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White at the Museum | April 3, 2019 Act 3 | Full Frontal on TBS | Full Frontal on TBS - YouTube
"White statues have long been a tool for white supremacists to claim historical superiority but as with all things, the white supremacists are wrong. The Lucas Brothers went to The Met to see it all in color. Produced by Tyler Hall and Halcyon Person with Ishan Thakore. Edited by Jesse Coane."

[See also:
"The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture: Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction."
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/the-myth-of-whiteness-in-classical-sculpture

"Why We Need to Start Seeing the Classical World in Color: The equation of white marble with beauty is not an inherent truth of the universe; it’s a dangerous construct that continues to influence white supremacist ideas today."
https://hyperallergic.com/383776/why-we-need-to-start-seeing-the-classical-world-in-color/ ]
whiteness  greeks  ancientgreek  romans  ancientrome  racism  whitesupremacy  lucasbrothers  2019  samanthabee  museums  sculpture  arthistory  history  themet 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
INCITE » Anti-100 Years of Cinema Manifesto, by Jonas Mekas
"As you well know it was God who created this Earth and everything on it. And he thought it was all great. All painters and poets and musicians sang and celebrated the creation and that was all OK. But not for real. Something was missing. So about 100 years ago God decided to create the motion picture camera. And he did so. And then he created a filmmaker and said, “Now here is an instrument called the motion picture camera. Go and film and celebrate the beauty of the creation and the dreams of human spirit, and have fun with it.”

But the devil did not like that. So he placed a money bag in front of the camera and said to the filmmakers, ‘Why do you want to celebrate the beauty of the world and the spirit of it if you can make money with this instrument?” And, believe it or not, all the filmmakers ran after the money bag. The Lord realized he had made a mistake. So, some 25 years later, to correct his mistake, God created independent avant-garde filmmakers and said, “Here is the camera. Take it and go into the world and sing the beauty of all creation, and have fun with it. But you will have a difficult time doing it, and you will never make any money with this instrument.”

Thus spoke the Lord to Viking Eggeling, Germaine Dulac, Jean Epstein, Fernand Leger, Dmitri Kirsanoff, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Richter, Luis Bunuel, Man Ray, Cavalcanti, Jean Cocteau, and Maya Deren, and Sidney Peterson, and Kenneth Anger, Gregory Markopoulos, Stan Brakhage, Marie Menken, Bruce Baillie, Francis Lee, Harry Smith and Jack Smith and Ken Jacobs, Ernie Gehr, Ron Rice, Michael Snow, Joseph Cornell, Peter Kubelka, Hollis Frampton and Barbara Rubin, Paul Sharits, Robert Beavers, Christopher McLaine, and Kurt Kren, Robert Breer, Dore O, Isidore Isou, Antonio De Bernardi, Maurice Lemaitre, and Bruce Conner, and Klaus Wyborny, Boris Lehman, Bruce Elder, Taka Iimura, Abigail Child, Andrew Noren and too many others. Many others all over the world. And they took their Bolexs and their little 8mm and Super 8 cameras and began filming the beauty of this world, and the complex adventures of the human spirit, and they're having great fun doing it. And the films bring no money and do not do what's called useful.

And the museums all over the world are celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of cinema, costing them millions of dollars the cinema makes, all going gaga about their Hollywoods. But there is no mention of the avant-garde or the independents of our cinema.

I have seen the brochures, the programs of the museums and archives and cinematheques around the world. But these say, “we don't care about your cinema.” In the times of bigness, spectaculars, one hundred million dollar movie productions, I want to speak for the small, invisible acts of human spirit: so subtle, so small, that they die when brought out under the Klieg lights. I want to celebrate the small forms of cinema: the lyrical form, the poem, the watercolor, etude, sketch, portrait, arabesque, and bagatelle, and little 8mm songs. In the times when everybody wants to succeed and sell, I want to celebrate those who embrace social and daily failure to pursue the invisible, the personal things that bring no money and no bread and make no contemporary history, art history or any other history. I am for art which we do for each other, as friends.

I am standing in the middle of the information highway and laughing, because a butterfly on a little flower somewhere in China just fluttered its wings, and I know that the entire history, culture will drastically change because of that fluttering. A Super 8mm camera just made a little soft buzz somewhere, somewhere on the lower east side of New York, and the world will never be the same.

The real history of cinema is invisible history: history of friends getting together, doing the thing they love. For us, the cinema is beginning with every new buzz of the projector, with every new buzz of our cameras. With every new buzz of our cameras, our hearts jump forward my friends."
manifestos  jonasmekas  1996  cinema  film  filmmaking  archives  museums  small 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Discover Art & Artists | The Art Institute of Chicago
"Explore thousands of artworks in the museum’s wide-ranging collection—from our world-renowned icons to lesser-known gems from every corner of the globe—as well as our books, writings, reference materials, and other resources."

[See also:
https://www.artic.edu/collection?is_public_domain=1
https://www.artic.edu/articles/713/behind-the-scenes-of-the-website-redesign

via:
https://kottke.org/18/11/the-art-institute-of-chicago-has-put-50000-high-res-images-from-their-collection-online ]
art  archives  museums  collections  artinstituteofchicago  chicago 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Claire Bishop on PALACE IN PLUNDERLAND - Artforum International
"The construction of yet another enormous venue for culture feels like the harbinger of a horrible new world in which all public services are drained of resources but every High Net Worth Individual can evade taxes by pouring a fraction of their profits into a cultural project that enhances their social status. The über-wealthy once gave a percentage of their riches to the church; today they give them to flexible and adaptable visual art/performance spaces."



"A Schema for a School is one thing; the more radical proposition would be a cultural institution that includes within its architecture crucial services like a public school, day care, or a branch of the New York Public Library."
charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charity  publicgood  inequality  wealth  2018  via:shannon_mattern  clairebishop  arts  architecture  taxevasion  democracy  oligarchy  capitalism  influence  power  museums  control 
september 2018 by robertogreco
New Work: Park McArthur · SFMOMA
"Park McArthur works with and through the social conditions of dependency, often in relation to care and access. This exhibition, the artist’s first solo museum presentation, examines the materials and processes frequently associated with monuments, memorials, and museums, and explores ongoing relationships with a building or place of congregation. New Work: Park McArthur features new and existing work that draws from the granite and wood of SFMOMA’s building, and includes photographs of informal gathering sites such as picnic tables in a public park. The marks and signs used at these sites question the connections—casual, recreational, ceremonial—that bind stone and wood to site, and people and locations to time."



[video]

"Artist Park McArthur discusses her exhibition at SFMOMA, New Work: Park McArthur, which examines how forms of commemoration and sites of congregation, including museums, create meaning and influence memory. She considers hidden histories and issues of access through explorations of materials, markers, and social spaces."

[via: https://twitter.com/e_mln_e/status/1019327517834899456 ]
parkmcarthur  sfmoma  art  architecture  design  materials  renovation  sanfrancisco  access  accessibility  congregation  commemoration  ramps  museums  memory  influence  meaningmaking  meaning 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Below the Surface - Archeologische vondsten Noord/Zuidlijn Amsterdam
"The archaeological project of the North/South metro line

Urban histories can be told in a thousand ways. The archaeological research project of the North/South metro line lends the River Amstel a voice in the historical portrayal of Amsterdam. The Amstel was once the vital artery, the central axis, of the city. Along the banks of the Amstel, at its mouth in the IJ, a small trading port originated about 800 years ago. At Damrak and Rokin in the city centre, archaeologists had a chance to physically access the riverbed, thanks to the excavations for the massive infrastructure project of the North/South metro line between 2003 and 2012.

Rivers in cities are unlikely archaeological sites. It is not often that a riverbed, let alone one in the middle of a city, is pumped dry and can be systematically examined. The excavations in the Amstel yielded a deluge of finds, some 700,000 in all: a vast array of objects, some broken, some whole, all jumbled together. Damrak and Rokin proved to be extremely rich sites on account of the waste that had been dumped in the river for centuries and the objects accidentally lost in the water. The enormous quantity, great variety and everyday nature of these material remains make them rare sources of urban history. The richly assorted collection covers a vast stretch of time, from long before the emergence of the city right up to the present day. The objects paint a multi-facetted picture of daily life in the city of Amsterdam. Every find is a frozen moment in time, connecting the past and the present. The picture they paint of their era is extremely detailed and yet entirely random due to the chance of objects or remains sinking down into the riverbed and being retrieved from there. This is what makes this archaeological collection so fascinating, so poetically breathtaking and abstract at one and the same time.

In the following pages the scope and methods of the excavations are explained with special reference to the special nature of the River Amstel as an archaeological site, the specific goals of the research at Damrak and Rokin and the digital processing of the hundreds of thousands of finds, resulting in the website belowthesurface.amsterdam and the catalogue Stuff which presents 11,279 photographs of finds of the North/South metro line archaeological project."
amsterdam  history  museums  archaeology  rivers  cities  webdev  archives  time  timelines  collections  classideas 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Why, in China and Japan, a copy is just as good as an original | Aeon Essays
"In the West, when monuments are restored, old traces are often particularly highlighted. Original elements are treated like relics. The Far East is not familiar with this cult of the original. It has developed a completely different technique of preservation that might be more effective than conservation or restoration. This takes place through continual reproduction. This technique completely abolishes the difference between original and replica. We might also say that originals preserve themselves through copies. Nature provides the model. The organism also renews itself through continual cell-replacement. After a certain period of time, the organism is a replica of itself. The old cells are simply replaced by new cell material. In this case, the question of an original does not arise. The old dies off and is replaced by the new. Identity and renewal are not mutually exclusive. In a culture where continual reproduction represents a technique for conservation and preservation, replicas are anything but mere copies."
china  japan  copying  originality  evolution  copies  culture  2018  byung-chulhan  history  museums  cloning  korea  southkorea  buddhism  christianity  life  death 
june 2018 by robertogreco
The Main Museum
"Beta Main is open Wednesday–Sunday from 12–7pm.
Admission to all exhibitions and programs are FREE."



"The Main Museum's mission is to engage the public with the most important ideas of our time through the art of Los Angeles. With a residency program at its center rather than a collection, The Main forefronts artists in its work and supports wide-ranging practices from artists at all stages in their careers.

When complete, The Main will include a variety of exhibition galleries, additional studio spaces for its artist residency program, a rooftop plaza including an amphitheater and cafe, and a restaurant.

ABOUT BETA MAIN
True to its name, Beta Main is a space for testing and learning in anticipation of the creation of The Main. Throughout all phases of The Main’s development, which includes exhibitions, artist residencies, and public programs mounted by Beta Main, the institution will continue to refine its vision and methods as it learns from the community, artists, experimentation, and Downtown Los Angeles."
losangeles  art  museums  free 
april 2018 by robertogreco
The Rib
"The Rib publishes commentary and criticism in the form of reviews, editorials, interviews, and essays that connects artists, spaces, curators, and advocates throughout the United States.

Smaller cities foster dynamic art making that demands a comprehensive critical platform in order for artists and their advocates to freely exchange ideas and opportunities. The Rib is founded on the belief that critical coverage leads to dialogue, dialogue leads to a strong network, and connectivity leads to greater social and economic viability. Like a physical rib--a small but essential bone within a network of other to protect a pulsing organ-- The Rib continuously expands and contracts to facilitate a flow of dialogue and critique in order to collapse boundaries between communities and audiences. To that end, we seek to connect, collaborate with, and safeguard organs of art making on the American periphery.

Corey Oberlander > Managing Editor
Leah Triplett Harrington > Editor
Lindsey Stapleton > Creative Director

We are interested in hearing from anyone and everyone. Please send a note to rib@the_rib.net with any thoughts you have. To submit work, writing or a concept to us, please go to our submissions page."
art  cities  small  coreyoberlander  leahtriplettharrington  lindseystapleton  museums  curation  us 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Ms. Williams on Twitter: "Myth 1: There is 1 storytelling form to rule them all (hero's journey, 3-act structure). Myth 2: Story structures can cross borders. #SFS17"
"Myth 1: There is 1 storytelling form to rule them all (hero's journey, 3-act structure). Myth 2: Story structures can cross borders. #SFS17

Installation form of storytelling has really decreased in digital age. Interesting point, bc I'm interning in a museum. #SFS17

Tangent: It's been fascinating to see how the museum is remodeling for the digital age. Installation is still there, but digital.

Hero’s journey is a messianic model: only one person matters. If we adapt our story models, we can change our organizations. #SFS17

Hero's journey is also a very western model. Tangent: this is also a problem with most MFA programs & how POC in them get dismissed. #SFS17

How different might the MFA experience be if story structure were taught as the central African model, circular?

How do you not undermine someone else's maybe very different narrative when sharing your own? #SFS17

Storytelling is a mutual experience. We not only give but receive. If you share vulnerability, that’s what you’ll get in return. #SFS17

"You inspire people who pretend to not even see you."--Anonymous storyteller in the room #SFS17

Important question we also face a lot in CNF: Whose story are you telling and what are their rights? One solution: let them read it. #SFS17

This invites them to subvert the hero's journey, bc as a character, they are part of the story and get to influence it. #SFS17

This is where my passions for creative writing and social justice conflict, bc I will change names all day, but a preview? Nope. #SFS17

But I do like the idea of subverting the hero's journey. 😕😒😏 #SFS17

Doing this exercise now as subversion to hero's journey. It's a where I'm from poem! Repping Georgella Lyon, #KYWriters! #SFS17 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DGaDEP3XUAEjdzP.jpg

I use this with students and it's always dope."
mariawilliams  storytelling  2017  museums  creativewriting  herosjourney  grorgellalyon  socialjustice  vulnerability  digital  digitalage  via:senongo 
august 2017 by robertogreco
CAFAM
"Situated on historic Museum Row since 1965, the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) is an invaluable contributor to Los Angeles culture, exhibiting current artists with intriguing perspectives and distinctive practices. CAFAM offers consistently unexpected exhibitions of compelling work that takes traditional techniques in new, often surprising directions. Exploring the leading edge of craft, art, and design, CAFAM gives audience to diverse makers and artists whose work is often not represented in larger art institutions.

CAFAM is special because it is a place to both see art and make art. Tying into exhibitions, CAFAM coordinates a robust roster of hands-on workshops led by professional artists and instructors. The museum is a place where friends and families come to spark creativity, appreciate more fully what it means to craft something by hand, and feel how satisfying that can be. CAFAM enjoys collaborating with community organizations throughout Los Angeles to draw artists and crafters from across the city together for work on group projects and for special events. It’s impossible to guess what extraordinary thing you will find here next.

This extends to the CAFAM Shop, which features an expertly curated, ever-shifting array of beautiful handmade items from skilled artisans. The intimate, atypical museum space and independent spirit at CAFAM combine to create an atmosphere of genuine excitement and delight, where people in Los Angeles deepen their relationships to art, creativity, and one another. Step inside, and become a part of what’s happening at CAFAM."
museums  losangeles  art  craft  crafts 
august 2017 by robertogreco
WAR GAMES - DIEGO PERRONE
"Conceived, produced and directed by the Villa Croce Amixi – Contemporary Art Museum – Genoa, “Davanti al mare – ATTO I” is an experimental and open format project featuring a multiple nature. Thought as an expanded residency, as a research work on the Genoa environment – metaphorical and physical production space – “Davanti al mare” is presented now to the public as a zone where an artist and selected curator will work together to the construction of projects studied to inhabit the subtle boundary line between city and museum, artwork and storytelling, exploration and presentation. “Davanti al mare – ATTO I” aims to give back power to art as tool for investigation of the place and its landscape; it’s drawn on the desire of using the artwork as powerful revealing machine; it’s envisioned as light and flexible palimpsest – a sea stage – to produce – through art – reality."

[See also:
http://moussemagazine.it/diego-perrone-wargames-villa-croce-museo-darte-contemporanea-genoa-2017/
http://www.aptglobal.org/en/Exhibition/57572/DIEGO-PERRONE-WAR-GAMES ]
diegoperrone  art  landscape  place  revelation  seeing  noticing  museums  storytelling  exploration  presentation  genoa  italy  italia 
august 2017 by robertogreco
New Art Museums Are an Awful Charity
"Are “the arts” important? Yes. Are museums nice? Yes. Does Mike Bloomberg give a lot of money to good causes? Yes. Is any of this a good reason to give $75 million to build a Manhattan art museum? No.

And yet Big Mike is doing just that! Specifically he has made a $75 million donation to “the Shed,” which is a nice cheeky lowbrow name for a new $500 million art museum on wheels that is rising along the High Line on Manhattan’s far west side. The High Line itself is probably America’s best example of “urbanism to improve the lives of the rich” masquerading as a charity. The elevated park was made possible by many millions of dollars worth of fundraising by the sort of people who are wealthy enough to live in the neighborhoods that border the High Line.

It is a nice park? Sure. We should tax the rich and use public money to pay for parks using a system based on need. Rich people building parks in their own neighborhoods is not a great charity.

So, soon the High Line—and the enormous new Hudson Yards neighborhood being built alongside it—will have its own art museum. (Excuse me— “arts center.”) As urban economic development projects go, this is fine and all. As targets for charitable donations go, it is awful. For $75 million, Mike Bloomberg could have restored eyesight for 1.5 million people with curable blindness or prevented 25,000 human deaths from malaria. Do you think that an 8-level rolling art space adjacent to multimillion-dollar condos is as good a use of charitable donations as those things? It’s not! “But that’s his choice.” Yes—his choice is bad. “Well he wants to help the city of New York.” Okay, give the money to fix the subways. “But it’s for the arts in the city of New York.” Okay, build a museum in the South Bronx. Manhattan already has lots of fucking museums.

Rich people are trying to pass off their own personal neighborhood improvement projects as philanthropy—and I’m sick of it!!!"
art  charitableindustrialcomplex  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charity  donations  inequality  museums  2017  hamiltonnolan  capitalism  power  control 
may 2017 by robertogreco
MUSEUM OF CAPITALISM
"The Museum of Capitalism is an institution dedicated to educating this generation and future generations about the history, philosophy, and legacy of capitalism, through exhibitions, research, publication, collecting and preserving material evidence, art, and artifacts of capitalism, and a variety of public programming. The museum’s programs result from collaborations between a network of researchers, curators, artists, designers, filmmakers, writers, economists, historians, scientists, and non-specialists from all walks of life, including those with direct experience of capitalism. The Museum’s inaugural exhibition will appear in Oakland, California in 2017."
oakland  sanfrancisco  museums  capitalism 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Espacio y sujeto | Arquine
"Pienso que la arquitectura comienza por la ropa y gradualmente va creciendo; de la ropa pasamos a las herramientas y de las herramientas al mobiliario, que prácticamente es como la primera morada."



"El problema viene cuando se relaciona con museos y se vuelve una nueva versión de iglesia. Como sucede en las iglesias, forma parte de la vida cotidiana donde las cosas no se tocan."



"Cuando veo o leo cosas demasiado abstractas siento que es algo que necesita de una creencia a la fuerza, como pasa con la religión, por esto mismo la arquitectura mas específica y detallada como Archigram da una esperanza que tal vez eso puede funcionar o pueda ser construida."
vitoacconci  art  design  museums  archigram  2013  clothes  clothing  wearables  experience  details 
april 2017 by robertogreco
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts: David Hammons
"Spirits aren’t something you see or even understand. That’s just not how they work. They are too abstract, too invisible, and move too quickly. They don’t live anywhere, but only run by and pass through, and no matter how old they are, they are always light years ahead. They do what they want, whenever they want. And under specific circumstances, at specific times, in specific places, to specific people, for specific reasons, they make their presence known.

In the Congo Basin in Central Africa, they are called minkisi. They are the hiding place for people’s souls.

David Hammons is a spirit catcher. He walks the streets the way an improviser searches for notes, looking for those places and objects where dormant spirits go to hide, and empowers them again. He knows about the streetlamps and the mailboxes where the winos hide their bottles in shame. Hammons calls it tragic magic—the art of converting pain into poetry.

[David Hammons. "Spade With Chains," 1973.]

Much has been said about the materials Hammons uses in his work. Most are taken from the street and cost very little—greasy paper bags, shovels, ice, cigarettes, rubber tubes, hair, rocks, basketballs, fried food, bikes, torn plastic tarps, Kool-Aid. Some of them are (knowingly) borrowed from the vocabulary of other artists, while others are closely tied to his own life and chosen surroundings in Harlem. Much has also been said about the meaning of his work—its arguments, its politics, what it’s “about.” And while much of what has been said has been useful, it has also been partly beside the point.

Materials are something one can see, and arguments are something one can understand, and that’s just not what Hammons is after. He’s interested in how much those wine bottles still somehow contain the lips that once drank from them. He’s after the pun on spirit—as in the drink, but also as in the presence of something far more abstract.
Black hair is the oldest hair in the world. You’ve got tons of people’s spirits in your hands when you work with that stuff.

[David Hammons. "Wine Leading the Wine," 1969. Courtesy of Hudgins Family Collection, New York. Photo: Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART.]

If Hammons is suspicious of all that is visible, it might be because the visible, in America, is all that is white. It’s all those Oscar winners, all those museum trustees, and all those faces on all those dollar bills. Some artists work to denounce, reveal, or illustrate racial injustice, and to make visible those who are not. Hammons, on the other hand, prefers invisibility—or placing the visible out of reach. He doesn’t have a lesson to teach or a point to prove, and his act of protest is simply to abstract, because that’s what will make the visible harder to recognize and the intelligible harder to understand.

If Duchamp was uninterested in what the eye can see, Hammons is oppressed by it—it’s not the same thing.

[David Hammons. "In the Hood," 1993. Courtesy of Tilton Gallery, New York.]
I’m trying to make abstract art out of my experience, just like Thelonius Monk.

