Art
Do you like art? Have you ever visited an art gallery? Which do you prefer: museums or art galleries? When was the last time you went to an art gallery? What did you learn on that day?
Vocabulary
  • Overly (adverb) - too; very.
  • To go out of your way (idiom) - to try very hard to do something, especially for someone else.
  • On display - arranged for people to look at or buy in a store.
  • Exposure (noun) - the fact of experiencing something or being affected by it because of being in a particular situation or place.
  • Cusp (noun) - the dividing line between two very different things.
  • Sophisticated (adj.) - having a good understanding of the way people behave and/or a good knowledge of culture and fashion.
Questions and answers
M: Rory, do you like art?

R: This reminds me a lot of the mirror questions, actually. Art and mirrors are similar in so many ways. You don't overly notice them most of the time unless someone is holding them in their hands. But you would certainly notice if they were absent, so I don't go out of my way to enjoy art, but it is nice having it around or floating around in front of me.

M: Have you ever visited an art gallery?

R: Once or twice? I think the last time was in late 2019 at the Tretyakov Gallery. I think they had the "Apotheosis of war" on display at the time, which was interesting. But I didn't go out of my way to go to these places, and I don't regularly. So the art you're holding right now is all of the exposure I've had in the last few months.

M: Which do you prefer, museums or art galleries?

R: To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of either. But if I had to choose, it would probably be museums, at least there's some variety in the things to do and see there. But in the case of an art gallery, it's a lot of looking and talking, which I don't find to be very productive or meaningful.

M: When was the last time you went to an art gallery?

R: Like I said, it was around November 2019. And I only remember that because of the events around that period. I think we were on the cusp of a full global pandemic at that point.

M: What did you learn on that day?

R: I learned I don't really like art galleries, regardless of how famous they are, to be honest, I wish I could be the sophisticated sort of person that can get into these things. But to be honest, as I am now, I can think of better things to do with my time.
Discussion
M: So art galleries. In speaking part one IELTS people can ask you about museums, could ask you about art in general, or specific questions about art galleries, that's why we're talking about art galleries. So do you like art? So like to begin with. And then Rory goes like, hmm, you don't overly notice art, but you certainly notice when art is absent. Right?

R: Yes. Although them I'm referring to here is like pictures, to be honest with you.

M: And Rory, you said that I don't go out of my way to enjoy art.

R: Yeah, I don't, like I'm busy. I have stuff to do.

M: Hmm. And art, we mean, kind of any, any forms of art. For example, I have this nice photograph. It's a photograph by Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

R: That's not a real name.

M: No, no. Seriously, it is a name. Yeah, it's Yann Arthus-Bertrand. And it's a hut in New Caledonia in France. So it's actually like this. So is this art, like if we kind of, it's a photograph? Is this also art?

R: I think so. I should point out, right, the answers here, if you like art are not particularly helpful. So it's worth mentioning different kinds of art that you could talk about. For example, Maria's art is a good example of landscape art. In the same way, you could talk about portraits. You could talk about historical fictions, seascapes, starscapes, any kind of scape, really, including escape the art gallery, because you're bored, which is what I would do. So those are just a few things that you could say, to be honest. Then we could talk about different styles of art. For example...

M: Modern art.

R: Modern. Classical.

M: That's it. Ancient.
R: Cubist. Impressionist. I know what these, I know the words, I don't know what they mean. You could also talk about pointillism. There you go. Pointillism. That's it. I know what that is. That is when the, the use of small dots almost to simulate the different shades of light falling on different kinds of surface.

M:Yes. And also, it's a good idea to talk about different art galleries, right? And if you don't know the names of art galleries, you can just talk about famous art galleries. So for example, if we think about the most famous art galleries all over the world, so for example, the first one is the Louvre. How do you say it in English? The Louvre?

R: I say the Louvre, but I always make sure I say that in the Louvre in Paris, so that people know exactly what it is in case I mispronounce it.

M: Yeah.

R: Sorry, French listeners. I'm not very good at that.

