A museum for adults that not only lets you touch the art, but encourages it. No, this is not a joke.
This year has had some pretty crazy museum exhibitions that doubled as stunts. MoMA served you curry and the New Museum had a 102-foot slide and a sensory-deprivation pool. However, this new exhibition in Baltimore is more radical than all the New York shows combined.
The Walters Art Museum is merging the tactile pleasures of art with the neuroscience of how our brains respond to tactile stimuli. The museum is teaming up with the Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute to invite viewers to touch works of art and meditate on why this physical contact is so appealing.
The exhibition will focus on art of Renaissance and Baroque periods, an era when touch was beginning to gain new significance for aesthetes and average citizens alike. In 1500, through objects such as female statuettes as well as watches and personal firearms, there was a newfound desire for objects to be touched, held and felt.
The exhibition/experiment features 12 works from the museum's permanent collection and 22 statuettes for viewers to touch and rate. They will respond to thought-provoking questions such as: "Does knowledge of the subject of a sculpture influence how you react to it? What happens to our satisfaction in a piece if something about it changes? What is the impact of sight on the sense of touch?" The show will question sight's relationship to touch and how this relationship has been used and manipulated by artists throughout history.
'Touch and the Enjoyment of Sculpture: Exploring the Appeal of Renaissance Statuettes' runs from January 21 - April 15, 2012 and is free, so run, don't walk, to what we think may be the most radical exhibition of the year. Go on, touch the art, we know you want to...