For Hammons, musicians have always been both the model and the front line. When George Lewis says that “the truth of improvisation involves survival,” it’s because improv musicians look for a way forward, one note at a time, with no map to guide them and with no rules or languages to follow other than ones they invent and determine themselves. It forces them to analyze where they are and forces them to do something about it, on their own terms. Doesn’t get much more political than that.

Or, as Miles Davis once put it, “I do not play jazz.” He plays something that invents its own vocabulary—a vocabulary that is shared only by those who don’t need to know what to call it or how to contain it. And just as Miles Davis doesn’t play jazz, David Hammons doesn’t make art.

[David Hammons. "Blue Rooms," 2000 (installation view, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowkski Castle, Warsaw).]
I’m trying to create a hieroglyphics that was definitely black.

Hammons goes looking for spirits in music, poetry, and dirt. He knows they like to hide inside of sounds, lodge themselves between words or within puns, and linger around the used-up and the seemingly worthless. He knows he’s caught some when he succeeds in rousing the rubble and gets it to make its presence felt. Like Noah Purifoy, he ignores the new and the expensive in favor of the available. Like Federico Fellini, he spends his time in the bowels of culture and makes them sing.

[David Hammons. "(Untitled) Basketball Drawing," 2006.]

There are the materials that make the art—those are the foot soldiers—but there is also the attitude that makes the artist. Hammons has his way of thinking and his way of behaving, which is once again not something one sees or necessarily understands, but is something that makes its presence known, the way spirits make their presence felt. There will be some who won’t recognize it and others who do—and his work is meant only for those who see themselves in it.
Did you ever see Elvis Presley’s resume? Or John Lennon’s resume? Fuck that resume shit.

Ornette was Ornette because of what he could blow, but also because he never gave into other people’s agendas or expectations.

What matters even more than having your own agenda is letting others know that it doesn’t fit theirs. “To keep my rhythm,” as Hammons puts it, “there’s always a fight, with any structure.” The stakes are real because should you let your guard down, “they got rhythms for you,” and you’ll soon be thinking just like they do. And in a white and racist America, in a white and racist art world, Hammons doesn’t want to be thinking just like most people do. His is a recalcitrant politics of presence: where he doesn’t seem to belong, he appears; where he does belong, he vanishes.

In short: don’t play a game whose management you don’t control.

[David Hammons. "Higher Goals," 1987. Photo: Matt Weber.]
That’s the only way you have to treat people with money—you have to let these people know that your agenda is light years beyond their thinking patterns.

The Whitney Biennial? I don’t like the job description. A major museum retrospective? Get back to me with something I can’t understand.

Exhibitions are too clean and make too much sense—plus the very authority of many mainstream museums is premised on values that Hammons doesn’t consider legitimate or at least does not share. He is far more interested in walking and talking with Jr., a man living on the streets of the East Village, who taught him about how the homeless divide up their use of space according to lines marked by the positioning of bricks on a wall. Those lines have teeth. In a museum, art is stripped of all its menace.

[David Hammons. "Bliz-aard Ball Sale," 1983. Photo: Dawoud Bey.]

The painter Jack Whitten once explained of how music became so central to black American life with this allegory:
When my white slave masters discovered that my drum was a subversive instrument they took it from me…. The only instrument available was my body, so I used my skin: I clapped my hands, slapped my thighs, and stomped my feet in dynamic rhythms.

David Hammons began with his skin. He pressed his skin onto paper to make prints. Over the subsequent five decades, he has found his drum.

[David Hammons. "Phat Free," 1995-99 (video still). Courtesy of Zwirner & Wirth, New York.]"
davidhammons  anthonyhuberman  art  jazz  ornettecoleman  milesdavis  theloniousmonk  material  rules  trickster  outsiders  artworld  resumes  elvispresley  johnlennon  insiders  race  racism  us  power  authority  jackwhitten  music  museums  galleries  menace  homeless  nyc  management  structure  presence  belonging  expectations  artists  fellini  noahpurifoy  availability  culture  hieroglyphics  blackness  georgelewis  improvisation  oppression  marcelduchamp  visibility  invisibility  souls  spirits 
february 2017 by robertogreco
david silver en Instagram: “#ClassroomAsMuseum - section two #usfca”
[I need to show this to my class — we opened (and closed) a classroom museum last week.]
sfsh  museums  davissilver  teaching 
february 2017 by robertogreco
Flatbread Society Seed Journey
"ABOUT

This journey to the Middle East can be seen as an awakening of the memory—the long journey the grain itself has taken—through the hands of time.

-Michael Taussig

Seed Journey is a seafaring voyage connected to a public art project* in the former port of Bjørvika in Oslo, Norway. Seed Journey moves people, ideas and seeds through time and space. This voyage—its crew and cargo—are agents that link the commons as they relate to local networks and a more global complex of seed savers and stewards of the land, air and water. A rotating crew of artists, anthropologists, biologists, bakers, activists, sailors and farmers join the journey and share their findings at host institutions along the route from small harbors to large ports from barns to museums (contemporary art, natural history and maritime) to social centers.

"NOT STUCK ON TIME"

Seed Journey departs from the port of Oslo, Norway beginning with a few key defining points and space for new stops and invitations along the way. The crew’s interests will influence the route, but ultimately grains are the compass. Seed Journey maps not only space, but also time and phylogeny: while the more familiar space yields a cartographic map, time yields history and phylogeny yields a picture of networks of relationships between and among living beings—relationships between cultural groups, but also between human and non-human living forms such as seeds, sea-life and the terrestrial species from the various places and times we will traverse.

****

FLATBREAD SOCIETY

Flatbread Society is a permanent public art project created in a “common” area amidst the waterfront development of Bjørvika, in Oslo, Norway. In 2012, the international arts collective, Futurefarmers formed Flatbread Society as a proposition for working with local actors to establish an aligned vision for the use of this land. The groups’ dynamic activation of the site through public programs, a bakehouse and a cultivated grain field has attracted the imagination of farmers, bakers, oven builders, artists, activists, soil scientists, city officials; while simultaneously resulting in the formation of an urban gardening community called Herligheten, a Declaration of Land Use, and a permanent grainfield and bakehouse.

Flatbread Society has extended beyond Oslo into a network of projects and people that use grain as a prismatic impetus to consider the interrelationship of food production to realms of knowledge sharing, cultural production, socio-political formations and everyday life.

Flatbread Society is part of Bjørvika Utvikling (BU) public art program Slow Space, commissioned and produced by Bjørvika Utvikling and supported by The Norwegian Public Road Authroities (Eastern Region)."
futurefarmers  seedjourney  michaeltaussig  art  norway  oslo  bjørvika  naturalhistory  flatbreadsociety  slow  baking  biology  science  classideas  activism  sailing  boats  anthropology  barns  museums  seeds  sailboats  spain  denmark  españa  vejle  london  england  cardiff  wales  uk  antwerp  belgium  asturias  lena  mallorca  rmallah  palestine  istanbul  turkey  johanpetersen  børrepetersen  carlemilpetersen  fernandogarcíadory  agency  didierdemorcy  amyfranceschini  marthevandessel  viviensansour  ignaciochapela  martinlundberg  alfonsoborragán  hananbenammar  joeriley  audreysnyder  annavitale  jørundaasefalkenberg 
january 2017 by robertogreco
A Smuggling Operation: John Berger’s Theory of Art - Los Angeles Review of Books
"EARLY IN HIS CAREER, John Berger’s weekly art criticism for the New Statesman provoked outraged letters and public condemnation. Once, the British Council issued a formal apology to Henry Moore because Berger had suggested his latest work showed a decline. Nor was the hostility limited to such comic passive-aggression. Berger’s politics were deemed so objectionable that his publisher was compelled to withdraw his first novel, A Painter of Our Time (1958), from circulation.

At 90, Berger is harvesting a sudden flowering of praise. It is well deserved. For more than half a century, he has been our greatest art critic — as well as a superior novelist, a poet, and the star and screenwriter of one of the best art documentaries ever made, Ways of Seeing. Most of the writers currently rushing to canonize him, however, avoid dwelling on the heart of Berger’s point of view — his Marxism. No doubt avoiding this disfavored topic makes eulogy easier, but it reminds me of something Berger wrote about Frederick Antal: “the importance of his Marxism tends to be underestimated. In a curious way this is probably done out of respect for him: as though to say ‘He was brilliant despite that — so let’s charitably forget it.’ Yet, in fact, to do this is to deny all that Antal was.” To make such a denial about Berger should no longer be possible after the publication of Landscapes: John Berger on Art.

Landscapes and its companion volume, Portraits: John Berger on Artists (Verso, 2015), are the best summation to date of Berger’s career as a critic. Both volumes were edited by Tom Overton. In Portraits, Overton made selections from decades of essays on the whole historical gamut of art, from the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux to the work of 33-year-old Randa Mdah, and organized them chronologically into a history and appraisal of the art of painting. To read it was to be reminded of Berger’s unique virtues: the clarity of his writing, the historical and technical erudition of his insight, and above all his unique focus on each artist’s way of looking. What Landscapes in turn makes clear, through its assemblage of more programmatic pieces — book reviews, manifestos, autobiography — is that Berger is a rigorous thinker with a theory of art. That theory evolved considerably between the 1950s and the 2010s. Yet two threads hold it together with the tenacity of spider silk: a critique of the political economy of art and a sophisticated account of its human value, each rooted in a committed but elastic Marxism.

A Marxist art criticism of any real subtlety has to be elastic, because it must deal with a problem Marx himself diagnosed but failed to solve. Berger puts it like this:
A question which Marx posed but could not answer: If art in the last analysis is a superstructure of an economic base, why does its power to move us endure long after the base has been transformed? Why, asked Marx, do we still look towards Greek art as an ideal? He began to answer the question […] and then broke off the manuscript and was far too occupied ever to return to the question.

Berger takes up the thread where Marx broke off. He is not, of course, the first Marxist to address the question of art, and he is familiar with most of those who tried before him, sorting through and furthering their legacy.

The most famous of Berger’s influences, Walter Benjamin, wrote the essay “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” from which came most of the ideas in Berger’s documentary, Ways of Seeing. But Landscapes reveals that his most important influence as a practicing art critic was Max Raphael.

Raphael, an undeservedly obscure theorist, located the value of art in the activity of the artist. According to him, an artist performs two operations. On the one hand, the artist turns raw material into artistic material by shaping it to represent an idea or an object; this is true both of Michelangelo shaping a block of marble into David and of Jackson Pollock embodying the rhythms of jazz in drip paintings. On the other, the artist turns his perception into something external and objective, a representation. The work of art is the result of these two transformations, of raw stuff and of subjective perception into an art object. For Raphael, the point of art is these two transformations: they are the artist’s way of “undoing the world of things” and constructing “the world of values.”

So Raphael’s answer to Marx’s problem — why is art enduringly moving even though it merely reflects its social context? — is to say that art doesn’t merely reflect its social context. It does reflect it, because the artist’s material, style, the things they want to represent, even the way they see, are historically conditioned; but it doesn’t merely reflect it, because the transformed material speaks of something deeper and more voluntary. It speaks of humanity’s ability to make its own world, to become the subject and not merely the victim of history. “The function of the work of art,” Berger sums up Raphael, “is to lead us from the work to the process of creation which it contains.”

Anyone familiar with Berger’s own writing will sit up with a shock of recognition. Here is a theory of art directly correlated to his practice of criticism. Berger takes art out of the sanitizing temples where we store it and drops it firmly back onto the easel, in a messy studio, where a sweaty artist bites her lip and stores her way of looking in an object. Over and over again, he asks us to imagine the artist at work. Many have attributed this to his own training as a painter, which might have inspired his fascination with technique, as I, an amateur pianist, am fascinated by the technique of my favorite recording artists. But I think his admiring discussion of Raphael suggests a much deeper reason. If Berger believes that the most important meaning of art is what it shows us of our ability to create the world we want, it turns out that his criticism is connected to his Marxism much more fundamentally than through the borrowing of a few insights from Walter Benjamin.

For Berger, art criticism is a revolutionary practice. It prepares the ground for a new society. In Landscapes, Overton includes a translation by Berger and Anya Rostock of a poem by Bertolt Brecht. It includes this passage:
Yet how to begin? How to show
The living together of men
That it may be understood
And become a world that can be mastered?
How to reveal not only yourselves and others
Floundering in the net
But also make clear how the net of fate
Is knotted and cast,
Cast and knotted by men?
[…] only he who knows that the fate of man is man
Can see his fellow men keenly with accuracy.

How to begin? Berger answers: In art. There we find proof and prophecy of a different world. In another essay, he writes:
We can no longer “use” most paintings today as they were intended to be used: for religious worship, for celebrating the wealth of the wealthy, for immediate political enlightenment, for proving the romantic sublime, and so on. Nevertheless, painting is especially well suited to developing the very faculty of understanding which has rendered its earlier uses obsolete: that is to say, to developing our historical and evolutionary self-consciousness.

This is the promise, the positive function of art. By looking at it, we are, in effect, looking through an artist’s eyes, entering into a concretized instance of their gaze. We are looking at a looking. And from within an artist’s looking, we learn about the capacities of our kind and the possibilities of our future: “A classical Greek sculpture increases our awareness of our own potential physical dignity; a Rembrandt of our potential moral courage; a Matisse of our potential sensual awareness.”

At the same time, Berger is of the opinion that the modern history of art is a history of failure. He won’t compromise on this point, and it is undoubtedly the reason for the stiff resistance that he has often met.

In modern times, Berger believes, the art world has hosted a titanic battle between two conceptions of art. One conception declares that art is valuable because it bodies forth the vision of an artist; it is a good in itself just to the degree that it succeeds at this task. This is Berger’s conception, and it is large enough to embrace all the varying and contradictory proclamations and provocations of the successive factions of modern art. The other conception declares that art is valuable because it is expensive — that, fundamentally, art is property:
Since 1848 every artist unready to be a mere paid entertainer has tried to resist the bourgeoisation of his finished work, the transformation of the spiritual value of his work into property value. This regardless of his political opinions as such. […] What Constructivism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and so on, all shared was their opposition to art-as-property and art-as-a-cultural-alibi-for-existing-society. We know the extremes to which they went […] and we see that their resistance was […] ineffective.

In other words, artists, like all other workers, are victims of a capitalism that alienates them from the fruit of their labor. Berger has nothing but scorn for the commercialization of art: “If you could fuck works of art as well as buy them,” he writes, dealers “would be pimps: but, if that were the case, one might assume a kind of love; as it is they dream of money and honour.” Everything about the modern art world is constructed on the assumption that art is precious in proportion to its price. Even among those who profess a genuine love of art, that passion is often tainted by its ideological function:
A love of art has been a useful concept to the European ruling classes for over a century and a half. The love was said to be their own. With it they could claim kinship with the civilisations of … [more]
johnberger  2017  robertminto  marxism  art  artists  artcriticism  criticism  henrymoore  politics  waysofseeing  frederickantal  tomoverton  economics  walterbenjamin  raphael  jacksonpollock  michelangelo  elitism  anyarostock  bertoltbrecht  process  craftsmanship  arthistory  resistance  constuctivism  dadaism  surrealism  property  society  culture  ownership  beauty  aesthetics  museums  artappreciation  creativity  creation  praxis  canon  objects  mystique  products  action  achievement  making  wealth  ideology  consumerism  consumption 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Meetings: John Berger In the Library - from ‘A Jar of Wild Flowers’ | Blog | London Review Bookshop
"On the shelves under the small section of the local library labelled ‘Sociology’, I found John Berger’s book Ways of Seeing. The book foregrounds how the relationship between what we see and what we know is never settled. I was then, in my teens, trying to decide if I wanted to study the rather unknown subject called Sociology at A level. Stoke library, in Coventry, was a familiar space. My family were regular visitors. We lived a minute’s walk away. As children we frequented it at least three or four times a week. Within this fan-shaped building there were different zones. The children’s room consisted of fiction as well as the important general-knowledge and reference- based encyclopaedic tombs used for homework. This room led off from the more adult room carrying general knowledge and reference books, as well as fiction in several languages, including Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati.

The neighbourhood and the city of Coventry became a work mecca for arrivants from the British ex-colonies in the period between the two world wars and especially the post-1945 period. It was considered a boomtown for employment and training in engineering and the car industry. Reflecting some of the interests of the arrivants – who were, before they even knew it, settling into the city as ‘home’ – the library started stocking a ‘multicultural’ collection, including a large selection of Asian vinyl records and cassettes. In time, following on from changes in music technologies, this collection shifted to CDs and DVDs. In the zone leading off from the central room, which carried these items as well as local reference materials and fiction, one walked into a space with further adult books, sitting under authoritative labels such as ‘History’. Though the shelf space was much smaller, nevertheless the subject ‘Sociology’ was granted the recognition of a heading, reassuring a teenager that sociology was becoming a proper subject to study.

Finding John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in this section added to the intrigue of a somewhat esoteric subject with an ‘ology’ attached to it. The only other ology I knew of then was biology. While the classifications in biology of the human and plant world appealed to me, I knew I was not heading towards a scientific specialism. Interestingly, the books in our home, in a room which became a study with shelves, consisted of scientific works, on chemistry, physics, maths, technical drawing. This was the (male) educational tradition in the family. As I held John Berger’s Ways of Seeing in my hands, I doubt if I understood much of it. I still remember, though, that what impressed me was the form. The compilation of the book from words, paintings, advertisements and statements was fascinating. The very emphasis in the title on ways of seeing spoke to me more than the commentary on specific historic paintings. Little did I know then that this kind of compilation was a million miles away from what was considered proper or authoritative sociology. Neither did I know then that I would never actually be taught Berger."



"Interiors of learning don’t have to become museumified. Libraries are very specific domains where the private thoughts and interaction with a range of reading materials occurs in public. They are public-private rooms of research as well as writing. For years, scholars, researchers and writers continued to visit the same circular room of the British Library in London, just as Karl Marx had done when he penned his own writing tomes. The public library in Manchester carries on this tradition too. Thus these public-private rooms of research and reading continue to be forms of heritage which are in Stuart Hall’s terminology ‘living archives’ – archives which breath, grow and invite engagement.

It is in the tradition of the living archive that I would like to return to the fan-shaped library in Coventry. If Berger had visited and sat at the circular table with the newspapers and magazines from different countries, he would have found a tall elderly Asian man, with a full head of hair, pulling newspapers up close to him, while setting his glasses on and off, between nose and table. Depending on which year Berger visited the library, he would have found either just his coat hanging on the chair, or one walking stick, or two walking sticks, or a zimmer frame nearby, or a wheelchair. Each of these aids characterised his ageing as well as the resurgence of injuries endured during wartime in Burma in his younger years in the Second World War as a recruit to the Indian British Army.

Herein, I have become, in Berger’s sense, Death’s Secretary. I am referring to my father, Sawarn Singh. He started visiting the local library several times a day after he retired. He actually retired twice, first in the seventies when he left the night shift on the Ford assembly line and then again in the mid eighties from his job as an attendant at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. In contrast to his time at Ford, in the museum he walked the much grander, and cleaner, corridors across several floors. As nighttime security guards, he and his co-worker took tea together while sharing the hourly walk through the gallery as a security check throughout the night. Sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and penny-farthing bicycles as well as halls of transport items filled the large space they kept guard over. Six-foot canvases of Lady Godiva naked on horseback, painted by John Collier (in 1898), craned the necks of viewers walking up the grand staircases.

If Berger had sat at the table in the library my father visited he would have found a collage of materials that contributed to my father’s ways of seeing. His own compilation of Ways of Seeing would have been a bit different from the one Berger assembled. He kept company with an eclectic mix of reading materials. He read the Daily Jang Urdu newspaper, the weekly Punjabi Des Pardes, as well as the tabloid Mirror. In fact, at times he cut out from the English papers to share with his family advertisements for products –possible items to buy – which promised an easier life. These might be slip-on shoes, elasticated trousers or a Ford car, on which he was entitled to get a discount as a former employee. His routine consisted of regularly checking out Urdu novels from the library to read at home, especially before bedtime. Romantic and adventure stories comprised the ever-changing books in his bedside drawer. Not wanting to feel the weight of material items in his care, he usually limited himself to taking out two to three books at a time. Towards the very last years of his life he would continually throw items away, avoiding what he perceived as the stress of having to look after stuff. In contrast to Proust he was not into making snuff out of stuff.

When he passed away in 2013 (aged 94) the library staff, a good number of whom were South Asian, sent a message saying that they would miss his presence: for them he had become a part of the furniture for at least twenty years. Rather like the long-gone mother who appears in Lisbon in Berger’s Here Is Where we Meet, the staff might look up from their counter only to see Sawarn Singh’s large frame walking in, leaning in on his zimmer frame, with his greeting smile – the outline of his trace bearing a ghostly presence and reminder of his loss. The architectural emplacement of the body in the built environment like all architectures gives way to the play of time. Should Berger also come back on this occasion to Stoke library, he might trace a line drawing of Sawarn Singh, offering us a portraiture. He has often painted to shed light on the labour and life of welders, steelworkers, fisherman and performers.

If Berger had come to the table in Stoke library he would not only have met Sawarn Singh reading and holding in his hands very different materials to those Berger sifted through to make Ways of Seeing. He would have also have met a man handling pen and paper, as a person who wrote, somebody who made sentences with words without being a formal writer like Berger; a common relationship to pen, paper and word of working-class men and women. In the library, letters were penned on sky-blue airmail paper for ‘home’. Now and again my father would lend a writing hand to those fellow travellers to the mother country in need of a letter ‘home’. Sitting at the table in the library he occasionally wrote shayari (poetry in Urdu), to be later recited among other older Asian men who met weekly with food and drink in a local school annexe. Since his death, I have been told by some of his poet friends (Prem Sharma and Ram Krishan Prashar) that he wrote – in Urdu, the language of his schooling – his life story, something akin to a memoir or autobiographical notes. As a family we are yet to stumble across them. Herein we are quite literally tasked with being Death’s Secretary. Such is the stuff that meetings with people and their materials are made of."
johnberger  2016  nirmalpuwar  death  waysofseeing  libraries  learning  museums 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Archival Labels | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
"A selection of archival labels and stamps found on artwork in the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection. A zoom function permits close viewing of the backs of individual canvases."
labels  via:alexandralange  museums  archives  art  themet 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Organismic Biophysics and Living Soft-Matter: Prakash Lab, Stanford University
"Historically, "Cabinets of Curiosity" were physical cabinets (or rooms) containing a collection of objects which could not be categorized (or understood methodologically) in any way. Since I primarily run a curiosity driven lab, I am fascinated with this Renaissance notion of collecting objects, ideas and problems that don't fit our current framework of thinking.

