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robertogreco : artmuseums   6

Visitor figures 2014: what do we want? Immersive installations by unfamiliar artists - The Art Newspaper
"US institutions think big names draw crowds, but the public is not as predictable as it seems"

"For a contemporary artist, there is no higher honour than to receive a solo exhibition at a major museum. Who is most likely to be given this coveted opportunity? An analysis of 590 solo exhibitions, held at 68 US museums between 2007 and 2013, reflects biases that many knew existed in the art world—but also reveals that audiences do not share the same prejudices.

Museums dedicated a disproportionate number of exhibitions to men, painters and artists represented by top commercial galleries. Of the 590 solo shows during this six-year period, 429—around 73%—featured male artists. The Pop artist Andy Warhol, the Minimalist painter Ellsworth Kelly and the painter and printmaker Jasper Johns had the most exposure: each had seven solo exhibitions during this period, more than any other artist. Male painters represented by top galleries were 7.3 times more likely to be given a solo exhibition than female painters represented by the same dealers (Gagosian Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Marian Goodman Gallery, Pace and David Zwirner).

What motivates a museum to organise an exhibition is very different from what motivates the public to visit one. Museums’ preference for male painters with strong commercial support reflects the enormous pressure they face to produce rapid-fire exhibitions, draw big audiences, please powerful board members and attract corporate and private sponsorship. But if these statistics reflect museums’ assumptions about what audiences want to see, they may want to reconsider.

Painters were entirely absent from our list of the ten best-attended solo shows of the past six years, compiled from The Art Newspaper’s annual attendance surveys. The first painter comes in at number 15 on the list: the South African artist Marlene Dumas, whose retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, in 2008 drew 4,873 visitors a day. Immersive, spectacular and event-driven projects dominated. Visitors were attracted to installations and bodies of work that defy genre, including Richard Serra’s enveloping sculptures at MoMA (first place, with 8,585 visitors a day), Olafur Eliasson’s indoor waterfalls, also at MoMA (fifth place, 6,135 visitors a day), and James Turrell’s perception-bending, luminous environments at New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (ninth place, 5,610 visitors a day).

Male or female? Crowds don’t care

Audiences did not discriminate based on gender. Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at MoMA in 2010, for which the artist sat motionless in the museum for three months, was the second best-attended solo show, drawing 7,120 visitors a day. Pipilotti Rist’s installation Pour Your Body Out, 2008, was the fourth most popular. The Swiss artist’s transformation of MoMA’s atrium into a madcap lounge filled with videos, music and custom-built furniture drew 6,186 visitors a day.

Conventional wisdom holds that museums must show big names to draw crowds. But our analysis proves that name recognition goes only so far—location carries the day. MoMA organised 17 of the 20 best-attended solo exhibitions (the Guggenheim and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art hosted the others). Most of these blockbusters were presented in the museum’s atrium, its largest and most accessible space. This fact is not lost on the institution, which is planning to add similar spaces as part of a future expansion. A glassed-in, high-ceilinged “art bay” visible from the street—and large enough to accommodate multiple works by Serra—will probably turn the museum into an even bigger magnet (although it is unlikely to appease those who resent the crowded nature of the galleries).

Occasionally, MoMA uses its atrium as a platform for lesser-known artists. A labyrinthine installation by the Brazilian Carlito Carvalhosa in 2011 was the eighth best-attended contemporary solo show during this six-year period. The subtle, monochrome work drew 5,615 visitors a day—400 more, on average, than the museum’s widely publicised Tim Burton exhibition on the top floor.

New York: capital of culture

Museums in New York and Los Angeles organised the most contemporary solo exhibitions: New York had 97, Los Angeles 95. But audiences turned out in higher numbers in New York. Museums in the city hosted 41 of the 50 best-attended contemporary solo shows between 2007 and 2013. In contrast, the first exhibition in Los Angeles on our list—the photographer Herb Ritts at the Getty Center in 2012—takes 57th place.

