In museums, it is obvious to me those patrons who are seasoned veterans and those who are ignorant novices of observing displayed art. For those who are more experienced, a general awareness exists of the dance, upon which enjoying a museum critically hangs. I would like to offer up, by way of illustration, my experience in the City Art Centre in Edinburgh this past weekend.
In the City Art Centre, 150 originals by renowned American photographer Ansel Adams were on display over three floors. The exhibit wasn't very crowded at all, and judging by the adherence to the rules of the dance by the vast majority of all patrons in the museum, I'm confident that my friends and I were among dedicated art buffs.
Here's how the dance works: two patrons stand side by side in front of one piece of art. In a nook, one patron has been moving counterclockwise through the display. The second patron, to avoid hurrying the first, has chosen to start at the opposite end of the display and move clockwise. Inevitably, the two merge at one piece. Both people look at the item for a while; finally, when someone is ready to move on, he or she steps backward, and moves around the second patron. The second patron then shifts the opposite direction, thus making room for the first to take a last goodbye before moving on to the next piece. The transition, if executed well, is seamless and comfortable. Ah, the dance.
Well, this wasn't as great a post as I had in my mind. The exhibit was fantastic. I'm glad Abbie decided to go up, because I wasn't totally thrilled about paying £2.50 to get in, but it was worth it. Surprisingly, though I am not from California, Adams' few shots of Utah made me so incredibly homesick. I especially liked this shot of the Manti temple.