the beauty of the visual arts for those unable to see them
March 9, 2015 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Thanks for posting this.

The article mentions touch tours at the Met. I've ridden shotgun on touch tours arranged by my husband when we've been in New York (we've also done them at the MOMA and Tate Modern in London, among others). These tours have been great for me a sighted person, too, because the guides we've had have been super knowledgeable about the stuff we're checking out.

In certain cases, he's been allowed to touch original works (primarily sculptures), for which gloves are sometimes required.

Obviously, paintings are a no-go for this sort of interaction, which is why the 3D imaging technology in this article is so cool.

The touch tour we took of the Egyptian collection at the Met was particularly good, since there are a number of artifacts that can stand up to being touched directly, since they're carved in stone. I, too, was allowed to touch the Sarcophagus of Usermontu.

Normally, the staff running the tour will flash their badge to the guard who's assigned to the room we're in, but sometimes they're over on the other side of things, or dealing with someone else. Believe me, if they're not clear on why you're touching something, they snap to life pretty quickly.

The security guard in the Giacometti room at MOMA bolted towards us when he saw the touching start, then quickly realized it was cool. Then he goes:

"Sorry about that. Man. They never let me touch any of this stuff."

Here's what a touch tour of one of Picasso's goat sculptures at MOMA looks like. It was established fairly quickly that this one was indeed male.

Our vacation pictures contain an inordinate number of objets d'art being felt up.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:57 AM on March 9, 2015 [6 favorites]

I was at the Liberty Bell some years ago and noticed the guards moving aside the rope so one of the visitors who was blind could touch the crack. While I'm not a terribly patriotic guy, it was pretty moving to watch.
posted by Shutter at 10:25 AM on March 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

More on MOMA's touch tours here.

The cool thing about that tour was that our guide was a sculptor herself and really got into detail about the process and materials used to create the sculptures she was showing us.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:51 AM on March 9, 2015

This is a wonderful idea.
posted by carter at 12:26 PM on March 9, 2015

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