I’ve realized that the reason I don’t like art museums so much isn’t because I’m not interested in art. I just feel uncomfortable looking at artwork that clearly doesn’t belong in a museum. In the past art was commissioned to be either public, which meant that the city paid for it to be enjoyed by everyone, or in someone’s home, meaning it was customized to that person’s tastes and meant to be this intense, personal thing that a family enjoyed. Either way, no one had to pay to go see art. Putting someone’s personal portrait or religious motif up for the public view seems sterile. It belongs in a home, not a blank wall with no feeling. And art that is created specifically for museums is pretentious.
Today I saw artwork that was originally commissioned for an Italian family living in Brussels to be put up in the chapel on their estate. It belongs in a church, and to me removing it from that setting feels like tearing a child from its mother. We shouldn’t be able to see all these pieces of art in one place, like a convenience store. We should be able to search and visit the original sites and restore them as they were intended to be seen, with the artwork inside. THAT I would pay to go see.