The world can be divided into ten groups of art-viewers. We’ve all seen them, been annoyed by them, and pretended like we weren’t staring. But never before have these universal poses been so thoroughly investigated and catalogued. Here is your ultimate guide to the body language of gallery browsing. You’re welcome.
Fig Leafs are abundant, polite, and cautious. They mostly don’t know what to do with their hands and have nightmares about crossing the marked lines on the floor.
Feet wide apart, the Power Stance just arrived to the show. Their glasses are on and their arms are crossed. Try to get in their way, I dare you.
Don’t be fooled, Nodders are never having a good day. It’s likely that they’ll repeatedly mumble the phrase “uh huh” to make up for the fact that they left their notepad at home. Also–they have plenty of stories about growing up in the 1940s, in case you’re curious.
The Mansplainer isn’t actually looking at the art, rather, facing forward to provide his audience with the leftovers of his Art History degree. Don’t worry, there’s no need for him to observe the piece because he’s seen it forty times already and it’s the desktop image on his laptop.
Like its brethren Fig Leaf, The Hands Behind The Back members of the arts community are respectful and aware of their surroundings. But the HBTB isn’t easily impressed. They know their stuff and would like for you to put your phone away.
The Thinker is locked in, baby. They came to the show alone and won’t be available to be reached for the next eight to ten hours. But, if it’s urgent, you can find them during their break at the Museum cafe, sipping a double espresso.
Context really matters here, folks, because the Squatter could mean one of two things. On the one hand, a Squatter might have had a long day of perusing and can’t seem to find a bench. However, in in some cases, the Squatter is the kind of person who needs to look into an artwork’s soul and hear what it has to say. If you ask them, they’ll tell you that they’re making love to the art. They’re definitely Spanish.
No photography in the gallery? Try and catch these gals. The Rebel’s attention is only half dedicated to the artwork because they’re trying to design a GPS mapping system of where the guards are standing. Rule of thumb: never stand between a Rebel and their Instagram account.
The Gotta Pee’s are easy to spot. Their classic symptoms include neck craning, pacing, and fidgeting. But cut them some slack, all they wanted was to spend their Saturday at the movies.
Of the same family origin as the Squatters, these art-goers are determined to orchestrate a personal moment with the art in front of them. They’re bold, brash, and motivated, and they make Fig Leaf’s extremely uncomfortable. “Maybe if I stand here, I’ll understand what the painting means.“
So, which one are you?