May 10, 2016

Tips from a Museum Guide 1: Don't Touch!


You know how books have, what they call so beautifully in German, an “Aufschagverhalten.” The art bookstore sales persons explained this to me, since it is something they deal with every day when new books arrive. It’s the behavior of a book when you open it for the first time. You start with turning it around a bit to see how it holds in your hand and then you listen to the sound it makes when you open up the pages. The paper will then touch upon your finger tips, which gives you a certain feel. The visuals finish it off with lay-out and font. The same goes for an art work. Besides seeing, you can try to smell it, feel it, and hear it. When it works on all your senses, it’s most probably good art. As an experienced museum guide I have to mention here that you’re not allowed to touch the art work, but I know that most people can’t resist anyway. The most touched art work during my guided tours are Joseph Beuys’ basalt stones of his The End of the 20th Century.  

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