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Gertrude Was Right: Look for a Window
December 10, 2007

Gertrude by Red Grooms

Gertrude by Red Grooms

"I have always enjoyed going to museums," said Gertrude Stein, "because the view from museum windows is usually very pleasant.” At the time she was visiting the Phillips Collection here in Washington, D.C. Stein established one of the earliest salons for modern painting and sculpture at her Paris flat at 27 Rue de Fleurus. La Stein became a focal point of the twentieth century’s shifting ideas of the possibilities of art. She who famously said of her hometown of Oakland, California “there is no there there” made her own there through the worlds of art and literature. I like Stein’s idea of looking for a window in a museum of all places, where you’re supposed to turn your eye inward. Shouldn’t there be only one view in a museum? What’s out there that could possibly be better than what’s in here?

Posted by Howard on December 10, 2007 in Museum Opening


I've always found that in the presence of great art, sometimes its a relief to look away. Especially in a museum, where so many works demand your attention and investment. When you visit a museum, you know you're supposed to have a visual experience. This expectation can be fatiguing. Love the Red Grooms work...very Stein-ian.

There are all different types of looking out there. Looking away can also help you look deeper. Check out the new courtyard when you can and thanks for the comment.

It's interesting how museums want us to look inside, but I have to look outside too.

Even art which is "looking outside" seems to feel more compelling than works which are hidden or facing away from the window.

Hey John, that's an interesting slant on the window. I'll keep that in mind when I'm on my next hunting/gathering trip through the museum.

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