Visitors’ motivations for attending exhibitions are just beginning to come into focus. A study released in January by the National Endowment for the Arts found that only 6% of people went to see work by a specific artist (in contrast with two-thirds of those attending performances). The majority of visual art audiences (88% of those surveyed) had a far simpler goal: to gain knowledge. As museums plan their exhibition schedules, perhaps curators—and board members—will be inspired to look beyond the usual suspects and give the people what they want."
museums  art  artmuseums  2015  juliahalperin  nilkanthpatel  gender  exhibitions  diversity  location  curation 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Alexandra Lange: Letter to LACMA
"Letter to LACMA

I’ve only been to LACMA one time. But this is what I did when I was there.

1. Took a photo (not a selfie) of Chris Burden’s Urban Light.
2. Signed up to see the James Turrell on an iPad at an outdoor kiosk.
3. Listened to the jazz band on the plaza.
4. Rode the escalator up and the elevator down inside what will soon be the old Broad.
5. Walked up and down the stairs and through Tony Smith’s Smoke.
6. Rapped on the enamel panels of the Art of Americas Wing.
7. Saw some art.

That motley list of movements and buildings and sights is, it seems to me, the essence of what LACMA is right now, a museum in many parts, a sum of choices, without hierarchy. A place where you can go in and you can go out at will, not when the architecture tells you to.

That’s an experience rare in large urban museums today, where the impulse always seems to be to agglomerate more real estate, connected indoors, around a central atrium or a central staircase. To go out you have to retrace your steps through long sequences of galleries, or pass to and fro past the store, café, coatcheck. There are many layers of architecture between you and the outside, however many slot-like windows the architect has inserted to tell you where you are. There’s a relentlessness to the arrangement that says, You should see it all, rather than, at LACMA, Why don’t you just pop in for a minute?

In fact, the only large museum I’ve been to that has a similar feeling, and was designed all at the same time, is Pedro Ramirez Vasquez’s Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. There, you can also go in and out easily, as each gallery has doors to its own garden as well as a central courtyard. A gap between two galleries becomes an outdoor display space, a level change leads to a shady café. You can skip stops, criss-cross, go up and down, sit by the fountain, and you always know where you are. The courtyard of the Anthropology Museum is shaded by a giant parasol, akin to OMA’s 2001 LACMA plan, which used a transparent roof to unite the parts without tearing so many of them down. [Ed. note: I realized last night I’ve had the details of this plan wrong in my mind for years, having reframed it as a greenhouse of the past and future.)

When I first read Peter Zumthor’s remarks about his plan for LACMA, it seemed like he got this. Liking small museums rather than large museums, creating a series of separate themed entrances to the collection, and pulling back the building to make room for outdoor activities, were all interpretations of the same motley path I followed. I thought the museum could create a tear-off ticket that would let you pay once and experience the museum over days or weeks, one leg at a time. But then I saw the blob or, I later decided to call it, the blot. It was still a giant totalizing figure, even though it looked different from the more mannerly toplit boxes elsewhere – even on other parts of the LACMA site. The fragmentary nature that seems part of LACMA’s DNA – it is #4 on the most Instagrammed museums list, even without a recognizable front door – seemed to disappear into the blackness. Would the LACMA selfie now include the museum as a dark cloud overhead?

Any architectural design has to win fans through suspension of disbelief. The model, the rendering, something has to make you believe that the architect can deliver the experience he or she has in mind. Zumthor’s LACMA hasn’t cleared that bar for me yet. We haven’t been given enough detail about how the parts would work together to knit together a possible experience, or even a good answer to the question: Why is this the best way to accomplish the museum’s goals? When it was a blot I wanted him to take the liquid metaphor further: A liquid should insinuate itself between solids (like the existing buildings) or soak in to the base layer, creating a new landscape. This did neither.

