I am not a people person. Too many people at once makes me tired. I know how that sounds. It’s an odd thing for an educator to say, but it’s true.
Not too long ago I was fortunate to be able to spend a few days on my own in New York City while attending a conference. So many people! The streets held little interest for me, and I soon retreated to the comfort of the museum. It was also filled with people, but there it didn’t seem to matter.
On this trip, I was travelling alone. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s interests or schedule and it was blissful. I spent two full days at the Met, and two at MoMA. I walked and walked and walked. I sat for half an hour in the Monet Waterlilies room looking at two paintings. I visited the El Anatsui installation and two Rauschenberg pieces four times. I discovered that while I am not crazy about David Smith as a painter, I really like his sculpture. There was a feeling of energy and flow in a museum that I don’t feel anywhere else. For me, this is the feeling of making connections to the world around me. I can saw the artist’s brushstrokes, or the finger prints left in a sculpture, I can see the process in the finished piece. I saw some of those artworks that I had previously only seen in photos and it was thrilling.
Luckily I realized a long time ago that for me it’s all about the art. I love what I do. That’s the energy that people feel from me at work. While many of my more outgoing friends get fired up on the interpersonal dynamics of working with people, I do not. I thrive on being immersed in a gallery setting, being surrounded by amazing and inspiring things. Despite my inner introvert, I love giving tours - I can share what I love with others, talking about art, asking questions and encouraging others to look a little more carefully, think a little more critically and consider the world in a new way.
There has been lots of press on ‘the introvert’ of late, and it’s funny to me to see how many people have jumped into that group – lots of my artist friends, in fact. I’m a different person when I’m in a museum than at a party or social gathering, and I’m okay with that. The trick of it is to find what you love and the rest will work itself out.