Monday, 4 August 2014

The future of museums?

There's been a 'controversy' about the photographer who dressed up the Riace Bronzes in a thong and boa for a photo shoot. The photographer should, of course, be shot along with the morons who gave permission for the shoot (apparently not expecting quite this). It's an especially insulting, degrading and harmful prank, but also one without the least trace of redeeming visual interest. But it's so in keeping with the times, trying to make things hip and fun and relevant. The idea that art should be protected, still less revered, is redundant. 
Rodin / Parker
Picture: Guardian
The Tate allowed Cornelia Parker, an 'artist', to bind Rodin's Kiss in rope. A public-spirited visitor cut the ropes, an act that was ironically called vandalism. The Family Friendly Museum award in the UK is being judged by an author who boasts about ignoring 'Do Not Touch' signs, which he thinks is fine because kids like to handle things. My visit to the Koninklijk in Antwerp was ruined by loud and intrusive video installations, and in one case a hyper-realist 'sculpture' of a man leaning against the glass in front of an old master painting.

But who actually goes to a museum to see sculptures obscured by rope wrappings, or to watch a video? The irony is that it's often museum officials rather than visitors who are most enthusiastic about this nonsense, because they misjudge their audiences and under-estimate the power of art (real art) to move people, without need for sensational pranks. 

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