There used to be certain theories in art galleries about how people move through the spaces and look at art. People always turn left. People always look for a certain number of minutes, or moments. Whether any of the theories were based on serious research is hard to know.
Now some Italian museums are beginning to place cameras beside all their artworks – not for security, but to monitor how many people are stopping to actually spend time with any given artwork, hoping to learn more about how they can rotate art and improve layouts.
There’s an inherent “is this OK in a privacy sense?” question over something like this, but it makes sense to start building better data on how people really do move through a museum and which artworks are crowdpleasers and which are just taking up space.
Of course, the internet has chased metrics down some dark, dark rabbit holes in recent years, so hopefully this doesn’t lead to sending some amazing artworks to the dungeon because they weren’t ‘exciting’ enough for the masses.
We don’t need every painting to need to go viral to be considered a classic.
Or do we?