Why Do People Go to Museums?

Once upon a time museums were places to see exhibitions. To look at pieces of art if the museum is an art museum.
Then somebody invented the digital camera.
Then cameras were integrated into cell phones.
Then we got the iPad.
A side effect of these modern comforts – I definitely don’t want to miss them – is that we take more photos because taking a photo doesn’t cost any money. We can take as much photos as we want to and we do it.
So today people don’t seem to go to art museums to look at pieces of art, to enjoy them, to admire them, to think about them but to take photos of them and – that’s what really spoils it – to have their photo taken in front of them. It is disgusting. It is a collective selfishness. I radically think museums should not allow photography in the exhibitions. Why do they?
I do admit that I do take photos as well. I take photos in museums occasionally. When I am sure that my taking pics doesn’t bother other people. And yes, I should not do that consequently.

I had big plans for today – but little energy.
I wanted to get up at 5am to do something I don’t want to mention – yet. Not before I really did it, if I ever manage to. It was clear I would not do it today when I got in my bed at 1am.
Then I finally wanted to join the Grand Central walk at 12:30pm. My knee said no. No walking today.
Last I wanted to go to MoMa to see ‘American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe’. I at least did that.

MoMa has free admission every Friday after 4pm. You just have to stand in line for it. I arrived late because I had to deal with some organizational difficulties. At 4:15 the line covered about two blocks. The museum guy at the end of it said it would take 30 minutes to get in. But the line moved fast and it took not much more than 10 minutes.
‘American Modern ‘is a small exhibition but shows good work. Good even for people like me, who are not able to see something in an ensemble of blurs of color. Having seen it I went upstairs to have a look at the current exhibition of paintings from 1880-1940. That’s where the impressionists are and some more Hoppers and Picasso and Miro. And all those people with their cameras or smart phones or iPads. Using their technology instead of their senses. When a woman asked me if I could take her photo in front of Monet’s water lilies my anger burst and I told her no, I would not do that because this is a museum, not a photo studio. I felt sorry for my reaction afterwards. Even if I refused I should not have been unfriendly.

I took a train to the Strand and bought the three books then. The ones I could not buy yesterday. As I had no proper lunch I felt terribly hungry when I stepped out of the store and passed all the food carts on Broadway. I opted for just a smoothie – banana, pineapple and spinach – because I felt like treating me to a good Italian dinner in Greenwich Village.

The restaurant I was looking for was no longer there. Still googleable though. I ended up in a place called ‘Da Marcella’ on West Houston Street because the napkins looked nice and they had a table available outside. It was a hit. I had meatballs in a tomato sauce and ravioli filled with spinach and mascarpone in a sauce of wild mushrooms and sage. Two glasses of Pinot Grigio with it. Absolutely delicious.
When I googled the place back home I read that it follows the cooking ideas of two Marcellas, one of them still alive and cooking at 89. Part of that ideas is to use organic produce, free range chicken and meat from animals that were not fed antibiotics. This had not been an issue in the Marcellas’ time – because what we now call organic was just normal then. Having read that I liked my dinner even more.
In a country where cheese can be artificial the idea of organic food appears much more important to me than at home where cheese at least is cheese.

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One Response to Why Do People Go to Museums?

  1. Sadie DeSimone says:

    Maria, when I was reading this I thought at first I was reading Kate Gale. I was thinking, Gee, these two women could easily run into each other and not know it. THEN I saw that it was your blog and not hers. BTW, I feel the same way about photos in front of famous beautiful or historical sites. I always think the smiling faces in front of these places are ridiculous. But, to be honest I ‘be done it too. NOTE: Most museums I’ve visited discourage taking photos. Maybe just flashes. Xoxo

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