The Art Institute's unfriendly Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibition

Kudos to the Art Institute of Chicago for its wonderful Van Gogh’s Bedrooms exhibition. I visited it on Friday during the members’ preview and the exhibition is a knock-out in its presentation.

Except for one thing: The printing on the placards on the walls accompanying every facet of the exhibition is too van goghsmall. Way, way too small. You don’t have to be an old gaffer with failing eyesight like me to see the problem. You’ve got to get up close to read each description, which won’t work with the expected crowds or you’ll be blocking someone else’s view. Make the print LARGER, please.

A cynic might say that the print is small so that viewers will be forced to rent one of those audio devices that gives a step-by-step description and analysis of the exhibition. But even those visitors who use the devices are at a disadvantage because the address of the particular exhibit you’re looking at also is in the small type on the placard.

This is no small thing (pun intended) if the Art Institute has their customers’ comfort and convenience in mind. And while I’m at it, the Art Institute could do a favor for those of us with aging or uncomfortable back by putting a few more benches in the halls. We’d love to enjoy Van Gogh’s bedrooms just as much as everyone else.


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    My 71-year-old eyes almost are as old as yours, and on Friday during the members' preview (how did we miss each other?) I had no trouble reading the signage about the paintings and the larger postings that put the paintings in their historic context.

    Maybe updated glasses or cataract surgery is called for?

    In any case, we agree completely that Van Gogh's Bedrooms is a superb exhibit -- fascinating, informative and inspirational.

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