M: You can even, if you've never been to the Louvre, you just can imagine that, oh, yeah, the last time I went to an art gallery, I visited the Louvre. And I saw the Mona Lisa, in Paris in France. So just you can make it up. Or, for example, the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam. Van Goff. Van Goff, right?

R: I don't think that's how you pronounce that either.

M: I think it's Van Goff Museum.

R: I'm just gonna apologize to all of our Western European subscribers right now.

M: Yeah. So people in Amsterdam, please educate Rory how to pronounce Van Goff.

R: You first.

M: And who he was, you know. and also the state heritage in Russia. Or is it state heritage or the state heritage? Do we use an article with art galleries?

R: I think it's the... because it's a specific place.
M: Yeah. The Hermitage Museum. It could also be an art gallery. So you can talk about that. So the Louvre, the Van Goff Museum, the British Museum. Okay, it's a museum, but also kind of what's the difference between an art gallery and a museum, you know.

R: Well, a museum is a place for display, sorry, a museum as a place for displaying artifacts, whereas an art gallery is a place for displaying things that are specifically considered to be art. I mean, there are like, there are things like ancient...

M: Artifacts, exhibits, ancient exhibits.

R: No, no, it's still the same idea. Like an ancient, I don't know, ancient desks, for example, that's not usually considered art, that's something functional that tells us something about the people that lived in that specific time.

M: And then, for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right? Also. So if you have no idea about the names, so just, you can use some of these names. And you can make it up, even if you've never been to an art gallery. So just go ahead and... Yeah.

R: Just go ahead.

M: Just go ahead, you know.

R: Just go ahead. However, there are also. Despite the fact I know nothing about art, because I'm a complete Philistine. There are still some useful things in here, for example, don't go out of my way, which just means I don't make an effort to do something.

M: Yeah, and you used it twice.

R: I know, because I was, I just wasn't going out of my way to use different kinds of vocabulary to describe the subject.

M: So you kind of said, like, I don't go out of my ways to enjoy art. So, and also about an art gallery. I don't go out of my way to go to these places. So to go to art galleries, right, so I don't go out of my way to go to these places. So Rory is definitely not a culture vulture. So he just, you know, he's a podcaster, a Scottish person.
R: I have other things to do with my time.

M: Write books, hate bananas and raisins. So, I'm not a huge fan of museums. I'm not a huge fan of art. And we are very sorry if you do enjoy art. But Rory is just like, he doesn't care about cars, about advertisements, about, you know, art.

R: But I'm doing a good job of showing how people can talk about things they're not interested in. So it's not a total loss.

M: Yeah. And then again, like, to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of museums, or art galleries. But if I had to choose, you see, our second conditional. If I had to choose, it would be probably museums. So it would probably be museums. Sorry. So which do you prefer museums or galleries. I'm not a huge fan of either, but if I had to choose, it would be it'd be museums. And then we can have a lot of things on display in an art gallery. So different paintings, drawings on display. They're called exhibits, paintings, drawings, photographs, photos.

R: Sketches.

M: I wish I could be the sophisticated sort of person.

R: So still, I wish I could, like that's a good structure as well for expressing regret, not necessarily connected to art galleries, but connected to regretting that you weren't when you got these questions in your exam.

M: Yeah, so if you don't like something, you say, oh, I wish I were more into art, or I wish I knew more about art, or I wish I could visit art galleries more often. But you don't. Right? So I wish I could. I wish I were. We are talking about imaginary situations. Yeah. What do you call a person who actually enjoys art? Can we call them a culture vulture?

R: Boring. No, I don't know. I wouldn't use that phrase. I would just say someone that enjoys going to art galleries. A connoisseur of fine art.

M: Yeah, unfortunately, I'm not a connoisseur of fine art, or I am a real connoisseur of fine art. So we have also an episode about art in general, an audio episode, so you can listen to this for even more vocabulary and be ready to talk about museums, art in general and art galleries. Thank you so much for listening!

R: And we'll see you next week! Bye-bye!

M: Bye!
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