Reframing the Museum (2)

I have just attended a good session on the role of empathy in the museum, led by Tom Crow. Art historians have become wary, or hostile, to the discussion of the nature of aesthetic experience in museums, feeling that it is either indeterminate or elitist, too connected to connoisseurship. But it’s interesting to discover that psychologists and psychotherapists feel no such inhibition and are both working with museums and studying the therapeutic values of wonder, pleasure and visual delight, the nature of individual, visual response to works of art and the ways in which it contributes to private well-being and public health.

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2 thoughts on “Reframing the Museum (2)

  1. mauricedavies says:

    It’s a common mistake to believe that the main role of an art gallery is to teach art history rather than enable visual engagement with works of art. The one thing you can do in a gallery is directly experience works of art ‘in the flesh’ whereas you can experience art history in the comfort of your own home in books, films, tv progs and nowadays online lectures

  2. bendorgrosvenor says:

    I don’t disagree Maurice, but the problem today is that art galleries focus too much on enabling that visual engagement only within the museum. As you and I have discussed before, image fees and restrictions mean that many galleries have effectively vacated the online world. To some extent, the slack is taken up by, as you say TV programmes and so on. But here the emphasis is necessarily on ‘teaching art history’, because in a book, film or a lecture there always has to be a narrative somewhere. Don’t the possibilities of digital provision enable galleries to focus as much on visual engagement in the home as in the flesh? B

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