Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 18 Whither Museums?

Some people don't like the Art Museum, but we like the art museum. The mission of art museums is to collect, contextualize and conserve. But they run necessarily behind now. Every artist is building upon, even by rejecting, and rebelling against, past art. Many moldy masters were doing exactly that in their time. Actually the Portland Art Museum does a good job at explaining this in the Masonic Temple Building, where you can trace 130 years of art by walking from the lower floors to the top. Another lesson of museums is that artists have patrons, AKA customers, who needed a portrait, pre-photography, or creative works inspiring the crown, even in the age of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome or China. Same for the pre-Columbian Gods or African spirits, they needed art.

Today's lecture explores the role of museums, previously private or even imperial collections, now reinventing themselves. What is their place when people are interconnected in milliseconds to one another, to share and evolve culture? Personally I believe that there is a value to walking around art in real life. But we now have the screen (with pretty poor color and dynamic range capability, monoscopic, so far), connected to the world Internet of culture today.

Today's speaker, Iwona Blazwick, director of the London Whitechapel Art Gallery knows it. She has made a lively place of museum. Check the blurb.

Hear it at the Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park 2PM $12, $5 members.