When you were little, art museum visits taught you new manners. You learned that while it’s OK to stare at Degas’s “Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot,” it’s not OK to stare at woman boxing at the ear of her screaming child. You must not stare. You should not point. You do not touch.
It was easier not to touch the paintings than the sculptures. The sculptures begged your thumbs to feel the apples of their cheeks, the ruffles at their collars, the delicacy of their noses. And an outstretched hand beckoned you to mirror the gesture, touching each corresponding marble finger to your own. But you didn’t. You kept still. Polite.