Mostly I will use this space to share my thoughts on science (akin of a blog), highlight mentorship advice for young scientists (like myself) and just share with a general audience why (and how) we do science.

Feel free to write me any comments you might have.

cheers, manu"
manuprakash  cabinetsofcuriosity  classideas  sfsh  collections  museums  curiosity  curiosities  ideas  moodboards 
november 2016 by robertogreco
The Kalman Family's Language of Looking
"“Anything becomes interesting if you look at it long enough,” Gustave Flaubert wrote in a letter. This is something I keep in mind when looking at visual art: there is usually a story for the eye to find, some detail to latch onto. But when in the company of Maira and Alex Kalman, I am reminded that this truly does extend to most “anything.”

Maira Kalman is a New York–based illustrator, while Alex, her son, is the co-founder of Mmuseumm, a former elevator shaft in Tribeca that he and two friends transformed into an exhibition space. This month, Mmuseumm launched its fourth season with a second space, Mmuseumm 2, a storefront window nearby where Maira has re-created the closet of her mother, Sara Berman.

Kalman, an author and illustrator for The New Yorker, New York Times, and Departures Magazine, is known for picking up on the unnoticed, overlooked particulars of daily existence — in her telling of the life of Thomas Jefferson, for instance, we learn that the author of the Declaration of Independence “slept slightly sitting up” and that his favorite vegetable was peas. There is a rambling quality to her stories; we feel we are with her while she freely discovers her subjects, which vary from fashion shows to yoga retreats to artist studios.

“For me, the digressive moment is the moment,” she once told the interviewer Paul Holdengräber. It’s why Kalman loves walking — because you can stop thinking and just look and be. Walking, for her, is an exercise in keeping an open mind, in letting her surroundings catch her by surprise.

It’s only suitable, then, that one stumbles upon Kalman’s installation of her mother’s closet by walking down a quiet alley. Behind a pane of glass, neatly folded white linens and shirts and stacks of rosy underwear sit on white shelves — “Sara, who came from Belarus, only wore white,” says the British voice of the audio guide. “I always say she was emulating the empress Josephine,” Kalman said to me of her mother’s fashion choices. “But that is not true. We never talked about it … In some instinctual way she was clarifying the world.”

There’s a glass jar filled with identical gray buttons, a bottle of Chanel No. 19, a box of recipes (for roasts, blintzes, schnitzel, and “some unfortunate forays into Americana,” Maira confessed), and a cheese grater for making potato pancakes. The chain for the light dangles playfully from the ceiling with a fluffy red ball of yarn to pull on. While growing up, “the closet was a masterpiece of modern art in our eyes,” said Alex. The closet has been reproduced almost identically, though on a slightly smaller scale, and with a few substitutes — “it’s like the vertebrae at the Natural History Museum, only here we have a bra and a pair of socks,” he explained. Indeed, ever since Sara Berman died, Maira has envisioned her mother’s closet as a kind of museum, hoping that one day it would become “a big attraction for people worldwide.”

Sara Berman’s luminous closet gives us pause. There is a sense of calm and purpose in those sheets and sweaters that were daily and meticulously folded. (“Some families go bowling together. We ironed and folded and sorted and stacked with joy,” said Maira.) Everything, from the pair of reading glasses to the stray piece of checkered ribbon, takes on an anthropomorphic quality; the shoes themselves become portraits: there are six pairs of them, lined up neatly, all with pointed ends and some with their laces undone. Varying in grays, browns, and creams, the shoes are sharp and delicate, playful and smart — much as I imagine Sara Berman to have been.

“Everyone grows up with a language in their home. Ours was looking,” said Alex. Just as Maira asks us to contemplate a closet, usually thought of as a repository behind closed doors, Alex draws our attention to objects that would’ve generally escaped us, like coffee cup lids, vomit bags, gas masks, and eggs (that will, in fact, hatch). He describes the objects in Mmuseumm, on display behind glass vitrines like scientific specimens, as “meaningless and potentially meaningful.” Some come from Mmuseumm’s permanent collection, like a gold $100 bill and a rubber chicken wing, but the majority traveled from collections around the world. For instance, the cornflake index — a personal collection of cornflakes organized by shape, color, and texture — arrived from England “packaged like the queen’s jewels.” The way Alex sees it, these objects should be cared for like artworks. And yet, when Mmuseumm runs its call for submissions each season, it welcomes proposals from anyone around the world on one condition: that it not include “art.”

The winning collections, Alex explains, are those whose contents are “not obvious” — you wouldn’t think to stop to look at a rusty nail (one of many in a doctor’s collection of objects he has removed from people’s bodies) in the same way you would stop before a painting. “It is never ironic,” he made clear. “It’s sincere.” Like Maira, Alex is drawn to “the vernacular” because it communicates something “incredibly intimate and human.”

In other museums, the assumption is that you won’t fully appreciate an object unless you have the historical background. Here, there is no background necessary, except perhaps a sense of humor and some compassion. It was from “my beautiful mother,” an oft-repeated phrase, that Maira learned that knowledge isn’t really what matters. “What you have to have is curiosity.” Growing up, Maira was never “tested” on her knowledge or asked to “perform.” In fact, she says with some pride, “facts were banished from our home.”

In following their curiosity, the Kalmans have observed their surroundings indiscriminately, capturing pieces of our lives that we generally don’t think are worth our time or contemplation. The Kalman language of “looking” requires patience and dedication — as does looking at visual art. Responding to art, really engaging with it, involves actively journeying through it with no purpose. It is a rare moment when I give myself that wandering freedom and time. The Kalmans, in seemingly assuming this attitude wherever they look, remind me of what the artist Paulo Bruscky once said in an interview:
For me, art is a form of seeing and not of doing. It might seem utopian, but the day will arrive when the artist will no longer be necessary. The artist makes things only because people don’t know how to see for themselves. Someday … people will begin learning how to see art in everything …. because art is present everywhere — the artist merely captures and displays it.

I don’t totally buy Bruscky’s conclusion, but he has a point when he suggests that the artist’s sources of inspiration surround us all. Though Alex doesn’t acquire art for Mmuseumm, the works in his museum are just as artful. In some ways, what Mmuseumm is encouraging us to do — to look for the art around us — is a greater task than that of your regular one."
mmuseumm  museums  mairakalman  alexkalman  2015  looking  seeing  noticing  paulobruscky  saraberman  walking  small  tiny 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Eerie Photos of 'Dark Tourism' Sites Around the World
"Museums and memorials around the globe reveal histories of death, indignity, and destruction."
museums  memorials  death  indignity  destruction  2016  via:namhenderson 
november 2016 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] occupational safety and health administration for machine learning
"Trying to find your bearings, trying to make sense out of all these crosscurrents is dizzying and I don't have a pat answer for any of it. I would like to finish, though, by arguing that these ambiguities are what constitute the present for the internet of things.

The lack of clarity around, and in some cases the hijacking of, the reasonable expectations of action and reaction in an internet of things is what is and what will shape and redefine the relationship between the past and near-futures of the internet of things you have imagined for so long.

This is the work."
aaronstraupcope  internetofthings  nfc  hardware  cooper-hewitt  museums  2016  bespokiness  iot 
september 2016 by robertogreco
Orhan Pamuk’s manifesto for museums
[via: http://jarrettfuller.tumblr.com/post/147070033957/a-manifesto-for-museums ]

"Pamuk said: "All museums are genuine treasures of humankind, but I am against these precious and monumental institutions being used as models for the institutions to come. Museums should explore and uncover the population as a whole and the humanity of the new and modern man that emerges from the growing economies of non-Western countries. I address this manifesto in particular to Asian museums that are experiencing an unprecedented period of growth.

The aim of the great state-sponsored museums is to represent a state and that is neither a good nor innocent aim. Here are my proposals for a new museum, some themes on which we must reflect now more than ever.

The great national museums like the Louvre and the Hermitage assumed the form of tourist institutions with the opening of royal and imperial palaces to the public. These same institutions, today national symbols, present the narrative of nation, History with a capital H, as much more important than the histories of individuals. This is a shame, since individual histories lend themselves much better to portraying the depths of our humanity.

The second reflection I want to introduce is that the transitions from palaces to national museums and from the epic to the novel are parallel processes. The epic is like a palace: it speaks of the heroic gestures of the kings that inhabited them. National museums should be like novels, but this is not the case.

Three: we do not need more museums that attempt to construct a historical narrative of our society and community as a narrative of faction, nation and state. We all know that ordinary and everyday stories are richer, more human and above all more joyful.

Four: demonstrating the richness of Chinese, Indian, Mexican, Iranian or Turkish history and culture is out of the question. It must surely be done, and it is not difficult to do. The true challenge is to use museums to tell with the same brilliance, power and depth the stories of the human beings living in these countries.

Five: the measure of success of a museum should not be its ability to represent a state, a nation, a society or a particular history. It should rather be its capacity to reveal the humanity of individuals. We must judge museums on that criterion.

Six: it is imperative that museums become smaller, more orientated towards the individual and more economical. This is the only way that they can ever tell stories on a human scale. The great museums invite us to forget our humanity and to accept the state and its human masses. This is why there are millions, outside the West, who are frightened by museums. This is why museums are associated with governments.

Seven: the aim of museums present and future must not be to represent the state but to recreate the world of individual human beings, the same human beings who have suffered under tyrannical oppression for hundreds of years.

Eight: the resources channelled into the great monumental and symbolic museums should be redirected to small museums that tell the stories of individuals. These resources should also be used to support and encourage people to transform their small houses and small stories into places of narrative.

Nine: if objects are not uprooted from their contexts and streets but situated with care in their natural places, they can have a way of independently telling their own stories. We need modest museums that can honour the streets, houses and shops around them and transform them into moments of their narrative.

In brief, the future of museums begins at home. The situation is very simple: we are used to having epics but what we need is novels. In museums we are used to representation, but what we need is expression. We are used to having monuments, but what we need is houses.

In museums we have History, but what we need is stories. In museums we have nations, but what we need is people. We had groups and factions in museums, but what we need is individuals. We had great and costly museums and will continue to have yet more, especially in Asia, where government money is funding these museums. Yet what we need are small and economical museums that address our humanity.""

[also here: http://en.masumiyetmuzesi.org/page/a-modest-manifesto-for-museums ]
orhanpamuk  museums  museumdesign  small  accessibility  2016 
july 2016 by robertogreco
A manifesto for museums | Blog—Jarrett Fuller
"I’m about halfway through an internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City and find myself thinking a lot about the role of museums, their futures, and the economics of art institutions. Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author and founder of the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, gave the keynote address at the International Council of Museums this year where he outlined his manifesto of sorts on how museums should function.

The entire thing is worth a read, but I was especially interested in his thoughts on scale:
It is imperative that museums become smaller, more orientated towards the individual and more economical. This is the only way that they can ever tell stories on a human scale. The great museums invite us to forget our humanity and to accept the state and its human masses. This is why there are millions, outside the West, who are frightened by museums. This is why museums are associated with governments.

I’m reminded of David Joselit’s essay In Praise of Small (here’s a PDF of the essay [http://commonpracticeny.org/assets/CPNY_NearContact_2016.pdf ]) that also argues for and encourages small organizations and institutions, subverting the common phrase, that bigger is better:
Here then are the offcial assumptions with regard to the question of scale and the public good: BIG (capitalization of finance or audience) = PUBLIC. SMALL (capitalization of finance or audience) = ELITIST. But in fact this equation inverts the actual situation. It is the “public” (too big to fail) that disproportionately benefits elites, whereas it is the “elitist” (too small to survive) that serves communities in ways that other, larger organizations cannot. Might this ideological inversion be just as insidious and frightening as it sounds? Is it possible that artists in New York City are not only supposed to decorate the salons of hedge fund managers—and thus be implicated in financial elitism—while also taking the rap for intellectual elitism through their lively participation in specialized art discourse?

The term critique is tossed around as though it were a grenade with its needle pulled. But where does “critique” inhere? In my view, it is generally ineffectual in individual works of art, whose transgression can be easily neutralized in the halls of BIG. No, our political challenge is to maintain alternate forms of public space for exhibition and debate. To do so, we must exit the ethos of “Too big to fail.”

I’ve been thinking about Joselit’s essay a lot, recently rereading it as part of the Triple Canopy Publication Intensive I took part in earlier this summer. While I learned a lot during my two weeks at Triple Canopy, one thing I keep coming back to is are the benifits of staying small. Of how when an institution grows and gains power and size, there are all sorts of political, economic, and public considerations than must be accounted for. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that—I’m seeing the Whitney navigate that each day with a stunning grace—but like Joselit proposes, bigger isn’t always better, and at each scale there are a new set of tradeoffs."
museums  small  jarrettfuller  2016  orhanpamuk  organizations  institutions  sfsh  publicspace  davidjoselit  elitism  triplecanopy  scale  scalability  power  size  whitneymuseum  nyc  manifestos  huamn  humans  toobigtofail 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Canadian Museum of Human Rights: a global standard for accessibility
"The Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, Manitoba was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 and opened in September 2014 as one of the world’s most accessible museums"



"The result is an in-gallery experience that champions accessibility and usability as parallel experiences. Exceptional features include 120 Universal Access Points (UAP), which have Braille, tactile numbers and “cane-stop” floor strips to alert visitors that information is available on key exhibit highlights. There is inclusive video and audio, a mobile app and innovations such as an Interactive Universal Keypad (IUK) for those who cannot use a Touch Screen Interface (TSI).

The museum has embedded inclusive design features into more than 100 hours of video with American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ) and descriptive audio, which describes what’s happening in a scene as well as reading text that appears on the screen. The keypad, designed by Timpson and tested at OCAD, are located at each TSI interface and have accessible tactile controls, with few buttons for extra simplicity. The voice instructions also work in conjunction with the strict semantic structure of the TSI interface’s content."



"Throughout the design process the museum was able to develop its own standards, which are apparent throughout its 11 galleries and seven theatres. All of the seating in the theatres and exhibits offer a choice of bench seating and seating with backs and arms. As well as this, all of the exhibits adhere to strict graphic standards to ensure content is as accessible as possible. The exhibit fonts were chosen for typographic elements, such as anatomy and letter proportions, which contribute to legibility and clarity. Type sizes and placement were carefully measured and chosen based on probable viewing distances and line of sight for visitors of any physical ability.

Even the finer details such as paragraph alignment and specific line-lengths were studied to help reduce reader fatigue and make the content easier to read. Colour contrast and Light Reflectance Value contrasts were designed to ensure sufficient contrast between the text and background to make text easier to read with different lighting conditions or visual impairments."

[See also: https://humanrights.ca/ ]

[via: https://plus.google.com/u/0/112045150389781152468/posts/JkXHxzyLPS2

"I think I find myself looking to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights at least once each week for inspiration on how to best do inclusive design in museums -- they are definitely the highest standard. If you haven't checked them out yet, I recommend learning more. And see what elements of inclusive design you can begin implementing in your own museum."]
museums  accessibility  canada  humanrights  standards  winnepeg  mnitopa  inclusivity  design  usability  adaptability 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Something Super Cool Just Turned Up in Your Digital Toolbox | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian
"Learning Lab allows visitors to experiment, to manipulate, to play with the collections, to use them as the building blocks to create new things. (Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access)"



"At the end of June at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference, an organization serving more than 100,000 educators committed to empowering connected learners, the Smithsonian is set to unveil a game-changing new tool, Smithsonian Learning Lab, designed to empower anyone to discover and use digital museum resources.

Nothing short of spectacular, this tool puts the resources from this amazing place—including rich, graphic, and beautifully diverse images—at your fingertips. How might the resources you find online from the Smithsonian help you develop new ideas, new understandings, new activities, lessons, and experiences? How might you put them together in novel ways for your own purposes, whatever those might be?

The digital tools allow you to search the collections, store your favorites for later, zoom in to access them in unprecedented detail, annotate with notes, call attention to details with pins and captions, upload resources from other organizations for cross pollination, share on social media, and even publish your work for others to see and use.

To develop Learning Lab, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access asked teachers, kids, parents and friends from around the country to search the Smithsonian and create collections of anything they wanted. What do you think they made?

Some of the projects honored hometowns like Flint, Michigan or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Others worked with such themes as mythology, portraits of great Catholics, Libyan rock art, 1960s countercultures, samurai armor, sports, cross-stitching, spacesuit design, dogs in history, women in the Supreme Court, home architecture, the historic Iditarod trail, comedians, actors, and trial by jury. These examples do not even include hundreds made for classroom use such as women in the Civil War, the real-world settings in famous novels, colors for young children, and hundreds more.

As an education office, the focus of this project—our research and beta testers—has been mostly teachers and how they might use this groundbreaking resource within their classrooms. We wanted to support digital age learning as part of our core mission. Many of the rich interactive features—visual exploration of authentic resources; simple digital tools for organization, augmentation and customization of resources to personalize learning; a community that collaborates and shares expertise; and student-directed exploration and creation—were designed to facilitate the kind of 21st-century teaching we see going on in classrooms around the country.

We feel that great opportunities exist in using museum collections within the classroom, where the teacher can make use of them in ways that fit naturally into the learning process she has already developed for her students.

But the Learning Lab is so dynamic and so simple that its use goes beyond the classroom. It gives everyone the power to curate and create, to become deeply involved in how you form new ideas out of old ones, or how your children extend their learning at home, beyond their classrooms.

As a combination search and creation tool, it delivers the entire digital Smithsonian, its 1.3 million digitized artworks and scientific collections, its scholarship and insights, its archives, books, manuscripts, photographs, lessons, videos, music, media and more, into your home to be displayed in your living room on your laptop or tablet, even, as part of your daily life, embedded in how you spend your time online.

And that’s where things get interesting. Within the Learning Lab, you will uncover collections made by Smithsonian museum educators, teachers across the country, and enthusiasts with special interest and expertise in a particular topic. You can copy these collections and make them your own by editing, adding, and personalizing each piece to fit your own needs, and then publish them for others to do the same.

I am hoping you will want to geek out really soon on this tool and I can’t wait to see the results."
learninglab  digitaltoolbox  archives  smithsonian  museums  2016  via:tealtan  collections  digitalaccess  education  access 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Bay Area Discovery Museum
"The Bay Area Discovery Museum is located on 7.5 acres of natural beauty framed by the majestic backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Museum is a space for imaginations to run wild. Every curated detail of our exhibits brings creative thinking to life for all stages of childhood. Navigate winding tunnels to develop physical and intellectual risk-taking skills. Feel the rush of cold-water tide pools that surprise and awaken curiosity. Imagine new worlds by transforming into a spider, a ship captain, or a bridge builder. At every turn is a new opportunity to challenge the boundaries of creativity."



"Overview
The Discovery School at the Bay Area Discovery Museum is the only museum-based preschool in California, and we draw upon the Museum’s 25 years of child-directed, open-ended, inquiry-driven learning, as well as best practices in creativity development from the Museum’s research division, the Center for Childhood Creativity. The Museum also provides an unmatched location at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge on 7.5 acres in Fort Baker with quick access to beaches, natural habitats, historic batteries and hiking trails.

Our Approach
The Discovery School is a Reggio-inspired, research-based preschool program that offers children the freedom to pursue their passions and ideas through play and guided inquiry. Children are encouraged to make choices, take risks, and spend the time they need to construct their own understanding of the world. The Discovery School emphasizes process through experimentation and repetition, allowing children to develop and test their own theories and discover multiple outcomes. Ultimately, the goal of The Discovery School is to spark in children a lifelong passion for exploration and creative problem-solving and prepare them to thrive in school and life beyond.

Curriculum
At The Discovery School, children’s curiosity and interests shape a flexible, project based, open-ended curriculum. Educational experiences are designed to support the growth of the whole child in all domains: cognitive, social-emotional, physical, and academic. Children are exposed to academic skills such as literacy, math and science, as well as art, music and performance, in a play-based environment.

A strong emphasis is also placed on the development of children’s executive function skills, relationship development and self-regulation. In daily activities we take advantage of our inspiring location, exploring the Museum exhibitions and the outdoor environment around Fort Baker.

Documentation and Reflection
At The Discovery School, educators engage the methods of observation, documentation and reflection with children and parents in order to make learning visible and allow all to see learning progress through the year. We collect and often display classroom documentation (recorded through notes, photos, drawings, voice recordings, videos, etc.), compile weekly reflections and hold weekly educator collaboration meetings to analyze the documentations and formulate our next steps for the child’s curriculum. We involve parents and families in the documentation process and weekly reflections become part of an ongoing conversation between parents, children, teachers and peers about the children’s learning."
museums  marin  sausalito  children  schools  preschool  sanfrancisco  bayarea  marincounty 
april 2016 by robertogreco
- Path puts a silly amount of trust in its avatars,...
"Path puts a silly amount of trust in its avatars, especially given their tiny size. I never know who the shoes are.

Path is more tappy than typey. That’s fine, I suppose. It certainly makes for a clean flow.

Path is tappy and its content reads like the content of taps. “I am in a place,” you tap. “:)”, come the replies.

Path is pretty in the same designy way as our modern museums. They are shaped like battleships and grain silos and crumpled souffles. There is much said about flow and fatigue and how one of these has been optimized and the other one reduced.

