Danny Sanderson—an Israeli musician—once said that he doesn’t write about (in Hebrew the preposition is “on”) his children, because they keep moving all the time. – This was of course a joke, but there is an important truth here.
Sometimes, when in a museum, when I look at a painting or something, I look around and see others do the same, and I think: I wish people would give more of this sort of patient detailed attention to other people too, and not just to art-objects. – But it’s harder with people; they keep moving all the time. And even worse: they interact with you, they make demands, they break into your universe, they pay attention back.
The difference is one of grammar. One can pay a museum type of attention to people, real or fictional, when reading about them or writing about them or painting them and so on—when they are still and remote. It is therefore easier to resist moralism when one is in the artist-position or in the position of the customer of art. But people, actual people, are not works of art. This does not indicate that we need to give up on details. Rather, we need to find a way to attend to them in the right way. That is, attention to detail comes to different things in the aesthetic case and in the moral case.
I want to say that the way of looking at a work of art can be a metaphor for the way of looking at people.