1) I think it depends on a few things. If you are looking at a person who has no idea that you are looking at them, they probably won’t change anything because they are being observed. It’s like using a two-way mirror to try to observe the “real” someone. Because if someone sees you looking at them they might get self-conscious or uncomfortable or just weirded out which would definitely change their actions. Plus, looking and being looked at is not just gendered, but also depends on a person’s religion and culture and whatever social norms they were raised with. So the act of looking definitely can have an effect on who is being looked at, especially depending on the response the person being looked at hopes to get from their audience. The act of looking also changes the way things are viewed, as everyone views things differently based on their own experiences. People can look at the same artwork and see very different things. And it is interesting to think about the possibility of how objects change when we are not looking at them, like the toys coming to life in Toy Story or when a little kid plays pretend or imagines that their stuffed animal came to life when left at the library for a sleepover.
2) The status of the painting changed immensely in value and reputation. As you said in class, millions of people lined up just to see the empty space on the wall where the Mona Lisa had been. Every moment the Mona Lisa stayed hidden it became more and more popular. Like a rumor spreading, the more something or someone is talked about, the more well-known it becomes. Thus the saying, “no press is bad press.” Add to that a sense of mystery and drama, and the status of the missing Mona Lisa grew enormously. Probably everyone had a theory and loved talking about it.