I always find it amusing when people (myself included) go to art museums and take pictures of the art. What exactly is it that we’re hoping to capture? Proof that we saw the art firsthand? A miniature replica to frame for the mantle?
I recently revisited the Art Institute of Chicago in spring. Prior to the trip, I went over some old photos of the last time I was at the museum in 2007. They were tucked away in the digital archives of my hard drive — mundane, poorly lit, poorly framed snapshots of the world’s masterpieces from the world’s masters: Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollack, Grant Wood, Pablo Picasso, Georges-Pierre Seurat.
Was there something that I felt that I could capture about “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” that I couldn’t easily grab off of Google Images?
I resist the urge to ask what people will do with the pictures of the paintings they so meticulously capture, often in such a way that it loses context of the museum itself. To do so would seem pretentious, perhaps even self-serving. But I am curious what happens to the millions of snapshots in the cameras of the Art Institute visitors daily…
And with that, I present The Art of The Art Institute.