Delightful Photos of People Explaining Artworks to Other People

New York-based artist Matthew Monteith conceived of his photo series Guardare (Italian for “to look”) while on the roof of the Villa Aurelia at the American Academy in Rome. He observed the director explaining a view of the city (the first image, below) and snapped a photo.

“I am fascinated with the art of explanation, the moment when one individual, using their own knowledge of an object, both conceptual and historical takes on the task of animating that story and attempts to plant the seed of that idea into the minds of others. These ideas morph into new ideas and ultimately into new works,” the artist told us.

An MFA graduate of the Yale School of Art, Monteith captured many of his photos in the university’s galleries. The gestures and glances connect the explainer and rapt audience to the piece, and to each other. Taken somewhat out of context for our viewing, it becomes a kind of dance. Monteith calls it a “quasi-magical transfer of ideas.” See docents, professors, patrons, and other people gesticulate with abandon in our gallery.

Photo credit: Matthew Monteith

Photo credit: Matthew Monteith