The Fenimore Art Museum has some of the most interesting lectures, and today D and I went to hear the one on James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903). On display in the museum are primarily his early lithographs, etchings, and drypoint in an exhibit called "The Perfection of Harmony". If you are interested in art, I encourage you to see this exhibit. Even more than that, I encourage everyone to become a member so you can enjoy the "Food for Thought" luncheons, lectures, and tours of a specific exhibit.
However, D and I had a discussion on our way home that dealt with our dissatisfaction with our own ability to absorb both the spoken words of the lecture and the visual art that was the basis of the lecture. Here's the usual schedule for these experiences: luncheon, lecture (frequently in the auditorium), gallery talk (details in the art covered in the lecture). So what was our problem? We found that in the gallery portion with 20 - 25 other people (plus others who happen to be visiting the gallery also), we couldn't get close enough to the art to appreciate the topic under discussion. We also felt that because our attention was fractured by that, we weren't able to focus on the guide's discussion.
We realized that the best way to deal with this problem was either A to stay after the gallery tour and re-visit or B to visit the gallery before the luncheon. With option A there were more problems than benefits. By the end of the gallery tour, our brains are pretty well fried, and even if they weren't, we'd have to rely on recall of our guide's discussion - not our strongest point. If we chose option A we'd have to arrive earlier, and we'd have to study the art without benefit of knowing what the lecture and tour would stress.
The decision was a no brainer. Option B makes more sense for us. By having the opportunity to appreciate the art first when we are fresh, we will get the most out of both lecture and tour no matter what the subject turns out to be.
Too bad it was the last "Food for Thought" on our dance card. Oh well, we'll have to check out what's coming in October and maybe sign up for another.