These museums are very exciting when they open. You show up and marvel along with all of the other fans of architecture. Maybe you return for one of those nights where they stay open late and there is a band and drinking. “A great space,” you think. Maybe one day you’ll be rich and rent out the atrium for a private party.

The art doesn’t get talked about so much at these museums. The museum itself is the “social object,” as it were.

Eventually the particulars around which the museum was designed fall out of fashion. A fresh crop of architects finds it to be too flashy, or too dull, or to have been guided by faulty principles. There is congestion where there should be flow. Certain rooms are simply exhausting. Maybe it is even an eyesore.

This is good for the museum. Now they can really fuck up the place. Fill a room with a thousand cubic feet of lead. Let Matthew Barney dangle from a rope and scribble some shit high on a wall where no one can see it. Or: just let their rooms be dull rooms filled with rousing art.

Path is a monument to Path. It is no place to scribble in. I wish it longevity so that it might find shabbiness."
socialmedia  path  design  productdesign  2012  museums  sterility 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Room to Rise: The Lasting Impact of Intensive Teen Programs in Art Museums | Whitney Museum of American Art
"Explore findings from a groundbreaking research and evaluation initiative investigating the long-term impacts of museum programs for teens. Drawing on reflections and input from hundreds of program alumni across the United States, this study documents powerful effects on participants, including lasting engagement with arts and culture, significant personal and professional development, and increased leadership skills and civic engagement. 

ABOUT THE STUDY

Room to Rise is the result of a multi-year collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, with support from a National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Each of the participating museums is home to a nationally recognized teen program that has operated continuously since the 1990s. These programs bring highly diverse urban youth together to work collaboratively with museum staff and artists, developing vibrant activities and events to engage teen audiences, from tours and exhibitions to performances and fashion shows. Lead Research Advisor Mary Ellen Munley and a network of critical friends and expert advisors guided this practitioner-driven research, which incorporates innovative arts-based methods. The study offers a detailed look at the lasting impact of these programs, and highlights key engagement strategies for educators.



PROJECT FINDINGS

Program participants reported that their experiences as teens in museums were transformational, shaping their adult lives in significant ways. This study traces a relationship between high impact engagement strategies, short-term outcomes, and long-lasting impacts for alumni, including:

Personal identity and self-knowledge
Lifelong relationship to museums and culture
Expanded career horizons
A worldview grounded in art
Community engagement and influence"
art  arteducation  research  teens  youth  via:caseygollan  moca  walkerartcenter  whitney  longterm  lcproject  openstudioproject  education  learning  identity  arts  culture  museums  slef-knowledge  community  2015  sfsh 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Another look at museum nostalgia – Suzanne Fischer
"The new issue of Curator includes a fascinating article about nostalgia in museum contexts. The authors, David Anderson, Hiroyuki Shimizu, and Chris Campbell, interviewed 35 visitors to a museum of Showa-era Japan about what objects and exhibits prompted them to feel nostalgia. (“…nostalgia is a pan-cultural emotion shared by all humans regardless of nation or culture,” they assert, drawing on psychology research.) Visitor answers tracked with what we often see anecdotally in museums: objects relating to visitors’ youths promote memories of rosy good old days. This particular museum is designed specifically as a place to revisit household items, product packaging, etc, from this era of prosperity, so it is unsurprising that visitors had the reactions they did, telling stories about their childhoods and what they described as vanished cultural values.

The authors propose a typology of nostalgia that arose from the research results:

1. Objects tied to collective identity and values perceived to be lost.

2. Objects used or consumed as part of visitors’ life scripts.

3. Objects associated with individuals dear to the visitor.

4. Objects associated with childhood.

5. Objects that invoked vicarious nostalgia.

The fifth theme is a useful one, “vicarious nostalgia,” a longing for a time one has not experienced. It is also, in my opinion, the most corrosive. It settles like dust over the things of the past and hardens into an unscrubbable patina. Svetlana Boym, the late author of The Future of Nostalgia, might describe it as “reflective nostalgia,” a nostalgia that focuses on the longing for another place, rather than what she calls “restorative nostalgia,” a nostalgia that hopes to recreate the past, and in which category all the rest of the themes reside.

It is useful, certainly, to have visitor studies backing up our hunches that, as the authors of the Curator paper put it, “Like old friends, museum exhibits hold the capacity to usher in a suite of nostalgic and heartfelt memories of loved ones and time of lives long gone.” But to what end? Ushering in a suite of nostalgic memories cannot be our goal in making history exhibits–and if it is, it is a cowardly goal. I believe that as public historians we have a responsibility to show the past with blinders off, to engage visitors with the parts of the past they didn’t see, or may not want to remember. Simply reminding visitors that they lived through the past, simply evoking nostalgia, is an abdication. Evoking nostalgia is easy. Engaging visitors in the real past is hard, and it’s our job."
suzannefischer  2016  museums  objects  nostalgia  davidanderson  hiroyukishimizu  chriscampbell  japan  childhood  identity  vicariousnostalgia  svetlanaboym  patina  reflectivenostalgia  restorativenostalgia  past  history 
march 2016 by robertogreco
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
[via: http://caterina.net/2016/02/04/ellen-cantor-at-the-wattis/

"The Wattis is one of the best things about the San Francisco art scene–Anthony Huberman moved out here from P.S.1. in New York just over a year ago, and was joined by Jamie Stevens, formerly of the Serpentine Gallery in London, who are doing great work bringing artists to San Francisco who’ve yet to have big solo shows in the U.S. or West Coast. I am looking forward to the upcoming Wang Bing show as well."]

[See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattis_Institute_for_Contemporary_Arts ]
art  sanfrancisco  museums  education  tovisit  galleries 
february 2016 by robertogreco
A continuum along which soil practice and social practice occur | Lebenskünstler
"the art system has become industrial agriculture
aesthetic ecology as gardening – learn from your grandmother and your neighbor, pick up some magazines or books, watch some YouTube videos and get growing, no gatekeepers, no degrees required

the art system says the only real gardening is done by experts

seed saving (AE) vs. industrial ag research (AS) – person to person innovation (AE) vs. institutionally controlled validation (AS)

museums, galleries, and universities act much like Monsanto taking up vernacular practices, formalizing them, squeezing the living core out, and controlling their distribution and viability

aesthetic ecology favors diversity – formal, institutional practices, but also backyard gardeners, community gardeners, homesteaders, etc"
art  gardening  linear  linearity  cycles  sustainability  2016  randallszott  amateurs  amateurism  ecology  professionalization  capitlalism  elitism  specialization  generalists  distributed  centralization  permaculture  agriculture  growth  economics  museums  control  distribution  diversity  institutions  institutionalization  aesthetics  socialpractice 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Museum Bot
"I am a bot that posts a random high-res Open Access image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, four times a day.

By Darius Kazemi, creator of Alternate Universe Prompts and Scenes from The Wire.

Not affiliated with the Met."
dariuskazemi  tumblrs  images  museums  bots  themet 
february 2016 by robertogreco
MoMA to Organize Collections That Cross Artistic Boundaries - The New York Times
"Within the Museum of Modern Art’s announcement on Tuesday of coming exhibitions were signs of a seismic shift underway in how it collects and displays modern and contemporary art — changes that are expected to have a powerful impact on the museum’s renovation.

While curatorial activities used to be highly segregated by department, with paintings and sculpture considered the most important, the museum has gradually been upending that traditional hierarchy, organizing exhibitions in a more fluid fashion across disciplinary lines and redefining its practice of showing art from a linear historical perspective.

Next spring, for example, when the Picasso sculpture show moves out, MoMA will reinstall its fourth-floor galleries with works from the 1960s, mingling artists and objects from around the world — from a Jaguar to a James Rosenquist painting. They will be selected by six departments in a more experimental, intuitive style that Ann Temkin, a chief curator, referred to as “unlearning what we’ve learned.”

This new, less siloed way of doing business is shaping the museum’s renovation and building expansion with the firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro. Galleries could be more flexible and open, like those in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new building. Perhaps departmental names designating the galleries could be eliminated altogether.

“All of these exhibitions and efforts to look at the collection afresh will inform the installation of the exhibitions in the new building,” said Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director.

“How do we become more nimble — willing to peel open departmental practices?” he added. “Yes, we can change. There was no tablet from Moses that said this is the way we have to be structured.

“It’s not ‘Painting and Sculpture,’ ‘Drawings and Prints.’ It’s the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.”

This looser version of MoMA counters the conventional wisdom that has grown up around the museum, one that Roberta Smith, an art critic at The New York Times, described in 2010 as “a reluctance to question the linear unspooling of art history according to designated styles that remains the Modern’s core value and its Achilles’ heel.”

The evolving multidisciplinary — indeed, uncorporate — approach has not been tried by many encyclopedic art museums, although the smaller Walker Art Center in Minneapolis often shook up art-historical orthodoxies under its former director Kathy Halbreich (now the MoMA’s associate director).

Ms. Temkin, MoMA’s chief curator of painting and sculpture, said the museum was “reflecting a more widespread shift from thinking in categories — or thinking in so-called canonical narratives — to thinking about multiple histories. Having a sense of curiosity, rather than a desire for pronouncement.”

There is evidence of the new approach in shows like the Jackson Pollock survey, which is in the print galleries and was organized by the print curator, but also features paintings.

“It’s changing the idea that prints are something secondary and instead are really integral to the artist figuring out what he or she is doing,” Ms. Temkin said. “That could not have happened 20 years ago here or anywhere else.”

Similarly, the show “Transmissions” focuses on the connections among artists in Latin America and Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s. Tellingly, the exhibition was organized by curators from a mix of departments: media and performance art, photography, and drawings and prints.

And the exhibition “Soldier, Spectre, Shaman: The Figure and the Second World War” is in the print gallery, but includes drawings, photography, painting and sculpture.

Time was when curators seeking to use a piece of media from a different department had to fill out a formal loan form.

But for the last year, curators in all departments have been engaging one another in workshops to discuss coming exhibitions. “We brainstorm,” said Martino Stierli, the chief curator of architecture and design.

This boundary-crossing approach partly reflects a generational shift; all seven of the current chief curators have been at MoMA for less than 10 years. They have come of age in the art world at a time when lines are blurring — an artist who makes sculpture might also make video — when influences are less Eurocentric, and when top-down pronouncements about what is and isn’t art seem outdated.

“I’m not naïve about the fact that the Museum of Modern Art is a very influential institution, but I think the way we can be influential today is different,” Ms. Temkin said. “It’s not, ‘This is good; this is bad.’ It’s that ‘This is worth looking at.’”

She added, “And these things are in relation to other things — whether it’s putting works by women on the wall or putting a print next to a painting.”"
moma  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  2015  museums  art  arthistory  silos  anntempkin  martinostierli  galleries 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Museum Interface - Magazine - Art in America
"It's no longer a question of whether art institutions should have a virtual presence. Rather, the onus is being placed on designers to facilitate meaningful interactions with art that might occur in the gallery, via Web-based applications or in new hybrid spaces that merge the real and the virtual. Any attempt to augment an encounter with artwork using technological means invariably raises questions about the values we assign to certain modes of viewing. After all, isn't visiting a museum inherently tied to a very deep, very primary real-life experience? The promises and pitfalls of new technologies are forcing museums to rebalance their traditional mandates to care for a collection of physical objects while enabling scholarship and providing the wider public an opportunity to engage with works of art. —R.G. and S.H."



"HROMACK The Walker's model is very interesting to me and has been for years. Reading from afar, I often wonder about the relationship between the museum and its local community and whether the same model would work in New York, the city where I live and work. Museums consider the notion of public engagement very carefully, and the social web provides an ideal space for the institution to project its own feelings about how openly or generously or successfully it interacts with people-whether those notions are functionally true or not.

I am not entirely convinced that museum-run publications-as-social-spaces-the Whitney Stories publication and video series that we run out of my department, for instance, or MoMA's Post project-can unilaterally engender genuine, self-selected digital communities, regardless of how much we hope and believe otherwise, on an institutional level. At this point in the history of the Internet, the major social media platforms command a sheer level of user engagement that individual, organization-specific platforms simply cannot, unfortunately; it's our job to figure out how to harness that monopoly, both socially and technically, through smart social integration and interface design.

Researchers such as Sherry Turkle (MIT) have worked for decades to both understand and caution against the complex psychological relationships people develop with their devices.

Yet, the future of museum visitor engagement will continue to mimic current technology trends: smartphones, "wearables" and proximity-based technologies such as the iBeacon. MoMA's most recent mobile application, Audio +, is a strong example of an institution recognizing a now—natural human behavior—in this case, the propensity of in—gallery photography—and designing for that behavior rather than sanctioning against it. Likewise, the soon-to-reopen Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will proffer an interactive pen, co-designed with Hewlett-Packard, to each visitor who will in turn be permitted to "collect" objects throughout the institution by scanning museum labels, thereby "capturing" their visit to the museum for later access on a web address printed on their admission ticket. These digital experiments don't always work, and they certainly challenge still-held ideas about how people should and shouldn't behave in museums. But art institutions aren't churches, and the enthusiasm we see among visitors for bringing digital technology into the gallery suggests that we're witnessing a transformation in how the museum relates to its public. The assumptions and biases that will be overturned in that process remains another question entirely."
museums  sarahhromack  robgiampietro  art  interface  technology  web  online  galleries  design  interfacedesign  walkerartcenter  2014  via:ablerism  via:caseygollan 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Toward a Museum of the 21st Century - The New York Times
"We’re 15 years into the new millennium, but our museums don’t seem to be aware. They’re stuck in the late 20th century, the Arrogant Age, with its love of gigantism in architecture and art. Frank Gehry’s 1997 Guggenheim Bilbao, a sky-reacher with a sasquatch footprint, scaled to accommodate colossal Richard Serra sculptures, epitomized that love. Mr. Gehry’s 2014 Vuitton Foundation museum in Paris, a glass galleon packed with bland blue-chip cargo, reconfirmed it. So we’re still waiting, scanning the horizon for a new kind of museum, a 21st-century museum, to appear.

How will we know it when it arrives? There will be no single model, and there shouldn’t be. Art and life, which are equally a museum’s business, are too complicated to be reflected in any one mirror. The new museum won’t be defined by architectural glamour or by a market-vetted collection, though it may have these. Structurally porous and perpetually in progress, it will be defined by its own role as a shaper of values, and by the broad audience it attracts.

A new version can’t arrive too soon. Existing ones are, in crucial ways, stagnant. Broad attendance numbers may give the opposite impression: Major urban museums in the United States are getting crowds in the door, but diversity isn’t coming in with them. Despite the dramatic increase in minority populations in this immigrant nation over the past half-century, and a wave of multiculturalist consciousness, our major art museums remain largely the preserve of better-off whites, a group that is losing its majority status in urban settings.

And, more recently, there is evidence of significant shifts within that core audience, as once-shared pools of knowledge and interest change. These changes are most graphically evident at so-called encyclopedic institutions, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In them, non-Western art has always been a hard sell. But increasingly, so are formerly reliable stretches of Western art.

The Met’s European painting galleries, although splendidly reinstalled a few years back, get relatively light foot traffic, partly because the cultural references in much of the work have lost currency. Even a generation or two ago, the myths and religious subjects that form the basis of, say, Italian Renaissance painting would have been familiar to a general public, thanks to surviving public school variations on a “classical” education. But with changes in schooling in a country that has grown increasingly secular, viewers of art predating Impressionism typically don’t know what they’re looking at.

The 21st-century museum is going to have to find ways tell them. And this may well demand particular curatorial skills, such as ever more imaginative storytelling, and the use of quasi-ethnological approaches to presentation. Even in a media-driven age, much art is, at some basic level, personal. People made it, reacted to it, treasured it in ways we can identify with. But art is also intrinsically political, designed to shape a view of the world in empowering ways, ways that write certain people and ideas into the record and leave others out. We need to see art from both perspectives.

Museums like the Met are themselves grand history-writing-and-editing machines. Spectacle is built into them. But if they’re going to become 21st-century institutions, they’re also going to have to function in the mode of university teaching museums. Experimental — interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, self-critical, heterodox — approaches to art will have to be tried out if an audience for history, which is only as alive as our sense of investment in it, is not to be lost. (For a comparative look at some recent methods, I recommend Peggy Levitt’s “Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display,” just out from University of California Press.)

Whether any amount of inventiveness can arrest the current retreat from art’s past is, of course, a question. Again, the metrics are paradoxical. Whereas other branches of the arts, like classical music and ballet, are attracting fewer and fewer young people, museums are attracting many, yet the interest of those visitors appears to be specific and narrow: contemporary art. And because the future lies with this audience, museums are shaping themselves to it by acquiring and exhibiting more and more contemporary work.

I speak generally: The fact that older art has become hard to acquire, for reasons of price, scarcity and legality, is also a factor. But the reality is that, along with perennial favorites like Vermeer, van Gogh and Picasso, contemporary art is one of the few surefire draws. Even unlikely institutions are getting the message: not long ago, the Morgan Library & Museum did a Matthew Barney show.

This being so, you’d think that a new museum devoted to contemporary art would be the place to find a 21st-century paradigm, but so far, no. The Broad, which opened with tremendous fanfare in Los Angeles this fall, is not a contender. A classic example of a private museum transformed into a public monument, it is devoted to the collection of the multibillionaire Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, longtime Los Angeles residents who began buying seriously in New York in the early 1980s, when stars of a slightly earlier era, like Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman, were working in SoHo, and younger figures like Jeff Koons had emerged in the East Village.



The Queens Museum, which has a history of fluid reciprocal relationships with communities in its ethnically rich borough, has supported many long-term projects outside its walls. Beginning in 2011, in conjunction with Creative Time, it sponsored what amounted to a year-and-a-half-long performance piece called Immigrants Movement International, conceived by the Cuban-born artist Tania Bruguera.

As part of an international project intended as a practical gesture of solidarity with people living illegally in countries not their own, Ms. Bruguera rented a two-story house in Corona, Queens, a neighborhood that was home to many new arrivals from Ecuador and Mexico. Living upstairs, she opened the first floor as the movement’s community center. Seven days a week, with a tiny paid staff and a roster of volunteers, many of them artists, the center provided free legal aid to undocumented immigrants, as well as language classes, health workshops and art lessons. It also ran discussion groups on how to bring the cause of civil rights for immigrants to the public eye.

Puzzled at first, members of the community embraced the center, its founding principle of performance as politics and the idea that they were participating in a living work of art that existed outside their local museum but was part of it. (This summer, Ms. Bruguera was named the first artist in residence at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.)

Across the globe, 20th-century museums in the Bilbao mode continue to rise. That sounds like what we’ll be getting when the Saadiyat Cultural District, built on an artificial island off Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf, is finished in the next few years. It will include a Guggenheim franchise designed by Mr. Gehry and a Louvre Abu Dhabi, described by its architect, Jean Nouvel, as a “universal museum,” with “galleries enabling comparisons and contrasts between artworks of different historical periods and geographical areas,” with contemporary art in the mix.

Sound old? It is, including the fact that the audience envisioned for these museums is effectively preselected: an international leisure class for whom the island’s museums, luxury hotels and shopping malls are being built.

So the new 21st-century museum — where walls are dissolvable, access is open, and art is invited to tell us who we are as an arrogant, exclusionary but possibly teachable culture — is still awaited. Millenniums are artificial markers. But, like New Year’s resolutions, they can be put to practical use to spur invention and to strengthen a resolve to turn old thinking around. Invention and reinvention can start anytime, like now."
museums  2015  museumdesign  design  queensmuseum  taniabruguera  c-map 
november 2015 by robertogreco
Matheson Marcault
"Matheson Marcault work with culture, history and physical space. We use game design to engage people with places and ideas. Our work fits in museums, in public squares, at arts festivals, and online.
Our work focuses on words, play, installations, and interactive history.

Follow us on twitter at @mathmarcault for more."



"Holly Gramazio [https://twitter.com/hollygramazio ] is a game designer with a particular interest in site-specific work and physicality. As Lead Game Designer at Hide&Seek she led on projects including The New Year Games, a street game for 12,000 players; Castle, Forest, Island, Sea, an online game for the Open University exploring philosophy and reason in a crumbling castle; and 99 Tiny Games, an installation of low-tech games across every borough of London.

Working independently she’s created installations like Games for Places, painting rulesets on sites across East Durham; How To Be A Blackbird, an online narrative about the life of a blackbird in the city, and Hotel Room, in which players simultaneously navigate a real-life hotel room and an interactive story about the room. She started designing games after completing a PhD in online fiction in 2008, and also curates game events, including the Sandpit, a regular playtesting night for experimental work that ran for five years.

Sophie Sampson [https://twitter.com/ultracobalt ] is a producer of games, playful interaction design, and digital prototyping, with a particular interest in work that spans the physical and digital worlds, and projects deeply rooted in history and archives.

Her work uses research and game-related thinking for cultural institutions and commercial clients. She has produced web and iOS projects for clients like Royal Botanic Gardens, Faber&Faber, BBC and Warner Bros, as well as making games around history and science including So Wrong It’s Right for the Wellcome Collection, House of Shadows for the V&A and Concubines with Exeter University.

She also writes on history, game design and culture, and has written video games and historical content for exhibitions, including Coney’s House of Cards at Kensington Palace."
hollygramazio  sophiesampson  games  gaming  play  culture  mathesonmarcault  place  gamedesign  museums  events  installations  words  interaction  interactiondesign  history  edg  srg 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Playing games in the digital library | Wellcome Collection Blog
"So we asked three games designers to approach our collections using Twine, a popular tool for games and interactive fiction. Twine offers an experience like a story where you get to make decisions: click on the highlighted text to move through. Sometimes there are many choices, sometimes just one; each choice will take you somewhere new on the journey towards the game’s end."

