I love looking at paintings and other stuff in galleries or museums. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will realise that. But I do dislike very crowded places, and this includes museums. Hence the growing popularity of major exhibitions has made me avoid going to most of them simply on account of the sheer numbers of other human beings that throng to these shows.
I am not about to take a totally elitist stance on this issue (or maybe I am, after second thoughts), but I find it quite insufferable to either stand in a queue for hours, or, even worse, to be amongst a pack of humans inching past paintings that one cannot even stop and contemplate at one's leisure without having some idiot's hat floating in front of your eyes (hats should be banned indoors anyway), or having hot breath poured down one's neck, or hearing ridiculously banal comments all the time, not to mention the life stories of one's immediate and unchosen neighbours.
What makes matters even worse is that clearly 50% of the people there should be somewhere else anyway, because they don't even try to look at the paintings. They are far more intent in reading the captions places alongside. I suppose it must reassure them to know the name of the painting and where it is usually hung. Maybe even to read the name of the artist, although they should know that by heart since they have actually paid to come to see an exhibition of this person's work. Perhaps they would spend even more time looking at the captions if the current value of the painting was added. I think that some day I will sat up an exhibition with empty frames and just the captions alongside. It might well be a huge success.
Why don't all these people just buy a catalogue and flick through the pages? This would probably halve the numbers of unseeing lookers in museums and shows and let the rest of us spend the time we want in front of pictures without being pushed, shoved, blocked, trampled and generally considered as cattle by the organisers.