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Being a babe in front of Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris ((all photos via babesatthemuseum.com)

So we know that museums are filled with some of the world’s greatest art, but what about the people who attend museums? Are they artworks unto themselves?

Blogger Xavier Aaronson is out to prove just that with his blog Babes at the Museum. The site takes a cue from street fashion blogs likes The Satorialist and transfers it to the museum, where apparently some of the most babe-ilicious fashionistas can be found. And who can say they’re surprised? Museums attract cultural savvy people, which in most metropolises like New York or Paris, also means hot, superbly well-dressed chicks.

Xavier had this to say about his blog in an email to Hyperallergic:

It’s a concept photo project that examines the unnoticed style and camouflaged flair of those who roam through the world’s most exquisite museums. The parameters are simple: Encounter must be by chance, must ignore requests from security guards and should be a participatory experience with the “babes.” BATM hopes to opens people’s eyes to the style and elegance at the museum that they don’t pick up on because they’re too busy staring at the exhibited art.

Aaronson and his crew of photographers scout out the babes, and there are also Babe Ambassadors, although we’re not totally sure what they do other than look really good in front of art. For someone like me who can’t get enough of people-watching (I’ve been called out on the subway a couple times for staring), Babes at the Museum is like crack.

Some of my favorites are the babes at the La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris (another shocker!) who go all out in some pretty impressive get-ups to look at art. The Natural History Museum is also a babe treasure trove because hot science nerds are the ultimate babes, as well as the hallways and galleries of MoMA PS1, where dressing up in your hipster finest is almost a requirement.

The blog is only proof that while we think we’ve come a long since the days of Manet’s “Olympia” (one of the quintessential art babes that much ink has been spilled over) and art history’s obsession with the perfect female form, art, even just the act of viewing it, is still very much about beauty. And of course the internet will never tire of hot girls.

Just one question: what about all the museum studs? Babes at the Museum includes a few dudes, but it’s slim pickings, and you know the art world isn’t short of its cute boys. Please see: “The Top Ten Art World Figures I’d Like to F***”.  Enough said.

Here’s just a taste of some of the best babes that pose, pout and occasionally look at art in museums (captions mine). Thanks to Xavier, I think next time I’m at a museum I’ll be way too busy checking out babes to notice the art.

Chic French Babe at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris (photo by Chloé Le Drezen)

Velociraptor babe at the Natural History Museum in New York. Rawwwr! (photo by Xavier Aaronson)

Mystified babe staring into an Olafur Eliasson piece at the Arken Museum in Denmark (photo by Sarah Tora Goldstein Hansen)

My-outfit-matches-this-Pollock babe at the Museum of Modern Art (photo by Xavier Aaronson)

The mooning babes at the Louvre in front of Henri Regnault’s “Three Graces.”

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Liza Eliano

Liza Eliano is Hyperallergic’s editorial assistant by day, and bad TV fanatic by night. She recently graduated from Barnard College with a BA in art history and a newfound love for girl power. She was...

15 replies on “Babes in Museum Land (NSFW)”

  1. This post reminds me of the first time I went to the Armory Art Fairs in New York. I was not very interested in the artwork being shown but I was blown away by the people looking at it. Men and women alike, and these women were anything but “babes,” they were classy down to their fancy pumps.

    Seems problematic though, when people are more interesting than art. Louie CK says that everything in American culture is over-sexualized (“All musicians are good looking, isn’t that an odd coincidence?…I’d think there would be at least one ugly guy with a guitar!”) and I wonder if these “babes” will make it even harder for people who just happen to be babes to look at art in peace.

    1. You bring up a good point Alissa, and the blog definitely feeds into our obsession with revering beauty, as I mention in the post. I was also thinking as I was writing it that maybe more older women should be included, instead of just hot 20-somethings. 

      At the same time the blog taps into the surrounding culture that the art world, and museums, produce. The experience of going to a museum is often just as much about seeing art as it is about going to be seen. And honestly, sometimes the people are actually more interesting than the art. But you’re right, that shouldn’t be the focus.  

