This year marks the third time we have asked our visitors to vote for their favorite artwork at the Museum. From February 11 through 14, visitors left 689 hearts on 179 different artworks. That’s a whole lotta love!
So, why do we keep doing this activity around Valentine’s Day each year? For one thing, it’s fun! Visitors really enjoy it, and it’s an easy way for them to interact with the art and tell us what they care about. We’ve seen time and time again that our visitors want to share their opinions with us, whether on social media, on comment cards, or in written correspondence.
Since the last time we offered this activity, there have been numerous changes to the artworks on view in the galleries. Some objects that were on view last year have been replaced with different ones. For example, last year’s most popular artwork was Dustin Yellin’s Cephaloproteus Riverhead (Four Hearts, Ten Brains, Blue Blood Drained through an Alembic). But it was changed out for some other works of art, so what did guests vote for instead?
This year the object with the most hearts was Carroña, which is no surprise to us since it is popular with visitors every year. The surprising thing was that it received 55 hearts which is almost twice the number of hearts that last year’s favorite got.
Many of the artworks that visitors love the most are repeated from year to year. Endeavor, Lynx After A Sketchbook Page, and It’s Raining Knives are always well-loved by guests.
But one reason we continue to offer this activity is that sometimes what resonates with visitors is a surprise. For example, this year, Untitled by John de Wit received an impressive 18 hearts. Personally, I didn’t really “get it,” until I noticed a handwritten note from the sculpture’s donor that he left next to the label which read: “On this Valentine’s Day, I place [hearts] in memory of her – my wife – who passed 2005 – James Russell.”
And that heartfelt note gave me an idea. What if we invited guests to share what they like about their favorite artwork by writing on their heart-shaped sticky notes before adhering it to the display case? What would they tell us and what more could we learn about our visitors?
Come back next year to find out!