The last time I was in France, I had the opportunity to see two exhibitions, which made very different effects on me.
I had not heard about the first one before, it was about contemporary marquetry, and marquetry being a part of my work, I was just curious. Beside of that, I was there anyway, and I had nothing else to do. And... WOW! I discovered the work of Anne Mussche, an artist from Paris who uses not-so-traditionnal techniques to create art pictures. To say it quickly, she superimposes colored veneers, and this gives depth and life to the pictures. To know more about her work, see the link under, there is a very interesting video about how she works.
Two days later I was in Paris and went to see the Monumenta 2011 exhibition, the Leviathan from Anish Kapoor. This time I had read some articles about the artwork, I had seen a few pictures, and I was very curious to see it in real. I was expecting some kind of magic, at least some feelings, being inside this big red monster. And... Bof... Nothing to be excited about. I think that the mega-zillions pixels cameras photographers use are much more sensible than the average human eye, because once I was inside it was difficult to see anything. I allowed some minutes for my eyes to accommodate, but it was still as dark. And from the outside, there wasn't any strong impression either, just the thought that it must have been a technical challenge to build that. But, hey, I came to see an artwork, not an engineer work.
So the word of the history is: Be curious, visit any art exhibition wherever you are, not only what big media write or talk about, and the few good surprises will be worth many times the time lost to see unexpressive works.
("Bof" is a small french word with more or less the same meaning than the internationally better known "comme-ci comme ça", something that you don't really like or dislike)