A new generation of museum curators and directors is pushing photography to unprecedented heights – and audiences seem to love it.
On a recent wintry afternoon, Jeff Rosenheim, the newly appointed head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s photography department, stopped in at its special exhibition galleries, reports today’s New York times. “He was checking on the installation of a new acquisition: a 61-minute video called “Street,” by the British-born artist James Nares.
“As brilliantly colored images splashed across a 16-foot-long screen, teams of art handlers and curators were placing photographs, drawings, sculptures and paintings in adjacent galleries. “This is exactly what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Rosenheim said, “to show photography in the context of many different kinds of art.” Continue reading “Photography now booming in museums”
The economic recession has had one weirdly positive effect on the art world: democratization. Increasingly, museums and symphonies find that they can no longer get by on the generosity (or lack thereof) to an elite minority. Large cultural institutions need new audiences to justify their existence and to qualify for public dollars. Venues that once couldn’t care less about attendance now anxiously await busloads of kiddies and seniors. “Education” and “outreach” programs have exploded in recent years, with many places literally giving away tickets to boost admissions. Aside from benefitting “social practice” artists who have always occupied the fringes of art world, the is move to larger and more democratic approaches to audience has favored genres that are more friendly to the public.
Enter performance art. In the old days, performance was a marginal affair because it was edgy and conceptual––but also ephemeral. Continue reading “Performance and the new cultural democracy”