[via: https://twitter.com/tealtan/status/633071370642006019 ]
games  gaming  libraries  via:tealtan  twine  interactivefiction  if  museums  classideas  cyoa  archives  classiseas  glvo  edg  srg 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Innovation Studio | Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
"The Innovation Studio is a research, design and development laboratory at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. We are a collective of cultural technologists transforming museums for the future."
museums  pittsburgh  design  future  technology 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Asking Beautiful, Scary Questions: Reflections on “Leading the Future of Museum Education” | Art Museum Teaching
"Much of the program and conversation in Denver focused on change on many different levels—the ever-changing and vast-paced world in which we live, the shifts and much-needed changes in our field and institutions, the rethinking of museum education, and the changes in us as individuals. Both Kaywin Feldman, the Duncan and Nivan MacMillan Director and President of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Marsha L. Semmel, principal of Marsha Semmel Consulting, spoke of our VUCA environment and the need for adaptive and strategic leadership. VUCA is short for volatility, uncertainty, complexity,and ambiguity, and a catchall for our turbulent, dynamic reality. In order to thrive, we must have vision, understanding, clarity, and agility and be willing to experiment and take risks. Laura Roberts from Roberts Consulting points out there is no one way or single path to get us where we want to go and the “best practices” from the past won’t be sufficient.

We must challenge ourselves to find these new paths and ask beautiful, scary questions, which will inspire us to take risks and head into uncertain territory, and possibly fail. Some of the beautiful questions that emerged from our brainstorming and conversations in Denver:

• How might we encourage greater diversity and inclusion in our field?
• How might museums become truly visitor-centered institutions?
• How might we find balance in engaging both our core and new audiences; balance between co-creation and expertise?
• What if we broke down silos and collaboration was the new norm?
• How might we rethink our work with the public education sector?
• How might we harness the power of technology to expand access, improve engagement, and try new approaches to our work?
• What if excellence isn’t enough?
• What if educators became more empowered and began breaking the rules?

To begin exploring the strategies and solutions to these beautiful questions, we must become adaptive leaders and both individually and collectively embrace the gradual but meaningful process of change. Marsha Semmel introduced us to John Seely Brown who believes in social, participatory learning and teaches us that museums need to stop protecting our assets—our stocks—of authoritative knowledge and instead nurture our flows—creating new knowledge. We are poised to cultivate these flows.

Laura Roberts, who was asked to reflect on and summarize the convening stated in her closing remarks, “museum educators routinely use the sort of skills an adaptive leader needs. Moreover, if we are going to shift our museums from a focus on objects to a focus on visitors and community, it is clear we are positioned to lead the way…” She noted these observations about our character:

• Educators are trained to elicit observations and points of view and to bring people together in dialogue. We are good facilitators. We have those “soft skills” to be boundary spanners.
• We are clever, creative, and imaginative. We are good problem solvers. We are good listeners.
• We practice the skills of collaboration and partnering. We are matchmakers and brokers.
• We often serve as the integrators in the institution, bringing disparate staff together.
• We are often “empowerers.” Many educators are refreshingly light on ego."
education  museums  2015  lauraroberts  complexity  uncertainty  ambiguity  museumeducation  questions  facilitation  karleengardner  siols  collaboration  inclusion  marsgasemmel  johnseelybrown  participatory  learning  howwelearn  howweteach  knowledge  flows  inlcusivity  inclusivity 
july 2015 by robertogreco
In the Spirit of Black Mountain College, an Avant-Garde Incubator - The New York Times
"The school closed in 1957, some years after Albers left to direct the first design department at Yale. But since 1993, another experimental institution, the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center, has kept its flame alive. In a storefront in downtown Asheville, a short drive from the old campus, it organizes talks, exhibitions, performances and an annual fall conference in which scholars (and sometimes practicing artists) examine the college’s legacy.

This spring the museum is also embarking on an expansion that will more than double its current size, to 2,900 square feet. The original gallery space, remodeled to incorporate a study center, reopened in January with a show covering 30 decades of “poemumbles” (daily poems and drawings) by a Black Mountain alumna, the painter Susan Weil. In June the museum plans to open a new gallery space across the street with a historical exhibition, “Something Else Entirely,” which will examine the making of the 1965 Fluxus mail-art book “Paper Snake,” by Ray Johnson, another former student, using films and some collages that have never been shown before.

“We try to have one foot in the past, honoring what happened at the college,” said Alice Sebrell, the museum’s program director, who runs the institution with a staff of two and a few interns. “But we also keep one foot very much in the present, looking to the future and what ideas artists are investigating today.”

The larger space “will enable us to do more,” she added, including educating visitors, providing easier access to the center’s archives and mounting more shows from the permanent collection. (The collection ranges from correspondence and dance performance programs, to historical gems like a desk designed by Albers for the students, to new artwork made by Black Mountain alumni, “because we don’t want to freeze anyone in time,” as Ms. Sebrell put it.) Both spaces were built and designed by an Asheville-based artist, Randy Shull, who drew inspiration from Black Mountain’s Modernist utilitarian aesthetic, maintaining the old scuffed, paint-stained floors; creating shelves and bookcases from double layers of plywood; and using repurposed Southern yellow pine as a unifying trim.

The idea for the museum arose when its founder, Mary Holden Thompson, who had grown up nearby, moved to Paris and discovered that the name Black Mountain was far more revered there than in North Carolina. Conceived as a corrective, the institution was nomadic for its first decade, publishing an annual “dossier,” or catalog, on someone who had taught or studied there and mounting a show in the Asheville area.

After acquiring a permanent space in 2003, the museum began a regular exhibition program, with shows focusing on subjects like Black Mountain’s design and craft legacy and the many important female artists who once studied there, including the sculptor Ruth Asawa and the Abstract Expressionists Pat Passlof and Elaine de Kooning.

Over the years, as more archival materials have become available and museums have organized more surveys of work by Black Mountain faculty members and students, interest in the college and its legacy has grown (A new show, “Black Mountain: An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933-1957,” opens at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin on June 5). But as time passes, the museum strives to maintain a sense of growth and experimentation — central to Modernism and the school’s ethos — without cultivating nostalgia.

“We keep trying to find ways to channel that spirit,” said J. Richard Gruber, the chairman of the museum’s board, by asking, “What would Black Mountain and its artists be doing today?”

One example of faithfulness to that spirit is the annual (Re)Happening, invoking Cage’s long-ago event and now in its sixth year. This year’s extravaganza, a seven-hour program to be held on April 4 at the site of the college’s final campus, at the nearby Lake Eden, will involve nearly 80 people and 29 events, most of them multidisciplinary and many taking place simultaneously.

There will be performances by the New York cult thereminist Dorit Chrysler, as well as the Los Angeles-based keyboardist and composer Aron Kallay. Two Tennessee artists, McLean Fahnestock and Michael Dickins, will project NASA footage of space shuttle takeoffs onto trees for the project “Rocket Launch.” And the media artist Andrew Lloyd Goodman, who teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design, will present an interactive event involving his Light Hammer device, which produces images by using a hammer to trigger a camera shutter.

“It’s sort of a sprawling event,” Ms. Sebrell said. “You can’t do it all.

“We just imagine what a Saturday night at Black Mountain College must have been like, and transport that notion to the current year.”"
2015  bmc  blackmountaincollege  museums  history  art  education 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Watch how this beautiful game exhibit helps kids figure out ecosystems - Boing Boing
[i see hints of Electroplankton in some of the visuals here.]

"The New York Hall of Science's new Connected Worlds exhibit is a series of six interactive ecosystems that spreads across the walls of its Great Hall, united by a 3000 square foot interactive floor. Kids can use their hands to plant seeds, or to move real logs to divert water and notice the effects on the various environments. Healthy ecosystems produce creatures that migrate among the different worlds.

It's intended to teach young folks about how systems work, especially in the contest of ecology and sustainability. Prolific game designer and artist Zach Gage (we last spoke to him about fortunetelling apps and accidental clones, but he does all kinds of things) consulted on the project:

"My biggest pushes were for ensuring that the takeaways for children were experiential (to be unpacked later with educators/family members/friends) rather than a set of point-by-point facts or statistics," he writes. "I strongly believe that part of the power of games is that they can convey experiences, not just lessons, and that experiences can be key in teaching certain topics that are too complex to ever truely understand—in this case, systems thinking."

As a kid I remember very little about my class trips to museums besides the worksheets, where we had to study exhibits and then write down what they told us about how the world works. Strangely I can't remember anything specific that I learned—just that I sat for a while copying down a diagram of a flower by hand, more interested in its infrastructure than in any fact the image could convey.

Learn more about the Connected Worlds project here, or see it for yourself at the New York Hall of Science, where it'll be housed for the next 5-10 years!"
games  gaming  seriousgames  ecosystems  museums  children  play  education  immersion  2015  leighalexander  connecetedworlds  interdependence  science 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Older Adults & Programming for People with Dementia | Art Museum Teaching
"The Museum of Photographic Arts, in San Diego, CA offers two notable programming initiatives for people with memory loss, and what I find most interesting is their approach to both engagement and assessment. The first program, Seniors Exploring Photography, Identity and Appreciation (SEPIA) promotes “art-based dialog and opportunities to create photographic images.” While it is designed for all seniors, MOPA has adapted the program for people with cognitive impairments, who make up about a quarter of the program’s audience, according to MOPA Lifespan Learning Coordinator Kevin Linde. The program is not too technical, offers choices, and provides experiences not focused on the participants’ memory loss.

The second MOPA offering is in partnership with the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of California, San Diego, and three other museums in Balboa Park. The Memories at the Museum program, modeled after the Museum of Modern Art’s Meet Me at MoMA, focuses on conversation and interaction while engaging with art. Participants with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s can stimulate their verbal and visual abilities by discussing artwork in a comforting environment with their care partner.

So how do we know we are successful in our programs for people with memory loss? As I mentioned, assessing “learning outcomes,” as they are usually identified by museum educators, is not really helpful or appropriate for people with memory loss. Instead, MOPA focuses on measuring participant engagement, health, well-being, and positive feelings.

For instance, in March, MOPA piloted a four-week album-making course, My Life Through the Lens, based on the SEPIA program with the Shiley-Marcos Research Center. They blended together evaluative tools from the SEPIA program and those developed by Shiley-Marcos. A program evaluation survey posed multiple-choice plus open-ended questions and program participants could self identify as a caregiver or person with memory loss. Questions such as “what effect did the program have on your mood?” and “what effect did the program have on your relationship with your family member or friend?” helped MOPA understand the affective impact of the program. Kevin shared the survey results with me and I was pleased to learn that a number of participants felt the program had helped to increase their feelings of togetherness, closeness, and strengthening relationship bonds between the person with memory loss and the care partner.

I find it particularly exciting that the affective benchmarks developed for MOPA’s memory loss programs are being incorporated into the museum’s assessment of programs for all visitors. When I asked Kevin about this, he shared that the programs for seniors inspired MOPA to take a look at what works across the board in the museum and focus on the overall visitor experience.

What if all museums measured their success by visitor engagement, happiness, and health in addition specific learning outcomes? Kevin says that MOPA continues to focus on improving its evaluation and understanding the impact of the programs beyond the one or two hours when the visitor is at the museum. It is critically important to include the caregiver in both the programming and the evaluation. While working with other museums is helpful, partnering with social service organizations and non-traditional partners (such the Alzheimer’s Association and local universities) is also vitally important to serving growing older adult audiences with memory challenges."
museums  dementia  memory  memories  memoryloss  2015  aging  mopa  lisaeriksen 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Measuring Exhibition — Linda Dong
"This weekend we decided to visit the 21_21 Design Sight museum in Roppongi to see the exhibit "Measuring: This Much, That Much, How Much?". It is quite literally an exhibition devoted to anything measurement-related: units and conversions, the history of measurement devices, and clever forms of comparison. I don't know if it's true for all Japanese museum-experience, but the whole exhibition was incredibly interactive. In contrast to most US museums you could touch and play with a lot of the stations, photographs were encouraged, and there was a lot of chatter. The exhibit runs until May 31st if you happen to be in the Tokyo-area."
design  measurement  lindadong  2015  japan  museums  exhibits  units  conversions  history 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Another case for museums as public forums | Public History Commons
"I have always thought of public history as a tool to assist us in mediating unchartered territory. More specifically, museums can serve as public forums to tackle persistent forms of oppression that have escaped clear resolve. This vision seems particularly relevant today. There is a wide gap between understanding the inaccessible civil liberties and rights black people struggled for and acknowledging operations of oppression that persist into the present day. Rather by willful ignorance, genuine unawareness, or fear, much of the American public lives in that gap. Through exhibits, collections, community outreach projects, and continued dialogue, museums can assist the public in mediating that gap where we have not gained much traction.

Following the election of the first black president, many members of the public entered a post-racial trance. Many Americans no longer felt a sense of urgency to deal with our country’s deepest moral ill. They believed Barack Obama’s election was the most convincing evidence of triumph over a racially contentious past. This trance was disrupted by highly publicized incidents of white police officers killing unarmed black males in Beavercreek, Ferguson, Staten Island, and Cleveland. Yet most museums remain disconnected, rather than navigating outside the status quo. Not making any moves may seem like an apolitical, objective, and conflict-free approach, but this approach is indeed problematic. It actually suggests an intentional silencing. Museums have demonstrated a pattern of actively muting uncomfortable conversations.

There seems to be a wave of museums attempting to engage more visitors with race in their interpretive plans, but this tendency to actively mute uncomfortable conversations still seems pretty loud. It became most noticeable when I began hosting a monthly Twitter conversation with a colleague, with the goal of dissecting how museums can respond to Ferguson.[1] In our first chat, many participants indicated that their employers gave them specific directions not to discuss race or the recent events. One even noted that she had never seen such a large group of people with some variation of a “views are my own” disclaimer on their Twitter profile page, drawing a clear delineation between the institution they worked for and their personal views.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the chat showed that museums, especially history museums, shy away from tackling contemporary events–especially controversial ones. A more critical dialogue would seek meaningful and long-lasting ways to incorporate current events that have deep-rooted pasts. Pushing that critical dialogue a step further would entail asking why contemporary issues dealing with race seem to be the first that museums mute.

[image]

The Twitter chat has highlighted some of the exemplary examples of museums that responded to Ferguson. We discussed the Missouri History Museum’s town hall meetings and their commitment to collecting Ferguson protest artifacts as significant steps to preserving and constructing a complete narrative for the future.[2] We have also discussed the Northwest African American Museum, primarily because it still produces meaningful conversations. Studying the Northwest African American Museum combats the popular excuse that certain museums should not address Ferguson because events in their community did not reflect what was going on there. Museums can help us navigate this uncharted land, demonstrating that what happened in Ferguson is not so far-fetched or foreign to other parts of the country. - See more at: http://publichistorycommons.org/another-case-for-museums-as-public-forums/#sthash.oVqHDt2A.dpuf

[image]

Museums can serve as forums. Rather than hiding from the controversy, they can facilitate conversations about the United States’ long history of excessive police force and racism. Mississippi’s Parchman Farm provides a compelling example. In Worse than Slavery, historian David Oshinsky’s examination of Parchman from the cotton-field chain gang days after the Civil War to the 1960s, Oshinsky argues that the American legal system never intended to punish those who exploit or murder black people. An institution notorious for its convict lease system, Parchman disproportionately incarcerated black males. Indeed, Michael Brown is not an isolated figure, and Ferguson, Missouri, (where despite having a nearly 70% black community, just three of fifty-three police officers and, until the municipal election on April 7, only one of six city council members were black) is not an outlier. Urban outlets across America experience a similar racial uneasiness bubbling just underneath the surface. Acknowledging this uneasiness, at the very least, provides the public with a truer and more useful narrative.

The blood of Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, Timothy Thomas, Alberta Spruill, and Sean Bell–all unarmed black people killed by police within the last two decades–has spattered our contemporary history. Yet, community engagement programs rarely speak of their lives, and many people do not recognize their names. Collections, or the tactile representation of their experience, are scarce. There is no intellectual or practical integrity in leaving out these narratives. On the most basic level, regardless if the public believes their deaths were justified or not, they are all a part of a growing matrix of black people whose deaths have been protested in a desperate call for a recalibrated justice system. It is impractical for museums to start or maintain relevance with the black community while dismissing one of their most salient issues since Jim Crow. By joining the conversation as listeners, then collaborators, public historians, and museums have the opportunity to do work beyond paternalistic or superficial frameworks.

Forums are not always smooth. Sometimes they have prickly edges. Museums have a stronger chance at remaining relevant by not fearing the discomfort that comes with embracing our contested past and present. The process can be murky and uncomfortable, but it is not our job to be comfortable about the sources we uncover and the stories that are different from our own experiences. Becoming familiar with the discomfort in this process is what will close the gap between understanding the inaccessible civil liberties and rights black people struggled for and acknowledging persistent operations of oppression. Closing that gap is also a crucial part of healing."
aleiabrown  2015  publichistory  history  museums  forums  race  discourse  politics  twitter  ferguson  discomfort 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Puke Ariki Museum Libraries Tourist Information Taranaki New Zealand
"Puke Ariki is an innovative museum, library and information centre that combines learning, knowledge, resources and heritage objects for a visitor experience that is like no other.

Sited in New Plymouth, Taranaki, between the majestic Mount Taranaki and the wild Tasman Sea, Puke Ariki is a place of wonder, of excitement, of discovery and adventure.

Governed by the New Plymouth District Council, Puke Ariki is a triumph of the partnership between central government, regional government and businesses that encapsulates a spirit of generosity, vision and co-operation.

Four permanent exhibitions explore Taranaki’s past, present and future – telling the stories of the people and the region through displays, technology, multi-media and the people themselves – so there is always something new to learn and amazing to see.

Puke Ariki is a place where people come together and where there is a place for everyone."
libraries  museums  lcproject  openstudioproject  newplymouth  newzealand  pukeariki  taranaki 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Visitor Studies Association - Journal and Archive
"Visitor Studies is the peer-reviewed research journal of the Visitor Studies Association, now published by Taylor and Francis. Appearing bi-annually, Visitor Studies publishes high-quality articles, focusing on visitor research, visitor studies, evaluation studies, and research methodologies. The Journal also covers subjects related to museums and out-of-school learning environments, such as zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings.

A primary goal for Visitor Studies is to be an accessible source of authoritative information within the visitor studies field that provides both theoretical and practical insights of relevance to practitioners and scholars. As a secondary goal, Visitor Studies aims to develop its reputation as an international publication."



"The Visitor Studies Association archive holds the past publications of VSA. This archive contains the entire run of earlier formats of Visitor Studies: Theory, Research, and Practice (formerly the Proceedings of the 1988-1996 Visitor Studies Association Conference), Visitor Behavior (1986-1997), and Visitor Studies Today (1998-2006). The archive also contains conference abstracts from the annual Visitor Studies Association Conference (1998 to the present), and C.G. Screven’s Visitor Studies Bibliography and Abstracts (4th Ed., 1999).

While the archive does contain the full holdings of the Visitor Studies Association, to enhance access, many of the full-length articles have been transferred to the Informal Science repository."

[See also: http://visitorstudies.org/

"VSA is today’s premier professional organization focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings. We’re committed to understanding and enhancing visitor experiences in informal learning settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.

VSA's members are a diverse and dynamic group of individuals including evaluators, educators, exhibit developers, designers, marketing professionals, planners, academics, and directors who share a passion for improving the quality of visitor experiences. VSA also boasts an outstanding international membership from twenty different countries."]
museums  research  journals  archives  via:jannon  zooks  visitorexperience  experience  parks  informallearning  learning  exhibits  education 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Michael O'Hare for Democracy Journal: Museums Can Change—Will They?
[See also Suzanne Fischer’s response to my tweet quoting the article"
https://twitter.com/publichistorian/status/600095808797614080

and this interview:
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2015/05/michael_ohare_o.html ]

"Our great art institutions are cheating us of our artistic patrimony every day, and if they wanted to, they could stop."



"I tell my students, and only somewhat flippantly, that arts policy is the most important policy arena. Seriously? Well, most people think health policy is right up there—but why live longer if life isn’t worth living? And if you don’t think government has a lot to do with whether and how you can engage with art, you just don’t understand the situation.

Think about a world in which our great paintings and sculpture are mostly on view instead of where they actually are, which is mostly locked up in the basements and warehouses of a handful of our largest museums. In which you didn’t have to go to one of a half-dozen big cities to see them, and didn’t rush through an enormous museum for a whole day because you paid so much to get in. In which you weren’t constantly afraid that you aren’t entitled to what you see, or competent to engage with it. That world is actually within reach, and the main reason we don’t have it is that the people to whom we have entrusted our visual arts patrimony have nailed each other’s feet to the floor so they can’t move toward it, and done so with the tacit approval and even collaboration of government.

Big museums have long refused to recognize their unexhibited collections of duplicates and minor works as a financial resource. As a consequence, they are wasting value by keeping these works hidden. If they were redistributed to smaller institutions, and even to private collectors and businesses, they would fund an explosion of the value for which we have museums in the first place: people looking at art and getting more out of it when they do.

The story will wind its way through accounting rules, professional ethics, and tax policy, but we can start right in a museum. This is such a conventional ritual that it requires conscious effort to realize how many things about it could be different, and maybe should be. Let’s do a field trip and look around!"



"Merely invoking technology or shoveling out more information can easily miss the mark; success is also a matter of attitude and empathy. When I worked in a museum, I had some troubling epiphanies, like the time the curator of a quarter-mile of decorative arts galleries, full of chairs with ropes across them and nowhere for a visitor to sit, interrupted my staff meeting presentation about seating to say, “Mike, I don’t know why we’re spending time on this; if I want to sit down, I can go to my office. I don’t need chairs in the galleries!”

I still remember being infuriated by the label on a pair of metal devices in a vitrine, etched in my memory as “Pair of objects for striking fire, with three lines of Qu’ranic script. They are beautifully made and invite our touch.” Okay, I’m an engineer and a shade-tree mechanic. You have my interest: How do you strike fire with them—hit them together? Rub? Did they hold flints? Do you use them together, or one at a time? What is “Qu’ranic script”—a calligraphic style, like Kufic? Is it a pedantic way to write what hoi polloi call “lines from the Quran”? And I understand why they’re under glass, but why, Mr. Curator, are you rubbing it in that you can touch them and I can’t? “Education” like this may be well-meaning, but it is inept.

