At the Museum, Looking at Art Distracted

At the Museum, Looking at Art Distracted

Looking at Art Distracted

At least, in theory, it seems to me, we go to art museums to escape for a brief while to another world. A place of beauty, of creativity, A place to stretch the imagination, to be inspired. A place to get away from it all, if just for a while.

Looking at Art Distracted

Is this really true? I’m not so sure. It seems we Americans, instead of connecting with new experiences or to allow some inner feeling to flicker, if just briefly, we are compelled to stay connected with the minutia of our lives via our phones and tablets. We really can’t get away from it all. We seem addicted.

Looking at Art Distracted

I read recently that a significant number of Americans actually go to bed holding their phones. Security blanket? Pacifier?

Looking at Art Distracted

And then there is me at the art museum taking pictures of distracted art museum goers.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it will put your mind at rest but this is not happening only in the us, all over the world, at least in France and Argentina where I live !

    1. So I am finding out. Thanks, Evelyne, and thank you for stopping by.

  2. Great post!
    I was at the grocery store pushing my cart through the parking lot and saw the same as people were making their way through the passing cars into the store…its a strange world we live in.

    1. For sure, it is everywhere. In restaurants people sit there on their phones instead of talking to one another. Unbelievable. Thanks for the comment Ani.

  3. No Ron, this is not happening just in the US. I know technology its important but this is like an addiction because anytime I mention this, people justify it.

    1. Well, I’m glad to hear it’s not just in the US. People are missing so much. Thanks Silvana.

  4. This is a classic ~ had to pass it onto my art loving sisters 🙂

    1. Ha! I’m sure they will appreciate the gesture, 🙂 I think we all see a little of ourselves here. Thanks Randall.

  5. Nicely observed Ron. Oh how times have changed. It’s the same here in England of course. My family find it hard to comprehend that I can go out of the house without my phone. Maybe one day there will be lessons on the benefits of being ‘disconnected’ – if only for a while.

    1. Too funny, but you are so right. There are classes on how to get and stay connected. Maybe it’s time for classes on how to let go without anxiety. 🙂 Thanks Jean, I appreciate your comments.

  6. Very interesting food for thought Ron–loved your closing statement 😄. Maybe they were just photographing the art w their devices LOL. I agree w the other commenters that these devices are equally omnipresent all over the world. We were riding pack mules in one of the most remote regions of China when our riding host received a call on his cellphone miles and miles away from any civilization! We were amazed and stunned by how far the impact of technology has traveled. There are many good reasons to keep a device handy, safety chief among them. Those of us in a somewhat older generation, for the most part, seem to be able to connect and more importantly disconnect appropriately. I fear for the younger generations who seem honestly to be truly addicted, missing out on many of life’s simple pleasures. But I suppose older generations have been saying this about younger ones since time began!!!

    1. Tina, I agree with you about it being a generational thing, but there are a lot of addicted seniors too.Judging from my other comments it’s not just an American thing. What I want to know is how you guide got a call in the middle of nowhere. In this country, there is no signal in remote areas. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Thanks for your comment. It’s good to hear from you.

      1. That was the amazing thing Ron – he got better reception in the most remote corner of Nowhere, China than we get on Kiawah! Go figure !!

  7. It has become a very strange behavior everywhere. Virtual environment has become more important than actual environment, unfortunately. We interact with each other more on internet than face to face.

    1. It is so sad but true, and epidemic in proportions. Thanks for your comment.

      1. Well it took long enough for the page to load completely; otherwise a comment will not go through! This post struck a chord with many, and I visited today (in the musuem!) with one of the guides. I said that we’re giving away our intelligence to devices.. we’re losing the ability to add or multiply simple numbers b/c of dependence on calculators. we’re losing the primal art of navigation to gps.. yes, we’re advancing with technology, but we’re losing so many basic skills.

        And I laughed at your final statement as well. You’re entitled to photograph and record the changing culture!

        1. No doubt we are allowing our devices to dumb us down and shorten our attention span. Not sure what the solution is but I think it has become a serious problem, especially for our children. As always, thanks for visiting, Lisa.

  8. Lisa brought me here and I don’t know why I can’t find the time to come under my own steam more often! In galleries I always find that me and Mick gravitate to entirely different subjects (and you can be fairly sure if I like one, he won’t 🙂 ) Maybe that’s going on a bit in your 3rd one. Or is it the age old ‘your tea’s ready!’? 🙂

  9. Then there’s the photo making the rounds on Facebook of seven teen-agers sitting before Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” texting!! Add to this decreasing attention spans and the arts are in for a struggle indeed.

    1. Though I haven’t seen the photo you refer to I can image. You are so right about the short attention spans and not just in the arts. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

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