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Viewing pointers

Some tips on understanding modern art, from Holly Hughes, associate curator at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery:

*Go with your instinct. "Always go with your emotional reaction, too, but then think about why it affects you," Hughes said.

*It could be the color, it could be the size. It all depends on the experiences an individual brings to a piece of art, not just what the art is "supposed" to mean.

*Use the audio wands provided by the gallery, but take plenty of time to consider the work of art first. The audio tours, while helpful, Hughes said, are more effective after the painting or sculpture has had time to sink in. The same goes for wall text: Look first and read later to achieve a deeper understanding of the art's emotional effect.

*Take a tour. The Albright-Knox offers guided tours at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

*Look at the work from far away and approach it slowly, making sure to note how the perspective changes as you move closer. Works that look pristine from across the room, Hughes said, reveal their imperfections and the process behind their creation as the viewer approaches. That unveils a whole new way to appreciate a piece of modern art.

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