Managers of art museums and of other similar organisations such as art galleries are therefore increasingly turning to marketing to help them better understand and satisfy the needs and wants of their various publics. This paper reports some preliminary results of an empirical study aimed at obtaining a better understanding of the behavior of art museum goers. Its main focus is the process of appreciation of art objects in the context of a visit to an art exhibition at a museum. The research, conducted over a period of two years in a museum of contemporary art, uses a multi-method methodology. This methodology combines a naturalistic inquiry approach involving participant observation and in-depth interviews with a large scale survey of museum goers. The research tries to answer the following questions: How do lovers of art go about appreciating art objects presented during an exhibition? What are the main dimensions involved in the aesthetic experience? What are the motivations underlying a visit to an art Museum? How does one become socialized into museum going? Some of the answers to these questions suggest that the "consumption" of art is an extremely complex phenomenon. The research also profiles the museum clientele. It includes a description of the general behavior of visitors towards art as well as some socioeconomic characteristics. The paper concludes with a discussion of some preliminary marketing implications of the study for the management of art exhibitions and of art museums. In addition, a brief description of further analysis to be undertaken is presented.