Making Time for Art

Like many of my colleagues, I began my career in the for-profit world and made the transition to the museum after choosing passion over paycheck. I longed for art to be the centerpiece of my professional experience—still do—yet, overall, I’ve done a poor job of actually spending time with the objects. Days fill quickly here, and I spend most of my time ensconced in my office, firing off emails and taking care of the usual day-to-day operations. A few weeks ago, I realized something had to give. I wanted more time with the art—it’s why I signed on with LACMA, after all—and if I couldn’t find ten minutes a day to step into the galleries, I had some serious time management problems on my hands.

To that end, I’ve declared June my own personal Month of Art. I’ve got a calendar posted in my office and a couple of weeks already filled with objects I want to see. (Sad to say, but I’ve never laid eyes on a few of our key works and some of the others I’ve only rushed past.) I wondered if I scheduled dates with art if I would actually do a better job of keeping this commitment to myself.

I kicked off my Month of Art with Kandinsky’s Untitled Improvisation III as a nod to my father, who considers this amongst his favorite permanent collection works.

I kicked off my Month of Art with Kandinsky’s Untitled Improvisation III (1914) as a nod to my father, who considers this amongst his favorite permanent collection works.

So far, so-so. I missed my Tuesday painting because of a big presentation I was a part of—excuses, excuses!—but have otherwise stayed the course and felt enlivened by my art breaks, which draw me up from my basement office to light of day, to the public, and to the art. The upward rise is a fitting metaphor. Art can really lift you. So, on that note, I invite you to create your own Month of Art. Unless you work in a museum, it would be pretty hard to make it into galleries every day—but of course, thanks to the internet, masterpieces are at all of our fingertips seven days a week, 24 hours a day. LACMA’s own Collections Online is a great jumping off point. Then there’s the Met’s daily permanent collection offering and the Getty’s wonderful art database too . Would a one-work-a-day commitment change your life in any small way? For me, the answer is yes.

Allison Agsten

2 Responses to Making Time for Art

  1. tieressie says:

    I think it wonderful that you have decided to do structured art viewing to get back in touch with your love of art. It’s good for the soul, and ultimately it will make you a better employee. You are working at LACMA for your love of the arts, and you should nurture that passion. Good luck!

    Oh, and thank you for bringing it to my attention that I too have been neglecting my passion for art.

    It is time we all pushed down our cubicle walls and reconnected with our inner artist.

  2. Great post. This was an eye-opener to those of us not in the museum world, but it certainly makes sense.

    As an artist I don’t spend as much time with other people’s work as I sometimes would like. Looking at art eventually leads to seeing, -really seeing, and that is one of the great things about it.

    What a wonderful collection you have, enjoy many dates to come.

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