Monday, October 05, 2009

Struggling Museums Get All Touchy Feely

Was having a bit of a rough day (don't ask), but this just cracked me up right out of it. From The Onion:
Hoping to boost attendance and broaden its base of supporters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art launched a new initiative this week that allows patrons, for the first time ever, to prod and scratch at the classic paintings in its revered collection.

"Though it contains more than two million pieces and represents a profound legacy of artistic achievement, most people remain completely indifferent to our museum," Met director Thomas P. Campbell said. "So we decided to try something a little different and give visitors a chance to experience our timeless works of art up close and personal."

Added Campbell, "Please, bring the whole family and smudge up our paintings as much as you want."

According to Campbell, attendance has increased tenfold since the new policy went into effect, with record turnouts causing 45-minute waits for those wishing to clumsily paw at the works of Vincent van Gogh.

"You can't grasp the brilliance of a great painting just by looking at it," said Phil Brehm, 32, who acknowledged that he hadn't set foot inside a museum since a mandatory field trip in high school. "To truly appreciate fine art, you need to be able to run your fingers over its surface and explore its range of textures."

"Or just rub your face all over it, like I do," Brehm added.

Gerard Schmidt, a retired banker who lives near the Met, said he had never much cared for museums until he was given the chance to manhandle one of Monet's Water Lilies.

"At first it just looked like a picture of a bunch of lily pads, but then I started scraping at it with my pocket knife and the whole painting just sort of spoke to me," Schmidt said. "For the first time, I finally understand what Monet was trying to get across in her work."

Read the whole piece. I burst out laughing several times reading it...good for the disposition.

Labels: humor


Anonymous Gam said...


Maybe if I got a nickel for every time a guard or an alarm has gone off when I got to close to a work of art I could pay the "$2 to ride atop [the} famed brontosaurus skeleton." !

10/06/2009 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger pam farrell said...

Great way to start the day or lift one's mood!
It puts me in mind of my visit to the Rijksmuseum about 20 years ago. I was with an elderly relative and we were working our way through one of the galleries.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the relative leaning over the guard rail, closer, and closer to see one of the paintings (I honestly can't remember which, because I was so transfixed at the site of her). I was holding my breath as she was nose-to-painting with a Vermeer, I think, and as she started to bring her hand up toward the painting, a guard caught site of her and barked something in Dutch. She stepped back calmly, and we resumed making our way through the gallery.
She seemed unfazed (a regular occurrence? I'll never know) but it took me a few minutes to regulate my pulse.

10/06/2009 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...


10/06/2009 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous john yost said...

I was at the Pompidou in France when a loud Italian woman just reached out and fondled one of the futurist marble sculptures they had. She rubbed every inch of that thing while I stood watching in horror. No guards anywhere. She looked up from what she was doing to see the look on my face...a look that translated across the language barrier. She stopped immediately.

10/06/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I know!

As Joanne Mattera wrote in response to my linking to this on facebook:

"I understand that on doggie night, the pets can actually pee on the works--well at least those close to the floor. The conservators are bound and gagged in the basement."

10/06/2009 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, so my "I know!" was in response to Joy's "OMFG" ... just for clarity.

10/06/2009 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger joy said...

I know!


The conservators are bound and gagged in the basement

Shades of A Clockwork Orange... In fact, I can think of a few people up there I'd pay to see bound and gagged. There's a new revenue stream right there.

10/06/2009 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember that Nayland Blake gingerbread house at Matthew Marks? It smelled so good as soon as you walked in the gallery. There was a sign saying DO NOT EAT THE ARTWORK. It wouldn't have occurred to me do such a thing until that saw that sign...

Big mistake. It was shellacked and of course there was no place to spit it out.

I obviously prefer to remain anon.

10/06/2009 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Gam said...

yet when I think of the Moore sculpture in front of (now at the side of) the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, I recall the beauty of the brass exposed metal juxtaposed against the green original patina where all the tourists sit to take their pictures, and then the beauty of the smoothness of the ticket counter stone at the Rodin Museum in Paris worn area by countless purchasers,
the passage of time measured by the passage of people,
pilgrims to the same art works.
graffiti without tags,
the damaged frames that surround so many art works in the museums I visit,

maybe we should let artworks age with the times? The patina's of time like aged wine and cheese...witness to all who pass this way

10/06/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

I've since learned that the doggies can't really pee on the art. Who started that rumor anyway? Can they at least be allowed to sniff the Koons puppy?

Or how about theme nights:
. Bring your fish tank to the Met. Have your picture taken with it next to the shark. The Met will suspend it's no-photos policy, which no tourist has ever once heeded anyway
. Bunz of bronz: Body builders in posedown with the Rodins.
. My favorite: a DIY Whitney Biennial. Bring anything you want. Hang it on a wall or make an installation. Immunity for anyone hides the real curators in the basement.

10/06/2009 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger ArtChick1 said...

I know you will get a hoot out of this...if you haven't seen it before...enjoy, Edward!

Monty Python /YouTube link from

10/07/2009 01:12:00 AM  

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