For those of you new to the art-viewing, museum-going experience, do you feel unsure what to see first? If so, I can make a few suggestions. I've come up with three areas that I think are particularly accessible and enjoyable to new viewers. You'll find them in most major museums, and they also happen to be among my favorites.
Over Christmas break, I saw Agents of Faith: Votive Objects in Time and Place at the Bard College Graduate Center Gallery in Manhattan. The show's almost over, so instead of writing a review, I thought I would tell you what votives are and what I learned about them in the show.
Somebody recently asked me why most museums display only a small portion of their collections. The obvious answer is that museums have limited exhibition space, but that raises many more questions. Why do museums own so much more than they could ever hope to exhibit? Why do they keep all the objects they don't use? In this article, I'll do my best to present some of the relevant ideas as I've observed them on my art history adventures.
For anyone who's ever felt frustrated or unsure in an art museum, here are a few strategies to make museum visits more enjoyable and fulfilling.
Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington D.C. was the home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. She was a great hostess, philanthropist, and art collector. Her home is gorgeous and filled with treasures.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is located in Richmond, Virginia. Its highlights include the McGlothlin collection of American art, the Gans collection of English silver, and works by Faberge.
Want to enjoy great architecture from your couch? I recently discovered a host of virtual tours of famous works of architecture. How cool is that? While you can never truly experience a place from a computer screen, it's nice to have the option when travelling to the site in person isn't in your schedule (or budget). All of the tours listed are 360° experiences, not just pictures.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a small art museum on the campus of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The museum contains a little bit of everything, but its claim to fame is probably its many Hudson River School paintings. The rest of the collection ranges from ancient to contemporary works in small quantities.
If you've been around the art world for a while, chances are that you've heard the term "provenance". If so, you've probably gotten the sense that it is important, but you may not know what it is or why it matters. Provenance is an artwork's history of ownership, and it help you determine if a work is genuine and honest.
The Cloisters is a museum of medieval art, but I think it's more than that. To me, it's also a sort of medieval fantasy land (in a good way). The museum building is neo-medieval structure that incorporates genuine pieces of Romanesque and Gothic architecture within it. Spending time there is a little like being transported to another time and place.