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Gwen Hoople gave us her viewpoint which she called 'Art on the Move'. She said ...

'Do you ever get frustrated when you don’t get to see the artwork you were expecting to see when you made your plans around visiting a specific museum during your annual vacation? And do you despise having to navigate around the throngs of people when you do finally make it there?

'You’ve travelled halfway across the world to enjoy the culture and art of another continent. You’ve always wanted to see a particular painting or artist’s work and now you’re finally there and ready to enjoy the experience.

'Let’s say you made a two-day stop-over in Vienna to immerse yourself in its rich history of art. You decide to go to the Belvedere museum because it owns the biggest and most important collection of Gustav Klimt paintings in the world and now you’ll finally get to see them close up and personal. But when you get there, you find out that several of the paintings you wanted to see are not even in the country never mind at the Belvedere where you just paid 30 Euros to get in.

'And no, those cheap prints you can buy in most of the tourist shops definitely do not do justice to the paintings, so you won’t get your 'fix' unless and until you can see the real thing.

'You could go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum and gaze at the murals on the ceilings and get a crick in your neck, but you were really looking forward seeing some of Klimt’s more impressive works, right up close so the Belvedere museum is the place for that – under normal circumstances.

'So disappointed, but undeterred, you press on and make do with what’s available.

'Luckily for you, Klimt’s famous painting called "The Kiss", hasn’t been shipped off to Japan with some of the other paintings you’d been so looking forward to seeing, so not all is lost. Besides, since you’ve already paid your entry fee you might as well have another look at it even though it’s not your favourite Klimt painting. But as you head towards to room where it’s housed you see the throngs of people, but very little of the painting. There are at least six rows of people flocked around it, arms in the air with selfie sticks and ridiculous poses – all in front of you obstructing your view!

'So, should famous paintings be kept under permanent house arrest in their countries of origin? Doesn’t that just encourage masses of tourists to make pilgrimages to museums for a great selfie moment in front of a famous masterpiece in order to brag-post it on their Instagram accounts? How many of those people really care about actually looking at the art?

'And does keeping the pieces confined to their own museums deprive too many people of the opportunity to see some of the world’s greatest art?

'Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa stays at the Louvre in Paris. Have you tried waiting in line to get into the Louvre lately, never mind attempting to view that rather small Mona Lisa painting at the back of a sea of heads and selfie sticks?

'Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring stays in The Netherlands these days. It's the same there. Can you hope to get a good view of her if you’re lucky enough to be spending time in Amsterdam?

'And there are many other paintings that will never leave their home museums.

'But isn’t the best museum experience you can have to be surprised and delighted?

'In some of the great museums of the world you can stumble into some masterpieces by accident. Masterpieces that are on loan to the museum you are visiting - a picture that you’d never had on your radar; never really cared about one way or another; never thought you’d ever see it in real life; never thought you’d like?

'Then, lo-and-behold, just as you were wandering through the chambers of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, looking for a seat to sit on, you’re suddenly stunned by the magnificence of a striking painting. Who would have thought, wow, there right in front of you, nobody waving a selfie stick ridiculously close to your face, you’ve stumbled into one of Frida Kahlo’s famous painting, Fulang-Chang and I.

'And suddenly – suddenly just like that - you’ve entered another realm of beauty and colour and you’re transported with delight.

'So, my viewpoint is this ...

'Even if you do get disappointed from time to time because the pieces you wanted to see are not on display where you are visiting - don’t keep art confined to their home museums where everyone knows where to find them to make Instagram moments!

'Give more people the opportunity to view great work and give yourself the possibility of suddenly turning around and stumbling into something new, something that gives you pause, something that sweeps you off your feet or maybe changes your perspective'.

Art on the Move - 1 October 2019

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