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How to … visit a museum

July 6th, 2010

Filed under: FILM, BOOKS & TV


The Creative License, by Danny Gregory

At The Dossier we’re as interested in what cultural things there are to do, as well as how to do them. How do you get engaged in creative stuff, and how do you do it without wondering whether you’re doing it right? Ah, that’s the catch. There’s no right or wrong way to “consume” culture. The fact that you are interested in the world around you is enough. So, here’s a brief but quite liberating guide – thanks to Danny Gregory soulless ad-man turned soulful illustrator – on how to visit a museum and say farewell to one more obligatory culture stop where all you come away with is a back ache and brain overload.

How to visit a museum, page 158 "The Creative License"

Step 1: Make a plan. Pick off a manageable section you can do in 90 minutes.

Step 2: Examine the first piece. Not as an historian, but as an artist. Don’t look at the little card, the name of the painting, or the dates straight away.

Step 3: Look at the piece from all different angles – up close (so you can smell the paint), from far back and from as high, low, leftwards and rightwards as you can. What do you think of it? How do you feel about it? What was it like to make it? Why does it work? Why is it here in the museum?

Step 4: Draw a quick sketch of the composition in your journal as well as note down key thoughts.

Step 5: Keep moving! Skip the pieces you want to skip. Spend more time on those you like. Ignore whatever else other people are saying. What are the connections between the works you like?

Step 7: Meet up with your friend, share your findings! Do your opinions and tastes differ? Why do you think that is? Write about it.

Tips!

– if you go with a friend, separate and make an agreed time and meeting place
– wear comfy shoes, have an empty bladder, don’t feel hungry or thirsty
– buy postcards of the works you like. Write notes on the back about your experience of the work and mail them. To yourself.

Danny Gregory says that we shouldn’t look at art (creating or experiencing it) as something that other people do. It’s like we never gave ourselves a chance; like, what if we treated driving like we treat artists? And I quote:

Treating driving like the arts - the Creative License

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