Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘The Tragedy Of The Monet In The Basement’

We’ve got a lot of complexes (or do we?), including the ‘museum industrial complex,’ which is probably as much a place for starving art students, security guards, curators, restorers, buyers etc., comparatively better-off docents and volunteers, legislative pork products, wealthy donors and foundation members, aficionados, and perhaps a few artists, usually after they’re dead a little while.


‘In 2008 Eli and Edythe Broad, the most important art patrons in Los Angeles, shocked locals by deciding not to give their 2,000-piece contemporary art collection to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — even though they’d donated $60 million for the museum’s new contemporary art gallery. Instead, they’re building their own museum in downtown L.A., which is scheduled to open September 20.’

What duty do museums owe the public, and who’s trying to define the public?

As previously posted:

James Panero’s original piece ‘It’s Time To Free N.Y. Museums‘ at the NY Daily News.

Panero offers some course-correcting criticism for New York’s public museums, which may be depending too much upon ticket revenue, operating more like businesses.

You can get it in if you pay a penny, but they can pressure you to pay the full $25, mainly to get the higher amount from foreign tourists.

‘Thomas P. Campbell, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has issued an “important message” responding to the criticism I and others have raised over the ticketing policies at his and other public-private institutions in New York City. The Director’s affable but ultimately defensive message tells me the Met has heard the criticism but hasn’t listened to it.’

Don’t forget the little people, and your core mission:

‘But big business can be bad business at a non-profit designed to serve the public good. The ever-increasing demands of what I call the museum-industrial complex was the topic of my essay in The New Criterion a year ago, titled “What’s a Museum?”

That piece here.

Some people claiming to speak for the arts, or all artists, or all of the public who would benefit from the arts, are quite obviously speaking for themselves, their own interests, and/or ideas that will never speak for all artists nor all of the public (not necessarily the folks above.

In the worst cases, they can be speaking for ideas which seek to deploy the arts as propaganda.

Usually, though, after the humor dies down, such thinking tends to lead to more foundations, arts councils and programs, not necessarily better art:

‘As a member of our creative caste, Ms Delaney wants to capture the buzz and thrum of city life. She wants to inspire “recognition” and, above all, “empathy.” It’s just that she’d prefer not to empathise too much with those non-creative people. Say, by working for a living and paying her own bills’

Related On This Site: When poetry went into the universities: Repost-From Poemshape: ‘Let Poetry Die’

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily argues the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities:Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion (was he most after freeing art from a few thousand years of Christianity, monarchy and aristocracy…something deeper?), at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful

Hopefully it won’t go this far:  From Big Hollywood: ‘The National Endowment For The Art Of Persuasion?’

From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?From 2 Blowhards-We Need The Arts: A Sob Story

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