The Art of Relevance
by Nina Simon
This book explains how museums and other nonprofit organizations can expand audiences and build stronger connections with targeted communities. The author is executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH).
“I believe relevance unlocks new ways to build deep connections with people who don’t immediately self-identify with our work. I believe relevance is the key to a locked room where meaning lives… Behind the door is a room that holds something powerful—information, emotion, experience, value… Relevance is the key to that door.”
“Instead of talking about ‘traditional’ approaches and ‘new’ ones, I find it more productive to talk about insiders and outsiders…” Continue reading
The Art of Seeing: An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Encounter
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Rick E. Robinson
This book explores the enjoyment of viewing art within the framework of flow, the psychology of optimal experience. Flow is an intrinsically rewarding feeling of total involvement in an activity. To be fully engaged in a state of flow, one must be skilled and challenged. The author studied museum professionals as a proxy for the more general art viewing population.
“The experience is one of an initial perceptual hook followed by a more detached, intellectual appreciation that returns the viewer to the work with a deeper understanding.”
“The best examples of objects containing such challenges are works whose meaning appears to be inexhaustible.” As one respondent put it, “‘A good painting will never be used up.’”
Four dimensions of aesthetic experience are explored: cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and communicative.