Materials and Techniques: Institutions of Art

Materials and Techniques (Institutions of Art) 8-3-2004

MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES Annie Coombes. “In the museum the visitor is not called upon to identify with the State per se, but with its highest values. The visitor inherits this spiritual wealth but only on the condition that he or she lay claim to it in the museum, thus the museum is the site of a symbolic transaction between the visitor and. the State'Hence the museum’s hegemonic function, the crucial role it can play in the experience of citizenship… (C. Duncan & A. Wallach, ‘The Universal Survey Museum’, Art History Vo13, No.4.) “…modern art museums share a common ideological ground with modern advertising. Each assumes as audience an individual with little or no community identity who seeks fulfilment primarily in private, personal life. The ideal viewer implied by both modern art museums and advertising is thus the ideal individual as shaped by modern market society.” (C. Duncan, unpublished paper 1986) The German work ‘museal’ (museum like) has unpleasant overtones. It describes objects to which the observer no longer has a vital relationship and which are in the process of dying. They owe their preservation more to historical respect than to the needs of the present. Museum and musoleum are connected by more than phonetic associations. Museums are the family sepulchres of works of art. (Theodor Adorno, ‘Valery Proust Museum’ in Prisms, London, 1967) “So as we walk on guided tours through old buildings to inspect relics i museums, we are contemplating objects transformed into monuments – they commemorate persons, social classes, events epochs, styles, ideas… the experience has been given extra significance by its position on a ceremonial agenda and as part of the cult of the authentic, the affirmations we make when we pay respect to the relics of the past may Stay with us. None of the meanings we give these relics, however, were meanings the relics had when they were ‘alive’. (D. Horne, The Great Museum, Pluto, 1984) How do museums influence visitors: selecting things to display Exhibition selection Labelling A stamp of approval and an implied value. Hegemonic: Adopting values through the way organisations promote ideas we adopt as normal. An idea of power but a voluntary buying into. Encourage certain values but not others.

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