When’s the last time you loved your museum?

Posted: January 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on When’s the last time you loved your museum?

One of the things I love best about living in my neighborhood is how close I am to the “arts district” here. Once a month for years I would roam in and out of every gallery and see the new works. Some I absolutely loved, a lot I was indifferent to, but the newness of it, the chance to see a new expression is what always kept me coming back.

Conversely, while I love the Phoenix Art Museum for what it tries to be, it’s more metaphor than brick-and-mortar to me. Hell, it looks like a citadel of art on the corner of a major intersection that I pass by twice a day during my commute. In my adult life I’ve been to the museum a half-dozen times, but haven’t gone to a show there in years.

Why? Because the shows they stage look better on a banner than they do inside. Not to say they are curated poorly, just that the formula of finding a big name (or semi-big name) artist to show, then hoisting their work up and expecting us to come stare at it like a bunch of yokels, isn’t working out as way of engaging me.

And it’s not just our museum. During my trips abroad this year, I’ve loved the opportunity to see world-class art up close at the V&A Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, and almost the Louvre (who closes on Tuesdays? seriously!) Some of these places knocked my f***ing socks off. All of them were great to see once, some of them I could see myself wanting to go back several times. But if I put myself in the place of a regular citizen, how often would I really enjoy them as a public resource?

With anything that represents age and establishment and order, the opportunity to grow stale and remain rigid is always present. Even with art, the subject that’s supposed to make us stay our most human, we find ourselves mired in governing boards, big named sponsors, and outdated standards.

Today I came across an opinion piece by one of my art-world heroes, Marc Schiller:

“For us, it has more to do with the fact that as time goes on, more and more of our museums fail to live up to the ideals that we have for them. We want, and expect, museums to defend our free speech. We want, and expect, museums to provide a home for provocative thought. We want, and expect, museums to provoke and inspire debate. What we should not want is for museums to be so constrained and commercial that they add very little to the public debate.”

(full piece here)

I do not have a problem with the concept of only accepting classics, or works that will persevere, but at the same time, I can tell you I’ve gone into a museum 20x more often than any of my friends, and I’ve gone into a gallery 100x more often than I’ve gone into a museum. So what’s that say about everyone else.

Let’s not allow art to turn into Nascar.

I am Doofus.

Posted: April 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on I am Doofus.

It’s 100% true.

Though in many past instances I have referred to myself alternately as “clever”, “brilliant”, a “genius”, and one or twice even “not just a hat rack”, it turns out I was over-estimating.

As you may know, I help monitor Twitter traffic for my employer, and so during the day I have the work-related feeds and my personal feed on screen.  Oftentimes, links will be included in a tweet, and I’ll just favorite it to review later when I’m at home.

Never know what someone will link to, after all.

…and yes, this means that you will never know that someone you admire has linked to your blog.

….and sometimes because you don’t know all of this is happening, you respond to the words in their tweet without clicking the link, trying to sound like a joiner-in’er, a little “hey, look at me, I’m also interested in the topic you’re talking about, please loop me in”, and instead only end up sounding like a doofus.

It’s rewarding to see that so many people have connected with essay I wrote about passion on the Wooster site: http://bit.ly/c8Wn89
9:41 AM Apr 28th
from @MarcDSchiller

@MarcDSchiller really dig the “Passion” essay. quoted it a bit on my blog the other day.
9:45 AM Apr 28th
via TweetDeck in reply to MarcDSchiller

Yes, you doofus, he already knows you wrote about it.  He linked the damn thing.

Way to be a doofus, Ryan.

Knowing is half the battle.

P.S. Thanks for the link Marc.  I’ll be less dumb next time.