most rooms in art galleries these days seem spacious and sparse, giving each painting its own space. stepping into the mfa’s salon room, therefore, was a significantly – refreshingly – different experience to what i have grown used to. more interesting still is the fact that in the 1890s, all of the mfa galleries exhibited art floor-to-ceiling, styled after the famous parisian salon. the aesthetic and the idea behind the salon entice me. the mfa’s explanation describes the salon as
the epitome of worldliness and sophistication. a typical salon exhibition, which might include thousands of paintings, placed the largest and most prestigious works “on the line”, at eye-level. paintings by lesser-known artists were often “skyed” towards the ceiling – though part of the game at the salon was deciding whether your judgment was better than the judges’.
i want my mind to be shaped like a salon, containing art of all kinds: paintings, but also books, plays, cupcakes…some on the line and others skyed, awaiting further inspection. ★