Is there such a condition as Museum ADD? Even as a child touring the Heard Museum in Phoenix and the Saint Louis Art Museum, my restlessness led me to skip ahead of my family to only the images, sculptures, or artifacts catching my attention. Inevitably I quickly finished and aimlessly waited for others. After spending a few precious hours peacefully and patiently perusing the magnificent halls of Louvre in Paris, I realized I had either outgrown my symptoms or managed to experience a more extensive exhibit. My favorite piece, perfectly positioned at the top of the Daru Staircase took my breath away from the moment I initially approached it: Winged Victory of Samothrace.
On my second visit below the glass pyramids, I anxiously awaited rounding that same corner with the excitement and anticipation of seeing the beautiful sculpture again. Had it not been for the other precious painting in the museum, and the rest of my family pressing onward to see da Vinci’s famous portrait, I might have stood in one spot for hours, just soaking in its flowing movement just in case I never returned to Paris. Clearly my museum attention deficit had vanished.
Smack in the middle of a DC summer, I sit on the steps of the American Art Museum waiting for the doors to open. A dork about American history, I plan to see Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way simply because it splashes across the cover of my textbook, but once inside I stumble upon dozens of other inspiring pieces. Almost as much as the Nike sculpture surprised me when I went to see the Mona Lisa, a work by Ray Strong of the Golden Gate Bridge strikes me by its unique perspective. Under construction with the bridge’s footings in the foreground and the opposite end of the future span in the distance across the San Francisco Bay, the painting captivates me. Standing in front of this finished piece of a work in progress makes me want to cross coasts and examine the engineering amazement from every possible angle, just as the New Deal artist did.
Years later on a departing flight from Oakland, a quick glance out the plane’s windows marks my only first-hand glimpse of the massive structure. The beautiful bridge ranks high on the list of places still yet to visit, so when the day arrives that I finally get to enjoy it from the ground, I plan for the experience to be a jumping off point on my journey to Hawaii. As swift as this first glimpse passes, the second time I come around the corner and see the beautiful bridge, I will be as elated when it enters my view as when I returned to the Louvre. One day I will perch on the hills above the bridge, drive across its length, and stand in one spot for hours gazing upon it. Whether majestic ancient sculptures or enormous modern structures, deeply enamored and engulfed in their awe, the world’s beauties no longer bore me.