I also had some eye-opening moments, such as when a curator would walk me through his galleries and just talk to me about the art. It’s really breathtaking how interesting these folks can make their stuff, and no, you don’t get it by reading their published work, or from the labels they write, or from the audio guide; it only happens when they aren’t looking over their shoulders at their peers and showing off how erudite they are. Everyone can’t have that kind of personal engagement, of course, but could we give every visitor something like it? I don’t want someone talking in my ear when I’m watching a play or listening to a string quartet, but this can happen right in front of a painting—what an opportunity!

As a visitor, I keep encountering missed opportunities and misfires, usually resulting from an insouciant unconcern for what would really enrich the experience for a typical visitor—that is, a visitor a museum should want to make repeated visits. The big David Hockney exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum that I saw last year was full of the artist’s experiments with synchronized videos, iPad drawing, and the like, mostly well-documented and explained. But it also included Hockney’s 30 riffs on Claude Lorrain’s “Sermon on the Mount”—with no image of the Lorrain anywhere to be seen. Not educated enough to bring it up in memory, I had to find it on the Web on my phone. No, the original of 1656 is not copyrighted. The unspoken message is, if you don’t have the Lorrain original in your head, you’re not really qualified to be here. A few months later I ran into the original at the Frick, where it would have benefited greatly from association with a couple of Hockney’s covers (as reduced-size reproductions, of course). But while Hockney hasn’t slowed down for a minute at 77, the Frick has long been frozen in aspic. Here’s a wasted opportunity to put an important work into a context of artistic borrowing and exchange, and to make a centuries-old painting speak to a modern art lover.

Audio guides and smartphone apps, more and more common but still needing work, are the beginning of an exciting new way to engage with art. “Beginning,” because there’s plenty of headroom for improvement. A stellar Kandinsky exhibition at New York’s Neue Galerie had an audio guide, but I had to start up Spotify on my phone with earphones to associate his theater set designs for a “Pictures at an Exhibition” ballet with the respective parts of the music, which could perfectly well have been available on a headset on the wall next to each piece, or on the audio tour device. I know the music pretty well, but not well enough to be sure I wasn’t remembering “The Great Gate of Kiev” when I was looking at the old castle set. Much too often, the audio commentary itself is delivered in an off-putting academic style with a stuffy accent—a lecture from someone who would rather be somewhere else. Why can’t it be conversational, and share real enthusiasm and curiosity?

Getting with the tech revolution is not the only opportunity museums could seize by starting to use their enormous idle wealth responsibly. Real research about the visitor experience, which flowered briefly (mostly in science museums) between the 1930s and ’80s and then withered, could inform presentation so it actually works better, instead of just looking good to other curators and designers. At present, museums know very little about their audience and even less about the people who don’t attend. (Where, for example, did we get the bizarre idea that six seconds is the right amount of time to spend with a painting worth looking at—and isn’t it the responsibility of art museums to fix that?)

Building more space (and endowing its maintenance and operation) is an obvious path toward “more engagement,” at least for the people who attend now. What about those who don’t? Again, we need more research, but many of my students at a big public university simply don’t feel entitled, by background or competence, to art in a museum. When I take them on a field trip, I can sense a strong defensive and insecure reaction: “If I don’t see what’s so great about this, I must be not good enough for it.” Art-historical expertise and connoisseurship are not chopped liver. But they are not everything, not even everything about art. How is it that one can go in and out of every great museum and have no idea that there is a large body of research in cognitive psychology and the brain science of perception that (as the eminent art historian E.H. Gombrich was not too blinkered to see) makes art more important, more interesting, and more relevant? Ms. Curator, you may be way up there in the art world pecking order, but you are no Gombrich: Learn from him! There is simply no reason a visitor to the de Young Museum should need his kids to take him across town to the Exploratorium to learn about this.

Would it hurt society’s relationship to art if the institutions that display it had a less religious and awestruck affective orientation to the work? A less one-dimensional scale of value—which doesn’t sort objects out on a “masterpiece” index and induce visitors to scoot past wonders in search of the most famous few pieces—would help. Indeed, why don’t museums show us some fashionable bad art and explain why it is such, and authorize us to believe that if we think this or that piece is silly or a con, we might be right? Certified excellence isn’t the only way to be interesting and considerable. Why aren’t they more willing to entertain the idea that a lot of stuff selling for big money is faddish, schlocky, or silly (but may still be interesting), rather than torturing themselves into making excuses for an embalmed shark or one more metal balloon animal? Why can’t we see the experts disagree and argue with each other?

Management failures usually start with governance failures, and museum boards are way too heavy on wealthy collectors and too light on psychologists, artists, educators, and science-museum curators. Board selection is a hermetic, self-replicating process focused on wealth and social status to the exclusion of expertise, judgment, and wisdom; Met director Thomas Hoving memorably captured this willful blindness with his immortal, “Any trustee should be able to write a check for at least $3 million and not even feel it.” … [more]
art  museums  culture  collections  2015  michaelo'hare  democracy  governance  ethics  policy  technology  engagement  education  accessibility 
may 2015 by robertogreco
A Museum Educator’s Takeaways from Museums & the Web 2015 | Art Museum Teaching
"Digital leaders are often museum change leaders

Finally, one of the biggest threads of the conference was about how change is affecting our institutions (you can track lots of different conversations at #MWChange). You’ll notice that “digital” wasn’t in that sentence, but it seems to me that organizational change is, at many institutions, being spearheaded by digital staff. I think this is because digital projects are often catalysts that force museum staff to rethink business as usual."
change  organizationalchange  museums  2015  digital  gov.uk  institutions 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Tasmanian Devil - The New Yorker
“A master gambler and his high-stakes museum.”



"In 1985, Ranogajec took Walsh with him to Las Vegas. They lost almost everything they had. Ranogajec spent the next five months at the tables painstakingly winning back their stake while Walsh escaped what he called “the scream of the bland” for a new discovery which was to prove their big break: the world’s largest collection of gambling literature, housed at the library at the University of Nevada. He read widely and deeply on gambling history and gambling systems, the psychology of gambling, its management, its workings as a business, why people win and lose."



"From the warehouses of the Hobart wharf district of Salamanca and from the rooms of Hobart pubs—where banks of computers and attendant programmers, mathematicians, and statisticians crunched information, enhanced mathematical systems, and placed bets—the Bank Roll’s gaming went global. It was recently reported in the Australian that the Bank Roll now gambles “as much as $3 billion” worldwide on betting-pool systems alone and continues to develop new mathematical models and computer systems for gambling on horse races, basketball, football, soccer, rugby, and dog racing in Europe, Asia, and the U.S.

These days, according to Walsh, the Bank Roll employs people who are much better than he is at mathematics and computing. At a MONA party, you are as likely to meet an Ivy League econometrics professor recruited to do statistical analysis of Hong Kong Thoroughbred racing as you are a Tasmanian abalone diver or a naked dancer, just let out of a cage suspended from the ceiling, expressing her gratitude for “the honor of dancing for David.”

Gambling, with its allure, its lore, its cosmology of numbers and chance, the immense skill it demands, the wild hope and dizzying despair it summons, remains powerfully attractive—and lucrative—to Walsh. For all the mathematical systems and computing power, Walsh remains a gambler. He bet on the election of the last Pope, studying the field of vying cardinals, putting his money down when Joseph Ratzinger was running 6 to 1. But at the heart of his passion he found emptiness. “Gambling, like future-markets trading, doesn’t produce anything,” Walsh has written. “It just causes money to change hands. . . . Winning gamblers end up with money but have achieved nothing else.”

And Walsh wanted to do something."



"In 1995, Walsh bought a small peninsula of land, known as Moorilla, in Hobart’s northern suburbs, after family troubles forced its previous owner, Claudio Alcorso, a Jewish refugee from Mussolini’s Italy who made his fortune in textiles, into bankruptcy. Alcorso had built a high-modernist house there, but it didn’t appeal to Walsh as a home. He turned it into a museum for his antiquities. No one came. It was, in his words, generic. “It looked like every other museum.” He began to question everything he had been told about museums, from the white walls to the notion of neutrality of presentation. By then, his collecting had begun to extend into contemporary art, and the idea of a more ambitious museum took hold. Walsh’s first decision was radical. He didn’t choose to build his museum on the élite shores of Sydney Harbor, or even in the more select parts of Hobart. Instead, he chose Moorilla, which is less than three miles from where he grew up. Picturesque to visitors, set against a large river and wooded hills, MONA is, to locals, the working-class heartland of Hobart.

It’s not the only misperception to which MONA has given rise. Not the least is that it stands in sharp contrast to a Tasmania frequently misrepresented in mainland Australia as conservative. But Tasmania is better understood as a place of extremes, radicalism, and unreality, and MONA is merely its latest manifestation.

There is no Golden Age in the telling of Tasmania. For a quarter of its modern history, Van Diemen’s Land, as it was then known, served as the British Empire’s gulag: the island was populated with convicts who were brought out in the stinking holds of the ships that had once been used for the lucrative slave route. A war was waged and lost by indigenous Tasmanians against the British colonists, an apocalypse that later inspired H. G. Wells to write “The War of the Worlds.” The British governors who ran the island banned dancing and fiddle-playing, fearing their subversive powers. In the ruins of the totalitarian state that was left when convict transportation ended, in 1853, nothing much changed, because neither the prosperity nor the waves of emigration that transformed mainland Australia ever arrived in Tasmania.

The island became not so much a democracy as a mediocracy, in which the worst kept their power by destroying the best. Corruption scandals that were never properly investigated or punished came and went; a savage, self-deceiving complacency became the ruling creed; a culture of cronyism became the norm, and backwardness became self-perpetuating. Governments of astonishing incompetence had for many years no policy other than the blanket support of a rapacious forestry industry run on scandalous subsidies. If Australia was the lucky country, Tasmania became its unlucky island. Its people are by all social indicators the poorest in the country.

Such a society breeds extremes and revolt, the radical product of which is everything from the invention of the quintessential Australian outlaw hero—the bushranger—to the world’s first Green Party. It is perhaps no surprise that Walsh frequently mentions Wunderkammern—wonder chambers. Before science vanquished awe and fantasy, Wunderkammern were the fashionable way for European royalty to display their great, eclectic collections. The fabulous, the fantastic, and the fake were all thrown and shown together in a spirit of enchanted wonder. Tasmania is an island Wunderkammer, crammed full of the exotic and the strange, the beautiful and the cruel, conducive not to notions of progress but to a sense of unreality—an unreality without which there would be no MONA.

For Walsh, traditional art museums were “designed to inculcate a sense of inferiority, to prepare you for the instilling of faith.” Beholden to nobody, he wanted to “subvert the very notion of what an art museum is” by democratizing the viewing of art in a way that had “no viewpoint privileged.” But subversion didn’t come cheap."



"The tax case was finally resolved in a confidential agreement in October, but it demonstrated the fundamental fragility of MONA—its dependence on Walsh in all things. In his memoir, Walsh writes of Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” and there is more than a little of the vainglorious “king of kings” in him. In the restaurant, he told me he had plans drawn up to make sure that MONA continues after his death, but his conviction suggests a belief that he could pay for MONA in the first place. A senseless risk yesterday, it remains a wild gamble tomorrow. “If I cared about longevity, I wouldn’t have built a museum a couple of meters above the sea level,” Walsh told a newspaper in 2010. “The Derwent is a tidal river. In fifty years, there’s going to be a lot of money spent on MONA, or it’s going to be underwater.”

Later in our lunch, Walsh—with the autodidact’s vast appetite for books—talked of writers. I gesture across the Derwent, to the rusting hulk of the barque Otago, the last boat on which Joseph Conrad sailed before heading up the Congo River. “And the only ship of which he ever had oceangoing command,” Walsh said. He said that he struggled with “The Shadow Line,” Conrad’s elusive novel inspired by his time on the Otago. As with much else, Walsh is certain in his thinking about books. Perhaps the only real certainty with Walsh is that he is always certain about what he is saying."
2013  davidwalsh  richardflanagan  mona  tasmania  art  literature  museums  userexperience  money  gambling  australia 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Strategies against architecture: interactive media and transformative technology at Cooper Hewitt | MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015
"Cooper Hewitt reopened at the end of 2014 with a transformed museum in a renovated heritage building, Andrew Carnegie's home on the Upper East Side of New York City. New galleries, a collection that was being rapidly digitized, a new brand, and a desire for new audiences drove the museum to rethink and reposition its role as a design museum. At the core of the new museum is a digital platform, built in-house, that connects collection and patron management systems to in-gallery and online experiences. These have allowed the museum to redesign everything from object labels and showcases to the fundamentals of a 'visit experience'. This paper explores in detail the process, the decisions made – and resulting tradeoffs - during each stage of the process. In so doing it reveals the challenges of collaborating with internal and external capacities; operating internationally with online collaboration tools; rapid prototyping; and the distinct differences between software and hardware design and production."



"In early 2012 at the National Art Education Association conference at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a group of junior school children working with Queens Museum of Art got up on stage and presented their view of ‘what technology in a museum should be like’. The kids imagined and designed the sorts of technologies that they felt would make their visit to a museum better. None of their proposed technologies were unfeasible and they imagined a very familiar sounding museum. The best invention proposed was a tracking device that each child would wear, allowing them to roam freely in a geo-fenced museum like home-detention prisoners with ankle-shackles, whilst their teachers sat comfortably in the museum cafe watching them move as dots on a tablet. The children argued that such a device would allow them to roam the museum and see the parts of it they actually wanted to see, and the teachers would get to fulfil their desires of just “hanging out in the cafe chatting”.

Often it feels like museums make decisions about the appropriate use of technology based upon short term internal needs – the need to have something ‘newsworthy’, the need to have something to keep their funders happy, and occasionally to meet the assumed needs of a specific audience coming to a specific exhibition. Rarely is there an opportunity like the one at Cooper Hewitt, to consider the entire museum and purposely reconfigure its relationships with audiences, all in one go. Even rarer is the funding to make such a step change possible.

The D&EM team established a series of unwritten technology principles for the new galleries and experience that were reinforced throughout the concept design stages and then encoded into practice during development. At the heart of these was an commitment to ensure that whatever was designed for the galleries would give visitors a reason to physically visit – and that nothing would be artificially held back, content-wise, from the web. Technology, too, had to help and encourage the visitor against the architectural impositions of the building itself.

Complementing a strategic plan that envisioned the transformation of the museum into a ‘design resource’, and an increasing willingness to provide more open access to the collection, concepts for media and technology in the galleries was to –

1. Give visitors explicit permission to play
Play was seen as an important way of addressing threshold issues and architecture. Entering the Carnegie Mansion, the experience of crossing the threshold provided an opportunity to upend expectations – much like the lobby space of a hotel. Very early on in the design process, then-Director, Bill Moggridge enthused about the idea of concierges greeting visitors at the door, warmly welcoming them into the building and setting them at ease. Technological interventions – even symbolic ones – were expected to support this need to change every visitor’s perception of how they were ‘allowed to behave’ in the mansion.

2. Make interactive experiences social and multi-player and allow people to learn by watching

The Cooper Hewitt, even in its expanded form, is a physically small museum. It has 16,000 sq ft of gallery space which is configured as a series of domestic spaces except for the open plan third floor, which was converted from offices into gallery space as part of the renovation. If interactive experiences were to support a transformed audience profile with more families and social groups visiting together, the museum would need experiences that worked well with multiple users, and provided points of social interaction. Immediately this suggested an ‘app-free’ approach even though Cooper Hewitt had been an early adopter of an iPod Touch media guide (2010) and iPad App (2011) in previous special exhibitions.

3. Ensure a ‘look up’ experience

Again, because of the domestic spaces with narrow doorways, encouraging visitors to be constantly referring to their mobile devices was not desirable. There was a strong consensus amongst the staff and designers that the museum should provide a compelling enough experience for visitors to only need to use their mobile devices to take photos with.

4. Be ubiquitous, a ‘default’ operating mode for the institution

The biggest lesson from MONA was that for a technology experience to have the best chance of transforming how visitors interacted with the museum, and how staff considered it into the future, that technology had to be ubiquitous. An ‘optional guide’, an ‘optional app’, even a ‘suggested mobile website’ might meet the needs of some visitors but it was unlikely to achieve the large scale change we hoped for. Indeed, the experience of prior technologies at Cooper Hewitt had been considered disappointing by the museum with a 9% take up rate (Longo, 2011) for the iPad guide made for the (pre-closure) blockbuster exhibition Set In Style. Similarly, only having interactive experiences in ‘some galleries’ threatened to relegate certain experiences to ‘younger audiences’ – something that is common in science museums.

5. Work in conjunction with the web and offer a “persistence of visit”

We were also insistent from the start that whatever was designed, that it had to acknowledge the web, and that ‘post-visit’ diaries were to be considered. The museum was enamoured with MONA’s post-visit reports from The O, and similar initiatives that followed including MOMA’s Audio+ (2013) and others. This idea grew and the D&EM team began to build out a sizeable infrastructure over 2013, the desire to ensure that everything on exhibition in the museum would also be available online – without exception – became technically feasible. As the museum’s curatorial staff began to finalise object lists for the opening exhibitions, it became clear that beyond the technology layer, a new layer of policy changes would be required to realise this idea. New loan forms and new donor agreements were negotiated and by the time objects began to arrive for installation at the museum in 2014, all but a handful of lenders had agreed to have a metadata and image record of their object’s presence in the museum not only be online during the run of an exhibition, but permanently on the exhibition’s online catalogue."



"As a sector we have spent a couple of decades making excuses for why “digital” can’t be made core to staffing requirements and the results have ranged from unsatisfying to dismal.

The shift to a ‘post-digital’ museum where “digital [is] being naturalized within museums’ visions and articulations of themselves” (Parry, 2013) will require a significant realignment of priorities and an investment in people. The museum sector is not alone in this – private media organisations and tech companies face exactly the same challenge. Despite ‘digital people’ and ‘engineers’ being in high demand, they should not be considered an ‘overpriced indulgence’ but rather than as an integral part of the already multidisciplinary teams required to run a museum, or any other cultural institution.

The flow of digital talent from private companies to new types of public service organizations such as the Government Digital Service (UK), 18F (inside GSA) and US Digital Service, proves that there are ways, beyond salaries, to attract and retain the specialist staff required to build the types of products and services required to transform museums. In fact, we argue that museums (and other cultural institutions) offer significant intrinsic benefits and social capital that are natural talent attractors that other types of non-profits and public sector agencies lack. The barriers to changing the museum workforce in this way are not primarily financial but internal, structural and kept in place by a strong institutional inertia."
cooper-hewitt  aaronstraupcope  sebastianchan  2015  design  museums  experience  web  internet  ux  api  userexperience  hardware  change  organizationalchange  billmoggridge  mona  theo  davidwalsh  digital  gov.uk  privacy  identity  absence  tomcoates  collections  soa  servicesorientedarchitecture  steveyegge  persistence  longevity  display  nfc  rfid  architecture  applications  online  engagement  play  technology  post-digital  18f 
april 2015 by robertogreco
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
MoMA | ArquiMoMA Instagram Project
"#ArquiMoMA

MoMA and Instagram are collaborating to celebrate the exhibition Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980 (March 29, 2015–July 19, 2015). The exhibition features over 500 original works that have largely never been exhibited—even in their home countries—including historical architectural drawings and models, vintage photographs, and films from the period. To kick off the project, InstaMeets were held across Latin America on March 14, 2015. (See a list of InstaMeet locations below.)
We’re inviting you to share your images of buildings featured in the exhibition, to show their current context and how people see and use them today.

Share your photos of any of the locations in the complete list below at any time leading up to or during the exhibition using the hashtag #ArquiMoMA. Be sure to tag your location.
Select photos will be featured on a display in the exhibition galleries at The Museum of Modern Art and on MoMA.org."
moma  latinamerica  architecture  instagram  #ArquiMoMA  design  argentina  brazil  brasil  chile  colombia  ecuador  guatemala  mexico  uruguay  venezuela  cuba  perú  puertorico  dominicanrepublic  museums  socialmedia  photography  crowdsourcing  participatory 
march 2015 by robertogreco
[this is aaronland] did I mention it vibrates? ["history is time breaking up with itself"]
"Lately I've been playing with the idea that history itself is the space left over as any two moments in time tear away from each other. Or as they fade the way a mural in the sun gradually disappears; people both aware of its disappearance and shocked when it finally vanishes.

There are still stand-out events (the clues) and we recognize those in the objects and artifacts we celebrate. More specifically that we celebrate those objects in common. The scarcities of the past meant that the pool of common celebrations from which to choose was pretty limited and so now while it might seem like we're swimming in tailor-made niche rituals I don't actually think the fundamental dynamic has changed.

There is still what Scott McCloud dubbed the magic in the gutter. The "gutter" being the space between any two panels (or frames) in a comic strip. The gutter is the place where the author and the artist let the reader act as the narrative bridge between two events. This is an integral part of comics as a form and I think fundamental to their popularity.

I like to think of the gutter as the space where fan-fiction operates. As a way of creating alternative reasons to explain why any two events are related to one another."



"Monkey Jesus. Let me start by saying: I love Monkey Jesus.

Monkey Jesus is sometimes known as Ecce Homo, a church fresco painted by Elias Garcia Martinez in the 1930s in Northern Spain. Like many churches in Europe it was abandoned and stood waiting to be reclaimed by the elements. In August of 2012 Cecilia Giminez, a nearby resident, decided that she would attempt to restore the painting before it was completely lost.

That last fact is really important: This fresco was the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one around to hear it. Had another year or another decade passed the painting would have been washed away by the rain or the sun and no one would have known the difference.

