The art of looking at art

Thomas Struth, Art Institute of Chicago II, 1990

Given that this blog is essentially about looking at art, it seems like a good idea to think about how that happens. Thomas Struth’s museum photographs provide a fascinating insight into the way visitors behave in art museums. In most of the pictures, viewers are looking at historical paintings, or sometimes sculpture, and we are looking at them. Struth typically adopts a broadly objective viewpoint, for instance in Art Institute of Chicago II we are looking straight at Gustav Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877) and at the backs of those looking at it. The painting’s audience is two individual women, each seemingly lost in their own thoughts about the work in front of them.

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