I wonder why it is frowned upon to look at a painting without more and so many insist that "art" must be presented surrounded by documents or in unexpected formats. It has stopped being chic to show a painting, a drawing or a video without the gadgets that turn them into a bizarre formula of consumption. It would even be said that the fashion of presenting "works of art" in unusual ways has reached the classical museums. There, too, the past spell is broken with a profusion of documents-sometimes, apart from the case-fragments of films-the transformation of cinema that becomes a filler for a speech-or any other strategy that can be imagined, for the sole purpose to satisfy the horror vacui visual to which we are used to the excesses of Instagram.
Perhaps it is what the public demands: entertainment, tweets that besiege time and silence without substance; that govern the tastes without surprises; that settle the world policy in 280 characters -not in vain a "green" politician has decided to unsubscribe on social networks to listen to the world. It is not enough to look at a work: the ways of visual pleasure have changed and we are bored to go to a museum or an exhibition room and find only works on display. I predicted Benjamin in Unique address, his book of 1928: "The expression of those who walk in the galleries reveals a poorly disguised disappointment at the fact that there are only hanging pictures".
It seems that we have taken this ironic phrase to the letter and we have set ourselves the task of building – and selling – an art supposedly for all audiences that replaces the popular exhibitions blockbuster –Leonardo, Picasso, Van Gogh, Dalí, Warhol and a few others … -, expensive and difficult, in order to create a kind of consolation prize -from augmented reality to everything you can imagine- that becomes a substitute for physical work. Nothing against, by the way. The downside is that these proposals without much substance are advertised as the strategy to make art accessible, fun. That is, pure demagogic rhetoric. Sometimes, they even serve to launder some work of dubious authorship.
To say that art is today a place of consumption par excellence is to say the obvious, but in the middle of so much consolation prize it would not be bad to return to the physicality of a painting from time to time, because the disclosure does not have to be banal . And I'm not saying that they should not be made experiments like Van Gogh's -Each each one-, but that is not sold as the most effective means of getting to know this artist and his work without getting bored. Who says it's boring to look at a picture? How old-fashioned, please.