A Curious Practice: The Complexity of Viewing Art

By Jo-Anne Duggan.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The individual’s museum experience is inseparable from what Crary describes as infinite changes in society’s habits of viewing. Along with Foster and Bryson’s theories surrounding vision, these ideas are important in understanding the notion of viewing art, however, they do not address the museum viewer as a corporeal body. Yet this bodily engagement, affected as much by the physical architecture as the cultural contexts, employs all the senses to not only navigate the museum, but to viscerally experience it. This paper, while contextualising the art viewing experience by touching on the breadth of studies relevant to visual art and museology, builds on Marks and Sobchack’s discussion of the body’s capacity for sensual, embodied and prioceptive engagement and argues that the circumstances that influence the interpretation, reception and perception of art are constantly shifting.

By referring to my own research-based photomedia projects that examine the nature of experience in a number of cultural institutions in Europe this presentation will not only address the complexity of viewing art, but also demonstrate that creative research, as a rigorous, reflexive and critical practice, productively contributes to knowledge in an academic context.

Keywords: Research-based Visual Art Practice, Museums, Experience, Embodiment, Renaissance

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp.31-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.519MB).

Dr. Jo-Anne Duggan

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr. Jo-Anne Duggan is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Victoria University in Melbourne. She has extensive experience as an inter-disciplinary researcher and photomedia artist working in international museum environments. For the past decade she has been exploring new ways of visually conveying aspects of history and material culture interwoven with the notions of time, knowledge, embodied experience and memory. As an artist Duggan’s career has evolved through more than thirty solo and group exhibitions in Australia and internationally. She has long been associated with the arts and has lectured at a number of Australian universities in critical theory, visual art and visual culture, history, photomedia and visual communication. She has been the recipient of national and international grants, including three from the Australia Council, and undertaken residencies in Milan, Florence and Prato, in Italy.


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