Director Thomas P Campbell who took over as Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York 18 months ago speaks out in an interesting interview on how he sees the new landscape of Art and the public’s relationship to it and how he is looking to position the Met to best fit in that world.
The Met has long had a distant relationship with Contemporary Art for half a centurty now almost and Campbell talks about that shifting possibly since he feels there is more of an audience for it then before and there is enough context to properly align it with the 5000 years or more of collected art under the Met roof.
Most interestingly Campbell talks about Contemporary Art as being the first step in a “fundamental shift” in the Met’s operation and presentation of displays. The goal in making them more accessible and a less steep knowledge prerequisite to even simply engage shows. Saying such things as:
“We assume people know who Rembrandt is, for example. We have wonderful, thoughtful labels next to each Rembrandt painting, but there’s no overview of who he was and, frankly, considering our international audience, I doubt whether many of them do know who [he] was, or the significance of a particular period room, in a broader context.
“What I’m trying to do is to get the museum rethinking the visitor experience from the moment that people arrive at the museum: the signage they encounter, the bits of paper they pick up, all the way through to the way we deliver information in the galleries. And obviously that’s an enormous task. We’ve got a million square feet of gallery space and tens of thousands of objects on display, so nothing’s going to change overnight.”
Thomas Campbell who is not looking to do anything radical with the Met’s conversation and was largely apointed for that reason among others is also someone who sees the writing on the wall a bit it seems when after trying to describe a Titian bacchanal to a Italian teacher at Christie’s to no success with typical termiology shifted gears to saying:
“It is a drunken orgy and they are all having sex!”
To which the point hit home and Campbell said his lesson from that was:
“Academia at its best embraces and speaks to a broad audience”
It will be interesting to see where he takes the self described “inward-looking” culture that permiates the Met currently and many organizations in the Art world.
More can be read here
Countless people, tons of money, hours of training and years of therapy go into keeping organizations from being perceived of doing the very things they are, in fact, doing. Things everyone knows they are doing but as most people learned as kids there is a big difference between knowing something to be true and proving something to be true.
What if though, companies owned up to what they were doing and PR wasn’t pushed to spin? What if Letterman said he doesn’t care what you think of his sex life, either tune in and laugh or go to the other chin. If Facebook & Google reminded everyone that they are a company that makes it’s only source of revenue off of pimping your private information, its free remember? If Steve Jobs just finished the sentence he has been trying to say to consumers for years which is “I make the products I want and you will either like the simple walled garden I cultivate or go screw off, I owe you nothing. If I listened to you Apple would be smaller then Palm”.
Alas those days will never come since there are countless skilled and paid professionals who work very hard at refracting the actions of their organization in such a way that it is almost impossible for the average person to feel confident that anything specific is, in fact, happening. It’s a necessary evil that has a role until there are people that realize they shouldn’t just say whatever they might think in front of a Rolling Stone reporter, or that people really do start quiting jobs to spend more time with their family.
Till that day comes though, enjoy these films lol.
Back in the beginning of June, Creative Time and artist Paul Ramírez Jonas set up a kiosk in New York City’s Times Square and gave away free keys to the city to groups of two. Keys that would enable the duos to see rarely visited or in some cases previously unacessable areas in all five boroughs.
Places such as:
- Brooklyn Museum
- Gracie Mansion
- Whitney Museum of American Art
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Louis Armstrong House Museum
- Among many others
The awarding of the keys has a small amount of built in pomp and circumstance requiring there to be two and that each oratorically awards the key to the other declaring why that person has earned this right.
None of the destinations are life altering or that exclusive (some are just dressed up marketing attempts) but it is a wonderful treasure hunt of sorts even if at times we do not like treasure hunts and an excellent artiface or conceit to excitingly get people to venture out into the city beyond the usual commercial destinations. To see the romantic corners & rooms of NYC so to speak.
The Art project was a kind of API but instead of allowing computers to share data or tools it empowered people with the theater, opportunity and open ended purpose to expand on it if they so desired, a Art Project Interface of sorts. Many have built other projects on top of it from bike routes, water gun assassinations to interestingly extending the romantic couple metaphor into literal dates.
Thats what Lauren Burke, a 26-year-old Manhattan lawyer, art reporter and photographer decided to do. Turning each of the locations into a date with the following statement:
Take one single girl, the most inspiring public art project yet, and summer in New York City and you have the idea for a perfect blog:
After being presented with the key to the city and now having the ability to unlock 24 secret sights around all five boroughs, 24 dates will be had throughout the summer, seeing if both love and intrigue can exist in the city where no one sleeps.
1) Every first date this summer must somehow incorporate a key to the city site
2) Each sight can only be visited once before another sight is visited.
3) Men or women may be repeated before sites, meaning that a site may be visited on a second date if the man or woman warranted a second visit.
4) No ex-boyfriends allowed as sight visits unless they too are warranting a second visit.
5) As the key to the city project is to expand our city horizons, each site visit date must also incorporate a food or drink spot never before tried.
5) Whoever wins my heart also wins my second key to the city.
6) Have fun, love life, love NYC, love love.,
So with summer approaching, 4th of July celebrations this weekend and a economy/job market that just keeps going down like it was from Jersey and in The Situation‘s room (not you Blitzer) find that special someone and explore the little known hidden free gems of your city or town with them. I have every intention to.
This week: Brian and Patricia talk to Artist Natasha Wheat.
As part of the ongoing collaboration between Bad At Sports and Art Practical, as well as the summer series exploring social practice, this week Brian Andrews and Patricia Maloney sit down with Natasha Wheat as she prepares for her upcoming exhibition and temporary restaurant “Self Contained,” which opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago on July 13.
Currently based in San Francisco, Wheat is an American artist whose work attempts to understand and interrupt the way that human beings exist together. She is interested in the social hierarchy of space, utopian attempts, and the tension between exclusivity and inclusion. Wheat founded Project Grow, a Portland Oregon based Art Studio and Urban Farming Project that includes people with mental diversity. Her recent work examines agriculture in relationship to human culture, distribution, and control. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008.
Wheat has exhibited collaboratively and individually at The UC Berkeley Art Museum; The Pete and Susan Barrett Gallery, Santa Monica; Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway; G2, Mess Hall, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Check out the text version of this interview, starting July 1, in Issue 18 of Art Practical.
I wrote an article a few days ago on my sit down talk with Tony Fitzpatrick about his new series of work and the new show “This Train” that is appearing at The Steppenwolf theater. At the time I really wanted to have some video to go along with the post and now we do. Below is an exert from the performance which shows July 15 – August 1, 2010, enjoy.