What happened instead is that someone posted a picture of Giminez's efforts to the internet and the whole world when completely nuts. This, we were told, was an offense against all culture. Proof that the laity shouldn't be trusted with the arts. That this 90-year woman had single-handedly destroyed everything sacred about the Rennaissance.

Then a funny thing happened: By the end of 2013 forty thousand people had visited the church to see the fresco and Giminez herself was pushing for financial compensation claiming artist's rights for her work.

Monkey Jesus has crossed the event horizon of signifiers and now, I'm willing to bet, we're going to actively preserve the so-called failed restoration over the original fresco precisely because of this history. Because now the work has narrative pedigree. If you think that sounds like crazy-talk consider the exact same painting but done in the hand of Alex Katz or re-created by Cindy Sherman. Look carefully at Monkey Jesus and tell me you can't see the shadow of either artist's work in that painting.

The issue is not whether a different artist would have done Monkey Jesus better but in how we reconstruct the narrative around an event; the reasons we choose to understand why an object is worthy of a narrative at all."



"We did this so that the idea of visitors using a NFC-enabled pen in the galleries stopped being an idea and became something tangible. The problem with conceptual designs is that at a certain point they stop being devices for imagining possibilities and instead become a bucket for everyone's hopes and fears and anxieties. That tipping point is unique to every project but we had reached ours and the most important thing became to root the problem in a practical reality that we could use to make decision about rather than around."



"It turns out the Pen is a pretty good problem-solving interview question. You start with two immutable facts of nature and a warning. Fact number one is that all capacitive styluses have a metal core or metal woven in to the sheathing. (Go back and look at the slide with the vWand cases — that's metallic paint on the tip.) That metal is required in order for the stylus to work. Fact number two is that metal is the enemy of radio frequencies (NFC). The stern warning is that if any point the person answering the question says I saw a thing... on 60 minutes... about a guy in Shenzhen... then the interview is over.

Otherwise you just sit back and listen.

If they get far enough to figure out a design then you ask them how they'd power the thing. You can't really see it in any of the slides I've shown you but there's a button on the back of the Pen. That's the button which activates the NFC antenna because if it were always powered on the Pen would spend all day shouting HELLO? IS ANYONE OUT THERE?? in to the void and quickly exhaust its battery supply."



"It turns out that the Pen is in fact the minimum amount of infrastructure that you need if the goal is to enable some kind of meaningful recall for a museum visit. The point is not to provide users with a Pen experience but to offer them a tool that is quiet and polite and allows them to, literally, touch the objects as a way to remember them. To provide them with something less-shit than taking photos of wall labels. To provide them with a way to come to the museum and have a heads up visit confident that there is a way back after they've left the building."



"We changed the loan agreements to state that the museum reserves the right to display the fact that an object spent time with us and to display the images of those objects on our website and in our galleries. Forever. If you're not a museum person you may be staring at your screen right now wondering what the fuck I am talking about. Like specifically why this is a big deal. That is the correct response.

Pretty much every other loan agreement ever drafted between two museums or a museum and a private individual states that lender retains all image rights to the object being lent. Which is fine, in principle. In practice though it's created an environment where even if a museum enjoys a limited period of use the uncertainty around the licensing of that imagery after the fact means that it's easier to throw up our hands and despair the situation than to look for a viable alternative.

The problem is this: We tell visitors that it is important enough for them to travel to our musuem to see something in person rather than simply looking for it on Google. We tell them it is worth their time and expense and then we pretend as though it never happened.

Which is insane. It's flat out insane. Not to mention wrong. Also stupid.

So we've stopped doing it. We're not going to start making mugs and ties with other people's collections but we are going to assert that their thing was in our building for a while."



'Let's be honest: You are straight up fucked if you then try to search for that thing on a museum website and doubly-fucked if you're trying to do it on your phone. We should all strive to make that experience not suck but for the time being it does. If instead a person can remember that Oh yeah, I was there in October... and there's a way to find the object quickly and easily then two things happen:

1. They can actually find the thing they're talking about and not have it be a proxy object for another of life's annoyances.
2. They can put their phone away.

Imagine if you could take a museum for granted that way. Not in a creepy or selfish way but in a way that allowed you to think about it as a resource, with the patience to always be present. Imagine what it would mean for a museum to have the infinite space of everything to the right of a permalink's URL at its disposal.

It's not a permalink of the object (they already have their own permalinks) but a permalink of your having collected that object during that visit and these are the places where visitors and the museum together might actually explore what it means to better share an understanding of an object beyond a 75-word wall label. There is a fantastic amount of learning and writing that has produced about the objects in our collections over the years but almost no one, outside the hula-hoop of professional disciplines, ever sees it.

These, we hope, are the places where we might start to change that. These are the places where someone might finally read the 10,000 word essay about an exhibition in the comfort of their living room or even just on the subway ride home after their visit. These are the places where we might start to find a way to make the curatorial files I mentioned earlier an active participant in the collection."



"In the end I think the hardest part of this project for the museum will be being patient and in measuring success over the long-term. Some people will see and immediate and personal value in what we're trying to do but it would be unfair, and unrealistic, to demand the same of everyone else. People have busy, complicated lives and it sometimes takes people a while to warm up to an idea. Our disposition, our super-power, as cultural heritage institutions is that we have time on our side. We should learn to share it with those who don't."
2015  aaronstraupcope  cooper-hewitt  museums  history  memory  objects  interaction  monkeyjesus  fanfiction  scottmccloud  sebchan  billmoggridge  aaronkeefer  alisoufan  selfawareroomba  roomba  design  waronterror  narrative  storytelling  culture  smithsonian  internet  web  online  collections  socialmedia  rfid  nfc 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Total Archive.
[See also: http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/25660

"The Total Archive: Dreams of Universal Knowledge from the Encyclopaedia to Big Data
19 March 2015 - 20 March 2015



The complete system of knowledge is a standard trope of science fiction, a techno-utopian dream and an aesthetic ideal. It is Solomon’s House, the Encyclopaedia and the Museum. It is also an ideology – of Enlightenment, High Modernism and absolute governance.

Far from ending the dream of a total archive, twentieth-century positivist rationality brought it ever closer. From Paul Otlet’s Mundaneum to Mass-Observation, from the Unity of Science movement to Isaac Asimov’s Encyclopedia Galactica, from the Whole Earth Catalog to Wikipedia, the dream of universal knowledge dies hard. These projects triumphantly burst their own bounds, generating more archival material, more information, than can ever be processed. When it encounters well defined areas – the sportsfield or the model organism – the total archive tracks every movement of every player, of recording every gene and mutation. Increasingly this approach is inverted: databases are linked; quantities are demanded where only qualities existed before. The Human Genome Project is the most famous, but now there are countless databases demanding ever more varied input. Here the question of what is excluded becomes central.

The total archive is a political tool. It encompasses population statistics, GDP, indices of the Standard of Living and the international ideology of UNESCO, the WHO, the free market and, most recently, Big Data. The information-gathering practices of statecraft are the total archive par excellence, carrying the potential to transfer power into the open fields of economics and law – or divest it into the hands of criminals, researchers and activists.

Questions of the total archive engage key issues in the philosophy of classification, the poetics of the universal, the ideology of surveillance and the technologies of information retrieval. What are the social structures and political dynamics required to sustain total archives, and what are the temporalities implied by such projects?

In order to confront the ideology and increasing reality of interconnected data-sets and communication technologies we need a robust conceptual framework – one that does not sacrifice historical nuance for the ability to speculate. This conference brings together scholars from a wide range of fields to discuss the aesthetics and political reality of the total archive."]
tumblr  classification  maps  knowledge  2015  tumblrs  archives  universality  collections  data  politics  bigdata  history  encyclopedias  paulotlet  mundaneum  isaacasimov  encyclopediagalactica  wholeearthcatalog  museums  ideology  highmodernism  sccifi  sciencefiction  humangenomeproject  libraries  wikipedia  universalknowledge 
march 2015 by robertogreco
For the Walker Art Center, a Shop That Peddles Evanescence - NYTimes.com
"Visitors to the gift shop at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will soon be able to buy something a little more esoteric, alongside their Chuck Close posters and Pantone mugs. “On Mother’s Day,” the promotion might go, “how about a new ringtone calibrated by the composer Nico Muhly, just for stressful family calls?”

Maybe Dad or Sis would enjoy an instruction manual for a technology that has yet to be invented — or, to unwind, a vacation property with a short commute, on the virtual network Second Life. Even more accessible is a series of images from the photographer Alec Soth, sent via Snapchat and meant to disappear moments later.

These items are all wares from Intangibles, a conceptual art pop-up store that the Walker, the contemporary-art and performance center, plans to unveil on Thursday. Created by Michele Tobin, the retail director of its gift shop, and Emmet Byrne, the museum’s design director, it is in equal parts a digital bazaar with pieces priced to sell, and an exhibition, of sorts, with curated original artworks.

It upends the logic of a regular shop. “The priority isn’t ‘get as much as you can for that item in the marketplace,’ ” Ms. Tobin said. “The priority becomes the artist’s intention and what we all think is right for that work.”

Sam Green, an innovative documentary filmmaker, will charge $2,500 to create a hybrid video-performance piece specific to the buyer. The ringtone compositions by Mr. Muhly, the modern classical arranger and musician, are $150 each. The Snapchat photos by Mr. Soth, the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim fellowship, are priced low at his request — $100 for 25 of them.

In the tradition of Conceptual art, documentation of the process is part of the point. “A lot of people won’t be purchasing actual products,” Mr. Byrne said, so “we want the online representation to be just as compelling as the objects themselves.”

The Walker sees Intangibles as blurring the boundaries between art, shopping and media. It’s hardly the first such effort: Eliding commerce and art, mass and high culture, was in vogue long before the advent of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, the SoHo store that sold clothing and other items with his work from 1986 to 2005. (It still operates online.) This month, Red Bull Studios, a gallery and performance space in Chelsea, opened the Gift Shop, its own artist-led store. But to have a museum shop peddle ideas, rather than artsy T-shirts or coveted décor, is a digital-age twist.

The experiment is also an acknowledgment that artists, especially those well versed in technology, are more comfortable in entrepreneurial roles. Where it once might have been anathema, or at least deeply uncool, for an artist to consider marketing and audience engagement — let alone inventory codes — salability and consumer savvy are now frequently embedded in original work. And not necessarily at the behest of art dealers or curators; as artists engage with potential collectors via Instagram or YouTube, they are becoming shrewd digital marketers and self-promoters. And there seems to be no shame in that.



The work of Martine Syms, a multimedia artist based in Los Angeles who explores identity, race and communication, is exhibited more often than sold; she refers to herself as “a conceptual entrepreneur” who creates “machines for ideas,” a riff on Sol LeWitt’s vision of Conceptual art. “I think of entrepreneurship as a way of creating value,” she said.

That sentiment was echoed in a more alarmist tone by the critic William Deresiewicz in a recent essay in The Atlantic titled “The Death of the Artist.” It’s no wonder, he suggests, that so many “creators” these days work in multimedia. “The point is versatility,” he wrote. “Like any good business, you try to diversify.”

For Ms. Syms, 26, a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who supports herself through freelance graphic design work, multimedia is simply a language she grew up speaking, and digital tools are a source of freedom. She has worked with galleries but is happy to showcase her work online or in do-it-yourself publications. The traditional gallery system “doesn’t give you a lot of control over your work or your audience,” she said.

“Especially for myself, a woman of color, I think that a lot of times, these systems aren’t really interested in what I’m doing or what I’m saying,” Ms. Syms added. “A lot of times, I would rather create my own world.”

For Intangibles, Ms. Syms will perform in the guise of her fictional one-woman band, Maya Angelou, on the voice mail of her buying public; the piece will be accompanied by an online blurb about the so-called band, which has yet to record a note. Ms. Syms said she didn’t want to deal directly with her customers — “I feel I’m already bad enough on the phone” — and that she likes the evanescence of voice mail, which is often automatically deleted after a certain period. (In “Surround Audience,” the current New Museum Triennial, she also has a room-size installation dealing with the shifting norms of sitcoms.)

That many of the items for sale in Intangibles are interactions rather than objects does not surprise Christine Kuan, chief curator for Artsy, the online art platform. With the growing commercialization of the art world and daily life ever more tethered to devices, “people want life experiences and memories that aren’t mass-produced for consumption, that are special and created by an artist,” she said. “It’s a kind of consumerism that is a little bit of anti-consumerism.”

Mr. Soth, whose photojournalism has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, views Snapchat as a way to engage with the changes in photography as a medium. “For me, it’s about stopping time, documenting the world, preserving it,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Minneapolis. His 12-year-old daughter was nearby, glued to her cellphone and, he said, “communicating, as we speak, in pictures.”

For her, photography is “simply conversation,” Mr. Soth said. “And I think that’s fascinating and terrifying.”

An early adopter of many new technologies who has also started a small publishing imprint — “I either dabble with these things or I just say, ‘My time’s over’ ”— Mr. Soth, 45, explained why he didn’t want his work for Intangibles, called “Disappear With Me,” to be expensive. “When it’s less about economics, I feel freer to experiment,” he said.

Proceeds from the projects will be split between the artists and the museum. A few artists, like Ms. Syms, deferred to the Walker on pricing, which in some cases gave the organizers pause: how to assign a monetary figure to a brief message from the ersatz singer of a fake band? Ultimately, said Mr. Byrne, the design director, “we really thought that sticking to the logic of the marketplace would add some rigor. And we also knew that we are giving a better profit-share rate than galleries.” (The voice mail messages are $10 each.) Many of the artists involved said they were in it less for the money — though they viewed that exchange as a necessary part of the deal — than for the creative inspiration. The designer and engineer Julian Bleecker and the Near Future Laboratory, a research company that typically charges thousands of dollars for corporate consultations, will produce briefs on items that do not yet exist (some future antibiotic’s warning label, for example, for $19.99) — what he called “design fiction.”

There are a few literal objects, like the extra parts and doohickeys that end up in a junk drawer, marketed as “Box of Evocative Stuff,” but Mr. Bleecker said the project was mostly a conceptual provocation “to get a larger public audience to think more deeply about the implications and conveniences of new technology.”

“I’m hoping that, with a commitment of $19, we’ll have a conversation,” he said."
walkerartcenter  nearfuturelaboratory  alecsoth  2015  designfiction  art  design  intangibles  emmetbyrne  micheletobin  martinesyms  entrepreneurship  museums  museumshops  shopping  commerce  media  culture  highbrow  lowbrow  andreasangelidakis  architecture  julianbleecker  adamharvey  speculativefiction  criticaldesign  conversation  newinc  snapchat  performance  interaction  christinekuan  artsy  identity 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Labels, Digital Included, Assume New Importance at Museums - NYTimes.com
"“Labels have always been a big topic in museological practice,” said Seb Chan, director of digital and emerging media at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He cites a blistering 1963 article, “Why Johnny Can’t Read Labels,” published in Curator: The Museum Journal. The author, George Weiner of the Smithsonian Institution, derided many midcentury museums as “veritable masterpieces of cryptography” because of terse, uninformative labels (called tombstones in curatorial jargon). He also railed against rambling labels “designed to frighten off all but the most persevering museum viewer.”

Some curators apparently use labels to show off their scholarship. (The Bad Label Hall of Fame website catalogs egregious examples.) “It often feels like museum labels are written for peers, not the public,” Mr. Chan said. Ms. Harland agreed. “If you need to write 50,000 words,” she advised colleagues, “do a talk for the local historical society.”

In a lecture, “Adventures in Label Land,” Ms. Rand, who tries to limit labels to about 50 words, highlights a vintage label that described a meteorite from the Field Museum in Chicago: “With the rise of the nickel content to around 14 percent, plessite prevails wholly, the kamacite becomes vestigial, and the structure becomes a nickel-rich ataxite (see label at right).” Written for mineralogists rather than families, the label, it seems, required its own label.

“The ‘label at right’ was a second, equally dense label,” Ms. Rand said.

Research by Stephen Bitgood, a psychology professor at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, proves that brevity pays off. Mr. Bitgood timed museum visitors reading a 150-word label and the same text divided into three 50-word panels. More than twice as many visitors read the shorter panels.

“Breaking down a long text passage into shorter ones changes the perception of the task, making it seem easier,” Mr. Bitgood wrote in an email. He likened labels to formal education. “If you break down a long chapter into smaller units and give a test for each unit, students do much better,” he said.

John Russick, director of curatorial affairs at the Chicago History Museum and coordinator of the annual label-writing competition by the American Alliance of Museums (winners get online accolades, not plaques), notices more experimental entries, including limericks and poems. To complement a portrait of the painter Waldo Peirce (who looked like Ulysses S. Grant), the de Young Museum in San Francisco published a poem by Ben Erickson, a fourth grader"



"Mr. Chan of the Cooper Hewitt previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia, one of the first to install Quick Response codes on labels, which provide visitors with smartphone access to an archive of information.

“We did it as an experiment and, of course, it failed,” Mr. Chan acknowledged. The codes now require a reader app, and many visitors resisted downloading it. “And that barrier is just too high for the casual person,” Mr. Chan said.

Learning from his mistake, Mr. Chan and his team at the Cooper Hewitt designed “the label whisperer,” software that enables visitors to snap a photo of a label and email it to an address, which then sends back the object’s collection records.

Visitors to the Cooper Hewitt, which reopened in December after a renovation lasting more than three years, will be able to borrow a pen, like a stylus, that interacts with Near-Field Communication technology incorporated into labels. “Behind each label there’s an N.F.C. tag,” Mr. Chan explained, “that allows you to basically collect objects as you walk around the galleries in a relatively straightforward way and then bring them back to explore on large interactive tables.”

Some museum directors view traditional labels as intrusive and would not object to a funeral for the so-called tombstones. In 2013, the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts staged a label-free exhibition of paintings by old masters. Instead, the museum set up iPad stations that focused on individual paintings and printed guides listing basic information, like the title, the artist’s name and the date it was acquired. Trained docents and museum guards milled about to act as truly interactive labels and provoke discussions with visitors about the art.

“Our ultimate goal in removing labels from the gallery walls was to create a deeper museum experience,” said the museum’s director, Matthias Waschek, by email. “We want our visitors to slow down and experience the art on their own terms.” The digitization of museums, he added, means that the landscape for labels “may be changing more radically than most of us dare to think.”"
museums  labels  museumdesign  cooper-hewitt  sebchan  matthiaswaschek  technology 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Smithsonian's design museum just got some high-tech upgrades | The Verge
"But the most impressive addition to the museum is what's simply called the Pen. It's a smartly designed rubberized wand with a pen-shaped tip at one end and an NFC antenna at the other. Not only does it work as a capacitive stylus on all of the tables, but it can be used around the museum: each item on display at the museum that now has an NFC tag next to it. When you find something you like, or want to read more about later, just tap the back of the pen to the tag. Lights on the Pen illuminate and a slight vibration confirms that the item's been recognized. You're essentially building your own personal collection as you browse the museum, and you're given a URL when you leave that lets you access that collection (or add to it when you return).

This isn't a terribly new idea; a few museums have been using NFC technology for a number of years now. But instead of relying on visitors to have NFC-enabled phones, the Pen makes for a much more cohesive experience, and it's something that the museum's directors believe any visitor can pick up and understand. It also plays extremely well with the interactive tables. Not only can it be used as a stylus, but you can tap the NFC tag to the table and watch the collection you've built spill out onto the table.

It may sound like a small change, but even during our brief after-hours demo back in December, it was easy to see how powerful a paradigm shift this could be. A simple stylus combined with a deep database of the museum's collection means that the museum is no longer just a few hundred objects inside four walls. It's an experience that can follow you anywhere."
art  design  2015  aaronstraupcope  cooper-hewitt  collections  digital  museums  exhibitions  rfid  nfc 
march 2015 by robertogreco
FIELD | A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism
"FIELD: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism

We are living through a singular cultural moment in which the conventional relationship between art and the social world, and between artist and viewer, is being questioned and renegotiated. FIELD responds to the remarkable proliferation of new artistic practices devoted to forms of political, social and cultural transformation. Frequently collaborative in nature, this work is being produced by artists and art collectives throughout North, South and Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia. While otherwise quite diverse, it is driven by a common desire to establish new relationships between artistic practice and other fields of knowledge production, from urbanism to environmentalism, from experimental education to participatory design. In many cases it has been inspired by, or affiliated with, new movements for social and economic justice around the globe. Throughout this field of practice we see a persistent engagement with sites of resistance and activism, and a desire to move beyond existing definitions of both art and the political. The title of this journal reflects two main concerns. First, it indicates our interest in a body of artistic production that engages the broadest possible range of social forces, actors, discursive systems and physical conditions operating at a given site. And second, it signals a concern with the questions that these projects raise about the “proper” field of art itself, as it engages with other disciplines and other modes of cultural production.

How do these practices redefine our understanding of aesthetic experience? And how do they challenge preconceived notions of the “work” of art? For many in the mainstream art world this opening out is evidence of a dangerous promiscuity, which threatens to subsume the unique identity of art. As a result this work has been largely ignored by the most visible journals and publications in the field. At the same time, an often-problematic concept of “social engagement” has become increasingly fashionable among many museums and foundations in Europe and the United States. There is clearly a need for a more intelligent and nuanced analysis of this new tendency. However, it has become increasingly clear that the normative theoretical conventions and research methodologies governing contemporary art criticism are ill-equipped to address the questions raised by this work. FIELD is based on the belief that informed analysis of this practice requires the cultivation of new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge, and a willingness to challenge the received wisdom of contemporary art criticism and theory. We seek to open a dialogue among and between artists, activists, historians, curators, and critics, as well as researchers in fields such as philosophy, performance studies, urbanism, ethnography, sociology, political science, and education. To that end the journal’s editorial board will include a diverse range of scholars, artists, historians, curators, activists and researchers. It is our belief that it is only at the intersections of these disciplines that can we develop a deeper understanding of the cultural transformations unfolding around us.

