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17 September 2020

Don't try to cover the whole art museum

by Rachel Shu

Status: finished
Meaningfulness: representative of this blog

For some reason, I think a lot of people feel an obligation to visit every painting in an art museum. Worse, many people are probably turned off from going to art museums by previous experiences where they tried to appreciate every painting and inevitably came out bored, overloaded, and exhausted.

Obviously, I am about to suggest doing the opposite. Find the few artworks in the museum that jump out at you, and spend time with them. If they turn out to mean nothing to you, keep moving until you find one that does.

Apply Sturgeon’s law: 90% of everything is crap. Okay, it’s probably not crap to someone, or else it wouldn’t be in the museum. But you can still free yourself up from feeling an obligation to appreciate every work in there. Figure out which 10% you want to care about, and treat the rest lightly.

Likewise, don’t move on from a work until you’re done with it, even if there’s more to see. It’s far better to be fascinated by the third painting you see and leave the rest unseen than to lose the chance to appreciate something you like because of a little FOMO.

Alternately, take in all the works quickly, and then come back around for the ones you actually want to revisit.

tags: art

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