum of Fine Arts.

Toni: “Mom, are you sure that is where you want to bring her? You don’t want to go to the aquarium or park or something?”

My Mom: “Oh don’t be ridiculous Toni.  You loved going to the museum as a kid.”

I feel you Munch

museum-blog-(i)