Seeing Things (15): Looking Through Glass

Cordelia

Pierce Francis Connelly's Cordelia, taken on Museum Selfie Day, 2015

January 29, 2016

This is the fifteenth in a series of personal observations about how people experience and explore museums. Take a look at Howard's other blog posts about seeing things.

Today, in the museum, I noticed all kinds of looking, and realized that often we're looking at images through glass. In certain galleries, light-sensitive works of art are behind protective UV, and fragile three-dimensional objects are often cased. I saw an older couple take out a magnifying glass from a small black case that looked like a deck of cards to check out details in a photograph behind a frame.

People of all ages take out their cell phones and snap pictures of art—or of themselves in front of art—and send them to friends in other buildings, in other cities, in other parts of the world. Their phones will ping and they'll be invited to see an image through glass. I thought of all the ways we look and share art these days, and then I thought of Alice—perhaps our foremost storyteller—who traveled to the other side of a mirror to seek her adventures Through the Looking Glass.

We all want to fall into a good story. When we send our images that will be viewed behind a clear screen, perhaps we're following Alice's lead—adding our own narratives to the never-ending mirror of storytelling.

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