Nothing in his Zumthor’s previous museum work was similar enough to create a mental collage of how the blot might be to visit. The new version, released this week, comes a little closer to reality. What Zumthor seems to have done is embed galleries closer to his previous, petite museums in the inky form, eliminating many of the legs (too bad), and breaking it down into trapezoids as if to find a scale closer to his comfort zone. I’m worried about the circulation (once you go up, how to you get down, or outside?) and the underneath (is it like the underside of a highway?).

The ease of movement between inside and outside is gone once you raise it up on stilts to get over Wilshire Boulevard. And for an architect whose Swiss projects are embedded in the landscape, it seems strange to impose these flat black pancake floors around the galleries. Peter Zumthor is a critics’ darling because his buildings feel like special places and trust me, we’ve been to too many generic art spaces. What kind of place will this be?"
lacma  2015  alexandralange  museums  experience  peterzumthor  art  artmuseums  architecture  design  autonomy  hierarchy  control  choice  freedom  disbelief  architectire  fragmentation  losangeles 
march 2015 by robertogreco
About · A History of Engagement: The Portland Art Museum, 1892-2014
"A History of Engagement highlights amazing moments of connection, big and small, that have taken place at Portland Art Museum since its founding in 1892. The timeline focuses on Museum engagement that moves outside of standard practice, reaches beyond the museum walls to build relationships, fosters community participation, and makes clear that a museum can be a center of not only cultural engagement, but civic, social, and community activity. The project was a collaboration between the Museum’s 2013–14 Education Department Artist-in-Residence, Jen Delos Reyes, and Sarah Lampen, the Museum’s 2013–14 Samuel H. Kress Foundation Interpretive Fellow, with illustrations from Portland State University student Olivia Serrill.

Jen Delos Reyes is an artist originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her research interests include the history of socially engaged art, artist-run culture, group work, band dynamics, folk music, and artists’ social roles. Jen is the founder and director of Open Engagement, a conference on socially engaged art."

[via: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112045150389781152468/posts/9FRSj4LH3Mg

"Judith Dobrzynski has been calling visitor/audience engagement at museums "mission creep" for quite some time now. If you're wondering whether this is true at the Portland Art Museum, check out this amazing timeline of experimental, creative practice here since 1892! Click on "download" at the top to see the full illustrated timeline. The project was a collaboration between the Museum’s 2013–14 Artist-in-Residence, Jen Delos Reyes, and Sarah Lampen, the Museum’s 2013–14 Kress Interpretive Fellow, with design and illustrations by Olivia Serrill."]
portlandartmuseum  engagement  judithdobrzynski  2014  jendelosreyes  sarahlampen  oliviaserrill  mikemurawski  artmuseums  history  1892  art  msueusm  missions 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Rethink What Can Happen in a Museum: Portland Art Museum’s Shine a Light | Art Museum Teaching
"“Art is a space, which we have created, where we can cease to subscribe to the demands and the rules of society; it is a space where we can pretend. We can play, we can rethink things, we can think about them backwards.” —Pablo Helguera

As museums face the current challenges to drive relevance through becoming more active, participatory, responsive, and community-based, projects such as the ones explored in this past week’s posts indicate a potentially transformative role for artists to play. Whether rethinking a museum’s visitor experience, reinventing the public spaces of and around museums, drawing on creative practice to break museums’ ‘old habits,’ or interrogating the internal culture and working of the museum, artists are effectively exploring museum institutions as sites with a distinct “possibility for evolution,” to reconnect with the powerful words from Joseph Beuys that opened this series of posts (and from which the title of my paper came).

As the second International Museum Forum wraps up here in Yeongwol County, South Korea, I wanted to post this final excerpt from my paper, discussing the artist-driven program I am directly involved in here at the Portland Art Museum. In addition, I’m concluding this post with some of the “core, burning questions” that institutions involved in this work are addressing — especially as many of these projects are in a current phase of reflection and rethinking."



