Friday, September 27, 2013

Museum Musings

Yesterday I visited the Louvre, a place I have not been to since I studied abroad in college. While living in London for 6 months, studying theatre and acting full-time, I was only conveniently able to travel for one week during spring break. One of my best friends and I spent a couple days in Florence, and a couple of days in Paris, during which time I made sure we saw as many of the sights as humanly possible. The major flaw in my plan to revisit this museum yesterday was that it slowly turned into one of the warmest and sunniest days I've experienced here in several weeks. The other slightly more subtle flaw was the fact that, let's just put it out there right now, I get bored at museums a lot faster than I like to admit...

There seems to be some sort of a disconnect between my love of the beautiful, my love of history, and my general reaction to physically being in a museum. I desperately want to be the type of person who loves art and I certainly enjoy perusing... for a short time... But while browsing about can be interesting and aesthetically pleasing, I really don't want to think about it all very much. I absolutely marvel at people who can stare at a painting for hours, absorbed in its many layers of nuance and find cultural fulfillment in that way. Perhaps the sensory overload sparks my emerging ADD and just makes it impossible to focus. Because while I do enjoy the idea of it all, the actual immersion tends to bore me pretty quickly. This does not apply to all museums, as one of my favorite, Musee D'Orsay did not bore me or unnerve my tranquility via masses of tourists. However, I still felt that while loving impressionism and adoring the study of art history that surrounds that era, I was quite content to glance at a painting and let its worth fleetingly touch my neuroses while I moved on to something else. 

I am sorry to compare museums to malls, but here are the similarities... There are often too many people in both, there are many lines for sought after items as well as bathrooms, the air circulation isn't good, it is full of annoying people in addition to interesting folk, and you are on your feet for many hours. The larger either one gets, the more difficult and overwhelming to maneuver, leaving you feeling hungry and systematically compelled to buy overpriced food and merchandise. In terms of museums, if you are lucky you leave enriched by positive culture, history, and experience, but with a mall, you might leave with a really pretty dress. Pick your poison...

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