–Grant Kester, founder and editor, FIELD


FIELD Editorial Board

Tania Bruguera is an artist and the founder of Immigrant Movement International. Her most recent project is The Museum of Arte Útil.
Teddy Cruz is Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts department at the University of California San Diego, and Director of the UCSD Center for Urban Ecologies.
Tom Finkelpearl is the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City and the editor of What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation (Duke University Press, 2013).
Fonna Forman is Associate Professor of Political Science, founding co-director of the UCSD Center on Global Justice and author of Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy: Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Dee Hibbert-Jones is Associate Professor of Art and Founder and Co-Director of the Social Practice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz.
Shannon Jackson is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley and author of Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (Routledge 2011).
Michael Kelly is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, author of A Hunger for Aesthetics: Enacting the Demands of Art (Columbia University Press, 2012) and editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics.
Grant Kester, Field editor and founder, is professor of art history at UCSD and author of The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context (Duke University Press, 2011).
Rick Lowe is an artist, founder of Project Row Houses in Houston, and member of the National Council on the Arts.
George Marcus is the Director of the Center for Ethnography and Chancellor’s Professor and chair of the department of anthropology at UC Irvine, and author of Ethnography Through Thick and Thin (Princeton University Press, 1998).
Paul O’Neill is the Director of the Graduate Program, Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, New York.
Raúl Cárdenas Osuna is an artist, theorist, and the founder of Torolab collective and the Transborder Farmlab in Tijuana, Mexico.
Francesca Polletta is Professor of Sociology at UC Irvine and author of It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2006).
Greg Sholette is an activist, artist and professor in the Social Practice Queens program at Queens College and the author of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011).
Nato Thompson is Chief Curator, Creative Time, New York City and editor of Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 (MIT Press, 2012).

FIELD Editorial Collective

Paloma Checa-Gismero
Alex Kershaw
Noni Brynjolson
Stephanie Sherman
Julia Fernandez
Michael Ano

Thanks

FIELD would like to acknowledge the generous support of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the UCSD Division of Arts and Humanities, and the UCSD Visual Arts department."
ucsd  art  criticism  artcriticism  grantkester  taniabruguera  teddycruz  tomfinkelpearl  fonnaforman  deehibbert-jones  shannonjackson  michaelkelly  ricklowe  georgemarcus  paulo'neill  raúlcárdenasosuna  francescapolletta  gregsholette  natothompson  palomacheca-gismero  alexkershaw  nonibrynjolson  stephaniesherman  juliafernandez  michaelano  ucira  socialpracticeart  knowledgeproduction  urbanism  environmentalism  2015  education  alterative  experimental  participatorydesign  design  participatory  glvo  via:javierarbona  politics  arts  culturalproduction  aesthetics  socialengagement  museums  interdisciplinary  ethnography  sociology  philosophy 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Museums: The endangered dead : Nature News & Comment
"The billions of specimens in natural-history museums are becoming more useful for tracking Earth's shrinking biodiversity. But the collections also face grave threats."



"Some scientists see applications for collections beyond documenting new species and studying biodiversity. The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum collection in Honolulu, for example, contains millions of mosquito specimens, which might tell virologists about the dynamics of mosquito-borne pathogens. Ten years ago, says Norris, researchers assumed that preservatives would have degraded the DNA of any pathogens in a specimen. But studies are showing that it is possible to recover and analyse viral DNA from museum specimens. In 2012, researchers were able to study the evolution of a retrovirus by extracting viral DNA from 120-year-old koala skins and comparing it with DNA found in skins from the 1980s4.

Norris says that the same could be done with bats to help track diseases such as Ebola. (Researchers strongly suspect that bats triggered the recent outbreak in West Africa.) “You could go into museum collections and you could prospect for viral DNA,” says Norris. The AMNH alone has more than 125,000 bat specimens from around the world. “I guarantee there is something out there that is probably more scary than Ebola that we haven't encountered yet.”

But thoughts of deadly diseases are far from the mind of Moratelli as he bends to his work at the Smithsonian, calipers in hand. He carefully measures another bat, enters the data into his spreadsheet and places the animal onto a tray. Measure and repeat. In cabinets within reach, he has yet more specimens on loan from museums in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and California.

Last year, while at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Moratelli discovered what appeared to be a specimen of an unknown species of Guyanese bat. He will know for certain later this year when he travels to Canada to compare the specimen to a large collection of several hundred bats from Guyana.

A few years ago, he travelled to the French National Museum of Natural History in Paris to inspect just two specimens. In the months ahead, Moratelli will repeat the measurement process thousands of times, and he knows he will discover new species. For some of these — critically endangered bats with dwindling habitats — his findings might help to avert extinction.

For others, it is already too late."
naturalhistory  museums  archives  2015  collections  biodiversity  research  specimens  digitization  repositories 
february 2015 by robertogreco
A Bad Education | The Pedagogical Impulse
"PH: … I don’t want to make art that’s about say­ing that I did some­thing. I want to make art that does some­thing. I don’t always care whether peo­ple under­stand or not that I am doing it, but I want to know for my own sake that what I did had that impulse.

To me, that’s the enor­mous gap between art that claims to be about social change, and art that embod­ies social change. And that is why the rela­tion­ship between ped­a­gogy and art is absolutely cru­cial, because ped­a­gogy and edu­ca­tion are about empha­sis on the embod­i­ment of the process, on the dia­logue, on the exchange, on inter­sub­jec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and on human rela­tion­ships. The prod­uct may or may not be nec­es­sary or impor­tant. But it can­not hap­pen if this exchange does not take place. Art, tra­di­tion­ally, has not always been about the process. Ulti­mately in a museum when you look at a paint­ing, the process of its mak­ing is inter­est­ing to know, but it is not essen­tial to expe­ri­enc­ing the work. What mat­ters is that it’s there; that it hap­pened. In socially engaged art, that is the oppo­site: what is impor­tant is the process, and the process is inex­tri­ca­ble from the experience.

HR: What you are say­ing reminds me of some­thing that Shan­non Jack­son men­tioned in her talk at Open Engage­ment this past year. She said some­thing to the effect of what looks like inno­va­tion in one field may be old news in another field. And I’m think­ing about this in the way that some processes of edu­ca­tion are taken up in socially engaged art.

I was read­ing a bit about Reg­gio Emilia before I came to meet you, because I had learned that you have a Reg­gio Emilia com­po­nent in the show down­stairs. I found this quote by Loris Malaguzzi: “We need to pro­duce sit­u­a­tions in which chil­dren learn by them­selves, in which chil­dren can take advan­tage of their own knowl­edge and resources… We need to define the role of the adult, not as a trans­mit­ter, but as a cre­ator of rela­tion­ships — rela­tion­ships not only between peo­ple but also between things, between thoughts, with the envi­ron­ment.”[ii]

PH: Sounds a lot like socially engaged art, right?

HR: Right! But I wanted to ask you about where we diverge. It feels like we may be in a com­pro­mised posi­tion. As artists there is an imper­a­tive to par­tic­i­pate in a cycle of pro­duc­tion, to be acknowl­edged as authors, or to be thought of as pri­mary authors, and to par­tic­i­pate in an art dis­course. In what way do we have to diverge from edu­ca­tional processes?

PH: We still belong to a tra­di­tion of art mak­ing where things acquire dif­fer­ent mean­ings depend­ing on the con­text. So like Duchamp’s uri­nal, of course it’s use­ful as a uri­nal and when it becomes art it becomes use­ful in other ways as art. And like what Tom Fin­kle­pearl was say­ing, it’s time to put the uri­nal back in the bath­room[iii], because we’ve come to a point where the use­ful­ness of art as aes­thet­ics has run its course. So it’s time to go back and think about aes­thet­ics as some­thing that func­tions in the world in a dif­fer­ent way.

Which cre­ates an inter­est­ing prob­lem: why don’t we just aban­don aes­thet­ics alto­gether? Why don’t I just become a Reg­gio Emilia edu­ca­tor since their phi­los­o­phy is close to what I do? Maybe I should just move to Italy and teach lit­tle kids. There’s this ten­dency by young artists of think­ing: “maybe I’m just doing some­thing ill informed and ridicu­lous, and I might as well just become a pro­fes­sional in what­ever field I’m inter­ested in. Maybe I should become a hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist”, or what­ever. The other side is that the artist is per­form­ing roles that are osten­si­bly per­formed bet­ter by pro­fes­sion­als of those dis­ci­plines, like in Rirkrit’s case: the edu­ca­tors do it so much bet­ter than them, so why is he get­ting the credit? And why is what edu­ca­tors are doing not con­sid­ered art? Why should a mediocre edu­ca­tion pro­gram be cel­e­brated as this won­der­ful rela­tional aes­thet­ics piece, when a won­der­ful edu­ca­tion pro­gram that really changes people’s lives can never be con­sid­ered an impor­tant artwork?

So the issue is really, what is the con­tex­tual social ter­ri­tory where this takes place? Where are you stak­ing your claims? And where are you pro­duc­ing crit­i­cal­ity? To sim­ply say that Reg­gio Emilia is a great art­work is com­pletely untrue. That’s not their goal; their goal is to cre­ate bet­ter cit­i­zens for the world, etc. As an artist, what becomes really inter­est­ing is to con­sider this think­ing within the con­text of art mak­ing, the con­text of the role of art in soci­ety. Art, for bet­ter or for worse, con­tin­ues to be this play­ing field that is defined by its capac­ity to rede­fine itself. You can­not say, “This is not art!” because tomor­row it could be, or “It can be art,” because I say it is. 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.

But just to clar­ify: when I say that Reg­gio Emilia is not real art, I don’t think it’s enough to make art with “pre­tend” edu­ca­tion. I don’t think one should jus­tify the use of any sem­blance in edu­ca­tion for the sake of art, as was the case of that children’s activ­ity by Rirkrit I described, unless if you are just meant to be jok­ing or play­ing (which is not very inter­est­ing to begin with). My point is that when you are mak­ing cer­tain claims, or even gen­er­at­ing cer­tain impres­sions about what you are doing, you need to do them in an effec­tive way in order to really affect the world, oth­er­wise your artis­tic inter­ven­tion in the social realm is no dif­fer­ent from mak­ing a paint­ing in the stu­dio. And there is a dif­fer­ence between sym­bolic and actual intervention."



"PH: Why is it that we can be very crit­i­cal of stan­dard art­works that we under­stand the para­me­ters of? We can be very crit­i­cal of this work because we are very famil­iar with for­mal­ism and with abstrac­tion, and there are a slew of the­o­ret­i­cal approaches. When­ever you do an abstract paint­ing that looks exactly like Mon­drian, peo­ple will tell you that your work is not very rel­e­vant because you’re just copy­ing Mon­drian. And yet, you’re com­pletely home free if you do this con­cep­tual project of a school that doesn’t teach any­body and where nobody learns any­thing, but it looks really great in the press release.

HR: So by “abstract edu­ca­tion” you meant projects that use the lan­guage and frame­work of edu­ca­tion, but don’t func­tion as education?

PH: It’s com­pli­cated. Because I don’t want to say that it’s bad to do that. Some­times you just want to do a project that’s about the idea of this or that. You want to do a project that’s about dance; it doesn’t mean that you have to dance. It’s very dif­fer­ent to do a paint­ing about war, than to par­tic­i­pate in a war.

That’s why in my book, Edu­ca­tion for Socially Engaged Art, I tried to address this prob­lem by mak­ing a dis­tinc­tion between what I under­stand as sym­bolic ver­sus actual prac­tice. What I tried to argue in the book is that in art, the strongest, more long­stand­ing tra­di­tion is art as sym­bolic act; art that’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the world. You make an art­work that is a thing on its own, but it addresses the world. Guer­nica is a sym­bolic act. It tells you about the hor­rors of Guer­nica, the mass killings.

In the 60s that starts to change, artists don’t want to do things about the world; they want to do things that are acts in the world. That’s why per­for­mance art emerges. I’m not going to make a the­atre piece where I pre­tend to be x, y or z. I’m going do a real live action where I am Pablo Helguera and I’m talk­ing to you, Helen. And we’re going to have this expe­ri­ence, and this expe­ri­ence can only pos­si­bly exist in this moment in time and never again, any­where else. And that’s what this art­work is about. That’s what Fluxus was about, that’s what John Cage talked about, and that’s what Alan Kaprow’s hap­pen­ings were about; it’s a very Zen idea. Suzanne Lacy’s per­for­mances, for exam­ple, they were about these women at this moment. It might be art his­tory later. It might later become a prod­uct. But the fact of the mat­ter is that what it is at that moment can never be repeated.

So, to me, socially engaged art emerges from that tra­di­tion of the here-and-now. What the “here-and-now” means, in my view, is that the artis­tic act is inex­tri­ca­ble from the time/place con­text, but that it also affects it in a very direct way. The work needs to be under­stood, described, and pos­si­bly eval­u­ated and cri­tiqued in terms of what those actual events were. When­ever you don’t have that infor­ma­tion, which is unfor­tu­nately most of the time, there is no way to know whether it hap­pened or not. Those projects that you know are really cre­at­ing an impact, that they have a pres­ence; it’s almost self-evident. I mean what­ever you want to say about Tania Bruguera’s Immi­grant Move­ment Inter­na­tional, you can go there today and see it. It’s hap­pen­ing right now. She isn’t mak­ing it up.

HR: Can you talk about the ten­sion between use­ful­ness, ambi­gu­ity, and learn­ing out­comes? You men­tion that we eval­u­ate things all the time any­way. How do you eval­u­ate art ped­a­gogy projects?

PH: Cre­at­ing an … [more]
via:ablerism  2015  art  education  helenreed  pablohelguera  socialpracticeart  pedagogy  reggioemilia  informal  accountability  relationships  arteducation  artschools  learning  howwelearn  teaching  howweteach  institutions  revolution  resistance  stabilization  socialengagement  conversation  critique  criticism  alternative  altgdp  museums  museumeducation  schoolofpanamericanunrest  usefulness  ambiguity  outcomes  evaluation  happenings  performance  performanceart  fluxus  hereandnow  taniabruguera  johncage  suzannelacy  context  socialchange  experience  everyday  openengagement  shannonjackson  aesthetics  buckminsterfuller  power  artschool 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Borrow a kid
"This weekend we visited the Umlauf Sculpture Garden here in Austin. Towards the end of our visit, I spent at least half an hour at the very edge of the garden with my back to the beautiful art and scenery, watching the cars whiz by on Robert E. Lee Road.

Going to an art museum with a two-year-old will make you rethink what’s interesting and what’s art. (After all, what are cars but fast, colorful, kinetic sculptures?) This, of course, should be the point of museums: to make us look closer at our everyday life as a source of art and wonder."



"Borrow a kid. Spend some time trying to see through their eyes. You will discover new things."
austinkleon  children  kids  2015  noticing  looking  seeing  art  museums  comments  discovery  exploration  everyday  perspective  sistercorita  coritakent 
february 2015 by robertogreco
An Artist in Every Library — Medium
"A large-scale residency program placing an artist in every library, archive and museum would rejuvenate institutions and promote critical engagement with information."



"Zach Lieberman has famously said that ‘art practice is the R&D lab for humanity’. In an age where many of our most important challenges lie in our relationship with information, it’s vitally important for artists to be engaging at this intersection. Indeed, it is happening: Deep Lab, a congress of artists and researchers recently held at Carnegie Mellon offers a good survey for the variety of methods, materials an approaches that are being used by artist to engage with information issues."



"First, two ground rules:

The Artists is not cheap labor. Some librarians reading this post might be thinking: this is an excellent idea! We need poster making / data visualization/ <insert useful task here>. We can get an artist to do it! This is not how it works. To get full benefit from these engagements, the work done must be artist-driven and free from constraints.

The Library is not a free studio. While artists should be encouraged to bring projects and ideas into the residency, it’s important that the work done is not just in the institution, but with the institution. Artists should be expected to collaborate with staff, and to immerse themselves in the communities and expertise of the host organization.

The focus here is on symbiosis, on the creation of a relationship where the artist and the institution, along with the community at large, benefit. It is not about bringing art into libraries, but art making, and all of the messiness and rigor and criticality and questioning that comes with it."
art  residencies  libraries  museums  2015  zachlieberman  collections  archives  jerthorp  glvo 
january 2015 by robertogreco
The Smithsonian's Cooper Hewitt: Finally, the Museum of the Future Is Here - The Atlantic
"When I visited, I talked to the Labs team in their office and then toured the then not-quite-finished mansion. We talked about the museum first—the physical one we were in. Unlike leaders of other New York museums, who are investing in events, Chan (and the Cooper Hewitt generally) believe the heart of the museum is in its collection and its visitors. In other words: its stuff and its people.

“They don’t want to have the burden of this preservation forever,” he said of the increasingly event-focused Museum of Modern Art, 40 blocks south. “The beauty here is: We’re the Smithsonian. We don’t have a choice. No matter what other staff in this building might say, we don’t have a choice but to keep all this stuff forever.”

The museum will forever be committed to its stuff. But it has to have a more enlivening presence, he believes, than placards and shelves. Cope held up his smartphone at one point and pointed at it."



"Notice the trick the Labs team has completed. The API seems to be first for users and developers. It lets them play around with the collection, see what’s there. As Cope told me, “the API is there to develop multiple interfaces. That’s the whole point of an API—you let go of control around how people interpret data and give them what they ask for, and then have the confidence they’ll find a way to organize it that makes sense for them.” But who is doing the most work around the collection—the most organizing, the most-sensemaking? It’s the museum itself.

“When we re-open, the building will be the single largest consumer of the API,” said Chan.

In other words, the museum made a piece of infrastructure for the public. But the museum will benefit in the long term, because the infrastructure will permit them to plan for the near future.

And the museum will also be, of course, the single largest beneficiary of outsider improvements to the API. It already talks to other APIs on the web. Ray Eames’s page, for instance, encourages users to tag their Instagrams and Flickr photos with a certain code. When they do, Cooper Hewitt’s API will automatically sniff it out and link that image back to its own person file for Eames. Thus, the Cooper Hewitt’s online presence grows even richer.

The Cooper Hewitt isn’t the only museum in the world with an API. The Powerhouse has one, and many art museums have uploaded high-quality images of their collections. But the power of the Cooper Hewitt’s digital interface is unprecedented. There’s a command that asks for colors as defined by the Crayola crayon palette. Another asks if the snack bar is open. A third mimics the speech of one of the Labs members. It’s a fun piece of software, and it makes a point about the scope of the museum’s vision. If design is in everything, the API says, then the museum’s collection includes every facet of the museum itself. "



"Even if things do work, the model turns museum websites into museums themselves, catalogs of once-snazzy apps built for special occasions before being discarded forever. Exhibits go away, but those apps never do. A museum’s website—the primary face of the museum to the world—winds up looking like a closet of old prom dresses.

When Bill Moggridge became the Cooper Hewitt’s director in 2010, he wanted the museum to make its digital infrastructure more thoughtfully. Moggridge, it should be noted, is a legend. He helped design the first laptop computer. He founded the world-famous firm IDEO. And he invented the term “interaction design.” Moggridge died in 2012, not living to see the renovation project he began.

Moggridge created Chan’s position and hired him for it. And while Chan could have kept outsourcing projects to big outside firms, he instead lobbied for funding and hire a staff. The museum’s digital work was too important. It had to have in-house experts. “There's a lovely phrase we use a lot,” Cope said. “The guy who invented the Perl programming language talked about Perl as being there to make easy things simple and hard things possible.”

“That’s how we try to think about this. Not everyone’s gonna understand what we’ve built or the potential of what we’ve built right away. It’s gonna take some of the curators longer than others to figure it out. But the minute they get it, they should be able to turn around and be like, 'What if…? Can we do…?'—and if it’s easy, it should be live in 15 minutes.”"



"The team has accomplished so much largely by accepting imperfection. When the Labs launched the API, it was missing a lot of information. Cope called the quality of its metadata at launch “incredibly spotty,” before Chan clarified, “it’s terrible.”

But that was on purpose. Better to put the museum’s grand imperfection and incompleteness out in the world and let people make of it what they will, the team decided, then wait for it to be perfect. “It was a tactical play to say, don’t obsess about that stuff, because its what people do with it that matters,” said Chan.

“We could spend the next 50 years trying to make that data perfect and it still would not ever be perfect. There was 70 years of collecting that had different documenting standards. Museums only started collecting policies in the eighties and nineties. How can you retrospectively fix everything? It just can’t be done. So let’s move on and figure out what we want to do with it,” he said.

This attitude—popularized by Steve Jobs with the phrase, “Real artists ship”—extends to how the team thinks through media production, too. “I can’t sit on a video for six months, making these minute edits. I have to pitch it out door, so we can say: This interview got this many views, this thing got this many views, let’s keep going with this,” said Shelly.

The Labs’s work, as a whole, is an investment in a particular idea of cultural democracy. It’s a view where imperfect speech can always—and will always, and should always—be augmented by further speech. It trusts in the discourse over the perfection of the original work."



"And perhaps already, the Labs team believes, that digital information will be inextricable from the physical object. The Cooper Hewitt has long collected napkin sketches of famous logos and inventions. If it wants to collect the rough thoughts of today, it will have to work fast, because napkins last longer in files than sketch files do on iPads.

“To collect a Nest absent of any data, what does that tell you?,” asked Cope.“It tells you it’s a beautiful piece of industrial design. Well, maybe the museum should start thinking about some way of keeping that data alongside the object, and maybe it doesn’t need to be privileged in the way the object is.”"
robinsonmeyer  2015  cooper-hewitt  museums  collections  archives  internet  web  sebchan  aaronstraupcope  billmoggridge  design  interaction  api  data  digital  online  objects  things  applications  software  unfinished  imperfection  democracy  culture  culturaldemocracy  infrastructure  visitors  events 
january 2015 by robertogreco
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