    2. It’s precisely their state of peace and concentration that was positively babe about these subjects. The fact that they were not seeking attention and just wanted to take in the art and possibly some alone time is what heightened their serene and cultured demeanor, making them babe beyond their looks and style. Oh and Art Fairs, vernissages, and boozey gallery shows do not foster the kind of babes that fall under the museum babe radar. Those “babes” are dressed to impress which is very un-babe, in our book.

    3. It’s precisely their state of peace and concentration that was positively babe about these subjects.
      The fact that they were not seeking attention and just wanted to take in
      the art and possibly some alone time is what heightened their serene
      and cultured demeanor, making them babe beyond their looks and style. Oh
      and Art Fairs, vernissages, and boozey gallery shows do not foster the
      kind of babes that fall under the museum babe radar. Those “babes” are
      dressed to impress which is very un-babe, in our book.

    4. It’s precisely their state of peace and concentration that was positively babe about these subjects.
      The fact that they were not seeking attention and just wanted to take in
      the art and possibly some alone time is what heightened their serene
      and cultured demeanor, making them babe beyond their looks and style. Oh
      and Art Fairs, vernissages, and boozey gallery shows do not foster the
      kind of babes that fall under the museum babe radar. Those “babes” are
      dressed to impress which is very un-babe, in our book.

  2. Indeed, it may be an obvious symptom of the times, when we go to the museum to be seen looking at art, to tweet about looking at art, rather than look at it and get lost in the looking.

    1. I have to say, Peter. I feel like this is a chronic issue. During the 18th C. there were probably the same complaints when people went to the Paris Salons. It was a scene an people went to people watch. During the 19th C. it was probably similar. I think being human often means we’re as interested in looking at each other as art. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, just another part of the social aspect of art. There’s only so long we can spend in silence staring at stuff, no?

      1. Love that you brought up the Paris Salons, Hrag. Dandies will be dandies. Also, the Paris Salons were annual or biannual art events which drew out some lavish guests and generated a prominent hoopla. BATM hopes to uncover more everyday museum-goers dressed stylishly but modestly who aren’t there to draw that much attention to themselves, nor to our naked eye. Hence, the idea of camouflaged looks and this project attempting to highlight them.

        1. This seems to beg the question, however, aren’t women already objectified beyond excess in society? The manner in which they are photographed on Babes at the Museum seems to highlight very young, innocent looking, quite pretty girls. That they happen to be at museums, looking at art, (they could also be shyly watching a movie in a darkened movie theater) seems like a weak excuse to objectify them. I’m not sure what it says other than women dress nice, and sometimes look at art, and oh! they are also pretty. Trust me, babes never forget.  

  3. You know I’m a fan, Hrag, but your current group of articles has really
    pushed my “Pissed Off” button:

    .  “Why Are We Obsessed
    With the Way We Look” may be answered by another article you’ve posted: “Babe-ilicious
    fashionistas” in museum. Gak. In this context, the  woman who lap danced the Clyford Still is
    looking less and less crazy to me

    . Colette’s protest is hardly strange. Gaga has done with her
    window what Madonna did with vogue-ing: taken it from its authentic source and gotten a ton
    of credit for it

    On a more positive note, the Wynwood Walls feature is fab.

    1. LOL, Joanne. Always feel free to chime in. You are awesome!! And the more I think about the lap dancing Still person, the more bizarre it seems.

      In terms of the Colette protest, I think it’s strange because of the video, which felt like a fashion label ad more than a protest. It was just odd IMHO.

  4. Colette DID seem self conscious in the video, I agree. But she really dresses like that, and her installations are very much in the style of what you see in Gaga’s window. But Colette has been doing it for several decades, well ahead of the gagster, or should I say, the gagaster. 

    1. It’s true but I wonder if Gaga may have gotten some of that through drag queen culture, which seems to have closer affiliations with Colette, and honesty I’m not sure which way that transmission happened. Streams of influence is such a strange thing.

  5. I’m glad someone figured out a way to use it as marketing.  http://www.thelocal.fr/2255/20120111/

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