Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Sure, I go to museums to see art. But I also go to be in big open spaces, to watch people, and to enjoy the ambiance of the in-house cafe.

Oh yeah - I also go to read text -- the text of brochures, the text of the wall plaques, the text of the books in the gift shops.


A few weeks ago, Mike and I went to MOMA's free friday night. The first thing we did was ascend to Cafe 2. You get a little paper menu to look at while you are standing in line to order, but I stood transfixed by the sight of the text and simple pictures of their giant wall menu. (See photo.) "What are you doing?" asked Mike, after I stood unmoving in front of the wall menu. "You have a menu in your hands." The tiny print simply did not compare with the contrast of the white all caps type, red headings, and simple pictures against the black backdrop.

In a special section entitled Muesems, The New York Times reported that only 7 percent of museum-goers at The Detroit Institute of Art stopped to read the wall plaques which accompanied the art work. I would definitely have been in that 7 percent.

1 comment:

Rosie said...

I'd be in the 7% too. I always read the explanations about the artworks, and I have a thing for plaques as well.

Whether they're memorials, blue plaques for famous people who once lived there, or local history signs, I can't walk away without knowing what they say. Friends and family mock me - but they're always interested when I come back with a little nugget of information that tells us more about where we are.

I'm glad I'm not alone!