How To Visit a Museum

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I’m going to begin a cutey little catchy theme called, Lifewhack! I have mounds of extremely helpful knowledge to share with all of you, and I simply cannot keep it contained any longer.

First up, in the wake of visiting MOMA in NY, I will educate you in the fine art of experiencing fine art.

What to wear: I cannot stress the importance of wearing black to an art museum. Do I really have to explain this one? I mean, just stop reading now if you don’t understand this rule. And s’il vous plait, don’t wear your back pack on the front of your body. This will cause someone’s husband to whisper to his wife that you are carrying your artificial heart in there, and you will be laughed at.

You vs. the Security Guards: Security guards are there for one reason: to make it impossible for you to experience art in the manner you desire. You need to keep a constant eye trained on those pesky fun-killers, especially when you are feeling the paintings. Flash photography will be a little harder to conceal, so here’s a tip: If you whip a small object, such as a metal ball or syringe across the gallery to the opposite wall, the guards will be temporarily flummoxed- just long enough for you to snap away. (This would be an opportune time to lick the painting as well.)

Bring a point and shoot camera to:

  • capture people pretending to be interested in the art
  • document fashions you like
  • make fun of people, and
  • as proof that you saw famous paintings

Important Tips:

If you have taken an art history class, feel free to explain to the person you are with everything you know about a specific painting. Strike a casual pose, lean in, and use your hands to expound on things like: composition, proportion, and symbolism. You can bank on getting tons of sex that night.

If you notice a lonely scarf on the ground, give it a wide berth. It’s obviously a conceptual installation piece and should therefore be given its due pondering.

Lastly, If you notice something that is incongruent to your sacred visual experience, notify someone immediately! Whether it’s an ugly person or simply a dust bunny lolling across a platform, you must help to preserve the sanctity of museums. I suggest not only sharing your concerns with each and every security guard you encounter, but also taking the time to pen a letter explaining just what you, as a visitor to the museum, are willing to endure should you decide to ever visit the place again.


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  1. 11/08/2011 / 5:58 am

    Looks like people were more interested in the blizzard outside. Love the heart in the backpack comment.

    • 11/08/2011 / 9:09 am

      Yes, at any given time, there were as many people looking at the blizzard as looking at the art. It was funny- and bizarre; the next day was beautiful.

  2. 11/08/2011 / 6:10 am

    My brother and I used to go to the modern art museum in Chicago (uhh, I forgot the name because it's been so long) and see how much of the modern art we could move around before getting in trouble and/or people noticing it was "wrong." We…never got caught. (This is the most illegal thing I ever did. Could I be nerdier?)

    • 11/08/2011 / 9:08 am

      It's the MCA, woman.That may be the best thing I have ever read that anyone's ever done. Did you get to see any of it put back the way it was supposed to be? Wow, I live here and I haven't been there in about 10 years. oops!

  3. 11/08/2011 / 7:15 am

    You big city folks just ooze cool….
    oh and cute scarf… Ihope you picked it up and loudly announced that you were taking it to lost and found while secretly plopping it in your frontpack.
    So happy to hear you will be blogging daily -yay!

    • 11/08/2011 / 9:04 am

      Yeah, cool is something I have in DROVES. That was sort of a cute scarf- it's funny how people were keeping soooo far away from it.

  4. 11/08/2011 / 7:19 am

    Oooh Tutorial Tuesdays! I like it. And maybe he DID have an artificial heart in that bag…

    • 11/08/2011 / 9:03 am

      That would be a pretty giant heart. I wish I had walked over and hugged it.

  5. 11/08/2011 / 8:15 am

    You didn't! That's hilarious! How old were you when you perpetrated these crimes against Art? (Notice the capital "a" there – I'm not talking about a dude named Arthur, either.)

  6. 11/08/2011 / 8:17 am

    I needed this information 5 years ago when I went to the Louvre. All I had was a very cranky 3-year-old, my mother-in-law, and no French language skills.

    • 11/08/2011 / 9:02 am

      Ooooh, a 3 year old at the Louvre must have made for an interesting time. That's why snacks are golden. (Unless you just let her play with some art like some people with blogs about about chickens do….)

  7. 11/09/2011 / 7:16 am

    This is exceedingly heplful and I'm looking forward to more of the new Tutorial Tuesdays feature! If only I'd had this when I went to MoMA my visit would have been much smoother. I totally failed to recognize the installation art "fallen scarf." Next time I will not make the same mistake.

  8. 11/09/2011 / 12:35 pm

    I love this post, SO FUNNY!!! I just recently went to an art museum so I can relate especially you vs. the security guards!

  9. 11/10/2011 / 5:06 am

    Yes, security guards are sort of scary sometimes.

  10. 11/10/2011 / 6:42 am

    cute and funny! We visited an art museum recently in Boston and I thought I was just being cranky, but you have now helped me to realize that it was, in fact, those pesky museum "wardens" who turned my mood a little sour while there. (I mean it certainly wasn't the art!)

  11. 11/10/2011 / 1:11 pm

    Take me with you maste

  12. 11/10/2011 / 1:12 pm

    Shoot. That was meant to say take me with you master!! I bow down to your funny and wisdom.

  13. 11/14/2011 / 5:47 am

    Tuesday Tutorials from you should be subtitled LifeWhack

  14. 03/12/2012 / 3:43 am

    Those photos are great, especially the scarf one, ha! 🙂

  15. 03/12/2012 / 3:52 am

    I live in BFE and it's miles away to the nearest museum which is most likely the Packers Hall of Fame. But thanks for the tips, I will put them to good use as soon as I get the chance.

    Happy SITS Day. Enjoy the comment love today.

  16. 03/12/2012 / 3:59 am

    I love it! I love when we can make lite of the stodgy, stuffy protocol one must exude in certain situations. I've tried snapping photos – sometimes asked security guards and gotten permission, and have been guilty of explaining different art movements – but only to my sister who wanted it. At least I convinced her she wanted it.

  17. 03/12/2012 / 10:39 am

    I love the MOMA… It has be a while since I visited.

    Love your writing.

  18. 03/12/2012 / 3:32 pm

    Funny. I think I would like to go to an art museum with you.

  19. 03/12/2012 / 4:52 pm

    Thank you for mentioning the craziness of the security guards! I was beginning to think it was just something about my husband and I. We seem to always get in trouble when we go to our nearby museum!

  20. Kristi
    03/12/2012 / 6:00 pm

    You're hilarious! I love how you took an ordinary moment and found the funny moments in the middle. 🙂 Happy SITS day!

  21. 03/12/2012 / 6:49 pm

    This is very funny! I do think you could start a thing called "people of art museums" much like the "people of Walmart" thing going around. Looks like some odd looking people are to be found there. Happy SITS day!

  22. 08/23/2014 / 8:15 pm

    This should be mandatory reading for all would-be museum goers!

  23. 08/23/2014 / 9:54 pm

    Ha – I love it! Best post about an art museum ever!

  24. 08/27/2014 / 1:01 am

    hahahahaha. 😉 my cousin actually went on a blind date with a guy who took her to the museum b/c he heardshe liked art. throughout the entire date he tried to wow her with all his art knowledge… but little did he know that she minored in art history and thought he was being a total pompous … butthead. 🙂

    • 08/28/2014 / 5:18 pm

      I love that! How many people do that? Must be a bunch.

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