The Art of Viewing People Viewing Art

I thought I would share my thoughts from my visit at the Museum of Fine Arts (located in Boston) during the magazines holiday hiatus. Of course, I went there about week prior to when the State House time capsule decided to be historical amaze-balls and is now currently at the MFA (I cheated and looked at the content of the capsule online). Nonetheless, the trip was great and not just for the art but for the people watching. After getting lost in Boston, as I often do because I forget I don’t live in the city sometimes (a gal can wish, can’t she?), I found the beautiful structure of the MFA in my view, waiting to be explored, both the paintings and sculptures, whether made from stone or from flesh. Below I discovered four amazing groups of museum goers:

The Art Experts You Mistake for Employees but In Fact Are Just Down Right Art Badassness
Collection site: Everywhere, and surprisingly in the coat line

The dazzling art experts with their sophisticated demeanor and strength in analyzing art could belong behind the glass itself. They appear as interesting as they speak, and for some reason, look like a different breed of human. They must come in herds because a majority of these art connoisseurs were in line ready to check in their coats. Aside from the coat herd was an older woman with one of those thick silk, handmade-design-from-some-dynasty scarf. Those same scarves they sell in museum gift shops but aren’t authentic, yet still will run you over a hundred bucks easy.

The Parents Trying to Culture Their Kids
Collection sites: The Ancient World; Asia
Two sets of parents trying to culture their kids caught my eye, mostly because the first group was utterly in my way in the Ancient Egyptian exhibit. With the help of an MFA guide, the kids were sprawled onto the floor drawing some of the art being viewed. My first thought (after hoping they would get out of the way) was, ‘what a great move for the parents to expose their kids to art rather than sticking an iPad or TV in their face.’ The second group was a woman and her daughter whose age was…I don’t know ages well. I only know ‘infant, non-infant baby age, 10, 13, 16 18, 21, mid-20s, 30 or over, mom age (40’s) and seiner citizen. Anyway, I was in the Asia collection and noticed the risqué ancient art depicting…well…inappropriate images for kids, yet there entered a women and her child far too young to be in this collection. Yes, it is art but it was pretty graphic, like ancient porno-graphic. I was judging hardcore, even if the attempt was to culture one’s spawn.

The Aged and Wise Old Men Glad to Be Out of the House
Collection Site: Ticket Line; Contemporary
My first encounter with someone within the walls of what I call my creative church, sanctuary, home, was an old man waiting in line with his daughter (she had to be in her 30s or 40s). He joked with me, trying to ‘sell’ me a free pamphlet. Then I heard how he never gets to go out much anymore except when his daughter brings him. Then he kept going on and on…and on. I loved every minute of it because I can imagine him much more quiet and gray in whatever retirement home he’s been in, but within the walls of the MFA, life ignites in him once again. The second was an older gentleman in the contemporary section. I sat looking at a colorful large gate made from pipes. He sat next to me: two generations, decades apart. I can’t quiet remember what we spoke about regarding the art. He sat up and walked around, speaking a few words to other people. The way he was dressed, I wasn’t sure if he worked at the MFA or not. Either way, for some reason he made an impression on me and despite trying, I can’t remember what the heck we spoke about.

The Drive-by Art Viewers or Art Selfie Youngsters
Collection Site: Everywhere…
Art must be consumed, and how it can be by walking by with a half glance is just impossible. Within the MFA, there were quite a few people glancing and walking, stopping every once in a while (usually at the exhibit I am heading for), sometimes to have a selfie with the art. No comment needed for the rest of this type of museum goer, because at least they are going and that supports the MFA!

Bonus: The following few photos I snuck (later finding out it was okay to take pictures in the contemporary section of the Museum). Enjoy!


This post is by Editor-in-Chief S. McClory


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