"Inspired by the Machine Project’s Field Guide to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art one-day event in November 2008 as well as the broader approach and process of social practice art, the team at the Portland Art Museum and PSU launched the first Shine a Light event in September 2009. For six hours, the museum was a space in which sixteen artists enacted projects that offered visitors new, unanticipated, playful and provocative ways to experience the museum.  The goals established during this first event—which have remained the core goals for this project up through the most recent Shine a Light event in 2013—included:

• Situate art (producing, interpreting, enjoying, puzzling over) as a living activity that everyone can participate in.
• Encourage an atmosphere of participation between the museum, its visitors, and artists.
• Make the museum a “site” of artistic production and practice.
• Inspire inquiry into the connection between art and everyday life.
• Have fun!

Artist-led projects that have been part of Shine a Light since 2009 have ranged from live Greco-Roman nude wrestling, a museum cookbook, dead artist seances, and haircuts inspired by artworks in the collection to inviting visitors to have a work of art tattooed onto their body, to sing songs about a work of art, or to display their personal cell phone photos within the museum’s photography collection."



"At the Open Engagement panel discussion, the top questions were revealed and discussed, and I think perhaps it is an appropriate way to end this paper by simply presenting these and other questions that are now sparking some open thinking in the field across institutions.

• Are we doing this work to broaden our audiences or to serve existing audiences?
• What’s the difference between an artist doing this work versus a public engagement or education department doing it?
• What does success look like? How do we measure success?
• What happens when institutions collaborate with artists? How can the questions artists ask reshape us as practitioners and reshape the museum itself?

Many of the answers to these and other questions are localized to each project and institution (some have even been addressed above by existing projects), yet certainly some common responses will emerge as institutions push ahead with experimental, participatory practices that open the spaces of museums to the work of social practice and socially-engaged artists, as well as museum staff that have been gaining a tremendous level of creative capacity through this type of work. Overall, many of these core questions bring the conversation back to the ability of these socially-engaged, participatory projects to effect change — whether that is shifting the ‘mindset’ for museum visitors as well as the communities that engage with museums, or a more broad social change felt in the community."

[See also:

Possibilities for Evolution: Artists Experimenting in Art Museums
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/14/artists-experimenting-in-art-museums/

Blurring the Lines: Walker Art Center’s Open Field
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/15/blurring-the-lines-walker-art-centers-open-field/

Getting a Better Sense of the Terrain: Machine Project at the Hammer Museum
http://artmuseumteaching.com/2013/10/18/getting-a-better-sense-of-the-terrain-machine-project-at-the-hammer-museum/ ]
mikemurawski  art  artmuseums  museums  arteducation  participatory  2013  openengagement  pablohelguera  josephbeuys  machineproject  markallen  hammermuseum  lacma  everyday  portlandartmuseum 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Art Museum Teaching | A Forum for Reflecting on Practice
"ArtMuseumTeaching.com is a collaborative forum for reflecting on practice in the field of art museum education. It is the goal of this site to connect educators, ideas, and resources around a dialogue about what we do in our practice of teaching. For those who visit this site, I invite you to post your comments and reflections — and if you have content you would like to submit from your own practice or perspective, please contact me via Twitter @murawski27 (I’m constantly searching for guest writers and collaborators)."
museums  education  teaching  art  artmuseums  arteducation  learning  glvo  mikemurawski  susecairns  jessicabaldenhofer  julinechevalier  felicecleveland  jenndeprizio  lauradisciullo  allifeigen  jessicadelagarza  carloinegoeser  chrsitinehealey  chelseaemeliekelly  danacarlislekletchka  shannonmurphy  jenoleniczak  seanolsen  brileyrasmussen  rachelropeik  lindsaysmilow  gregstuart  katesitlive  nyc  portland  oregon  resources  practice  openstudioproject 
april 2013 by robertogreco

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