16 August 2007

"Wish you were here"

Thanks to the digital camera, one can postpone the experience of contact with a work of art to another place at another time. Many do. I've made it a policy to spend much, much more time gazing at a piece than reading its caption or the guidebook. I did observe a number of "digital-shotgun" museum visitors who saw the great halls mostly through their camera viewfinder. It's nearly as interesting to observe what people do in museums as to look at the art objects themselves. The Louvre, the most visited museum in the world, is an extreme case. Thanks to The Da Vinci Code, it's only going to be more popular. There's even an audioguide, fully sanctioned by the museum: