Mar 22, 2016
What Price Beauty or Fame?
As many of you may know I work as a Security Officer in a museum so I am Blessed to be surrounded by Beautiful Works of Art all day long. No matter which wing or section of the museum I am posted I always find artworks with limitless intrinsic value.
One of the many repetitive questions I get from museum visitors is “What is the most expensive painting/artwork in the museum?” At first I was puzzled that one could be in a gallery full of Rembrandts, Vermeers, Caravaggio’s, John Singer Sargent, Manet, Monet, Degas or any of many gifted artists and seek only to know a price tag! Well since I’ve now been working at the museum for eight years I’m used to the question and no longer offended. Still a bit puzzled but I suppose for some people it is human nature to want to know the cost. I explain to the visitors that most of the artworks are donated to the museum, there are some purchases but very few.
I am not an artist. At least not a visual artist in that respect. Many of my fellow guards are artists. I highly respect them and artists throughout all ages and eras. I admit to being a late blooming photographer and a frenetic writer! I often introduce myself as a Writer masquerading as a museum security guard!!
Being possessed of a sensitive nature I absorb what’s around me. My favorite art in the museum are paintings. I feel paintings speak to me. They tell me a story. Even landscapes and still lifes have some tale to impart to the viewer. Since my job can be monotonous and boring in between patron queries I allow the paintings to tell me their stories. Also as the Tour Guides and Docents introduce various genres of art and artists to the visiting public I’m there soaking up their wisdom like a sponge. Many times when I get home I’ll listen to art classes and studies which are readily available on YouTube. When I can I may purchase a book or catalog on a specific exhibit or artist who has taken my fancy.
Many of these artists were not appreciated, famous or in some cases able to make a decent living via their art. Most only gained fame long after their deaths. Some who became famous during their lifetimes did not necessarily have happy lives.
One of the best things about working for a museum in New York is that my ID card enables me to get into any New York City museum for FREE!! So all those trips to various museums you have read about cost me nothing except for the food and any item I purchase from the gift shops.