The Museum is not meant either for the wanderer to see by accident or for the pilgrim to see with awe. It is meant for the mere slave of a routine of self-education to stuff himself with every sort of incongruous intellectual food in one indigestible meal.
—G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) English Journalist, Novelist, Essayist, Poet
Nothing seems more like a whorehouse to me than a museum. In it you find the same equivocal aspect, the same frozen quality.
—Michel Leiris (1901–90) French Anthropologist, Writer, Poet
The Louver is a morgue; you go there to identify your friends.
—Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) French Poet, Playwright, Film Director
Museums, museums, museums, object-lessons rigged out to illustrate the unsound theories of archaeologists, crazy attempts to co-ordinate and get into a fixed order that which has no fixed order and will not be co-coordinated! It is sickening! Why must all experience be systematized? A museum is not a first-hand contact: it is an illustrated lecture. And what one wants is the actual vital touch.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
In museums and palaces we are alternate radicals and conservatives.
—Henry James (1843–1916) American-born British Novelist, Writer
Museums and art stores are also sources of pleasure and inspiration. Doubtless it will seem strange to many that the hand unaided by sight can feel action, sentiment, beauty in the cold marble; and yet it is true that I derive genuine pleasure from touching great works of art. As my finger tips trace line and curve, they discover the thought and emotion which the artist has portrayed.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author
Museums are just a lot of lies, and the people who make art their business are mostly imposters. We have infected the pictures in museums with all our stupidities, all our mistakes, all our poverty of spirit. We have turned them into petty and ridiculous things.
—Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) Spanish Painter, Sculptor, Artist