This new museum doesn’t want Instagram or crowds. Does that make it elitist?
One of the benefits of modern technology is the ability to discover countless pieces of art with total ease. A few minutes of scrolling through instagram, if you follow the right people, will introduce you to new visual styles, images of distant places, stunning animations, and maybe a few good memes to mix it up. Internet art sites have become digital museums and in a way democratized art consumption, allowing those unable to view the art in person to access it from anywhere they have access to the internet. However by viewing art this way we have also set it up for rapid consumption. At most we spend a few seconds with each image, and that behavior has spilled over to how we consume art in person. In the article about the Glenstone Philip Kennicott sums this situation up well saying “The problem isn’t just crowds, or noise or distraction; it is the annihilation of one of the essential components for viewing art, which is extended individual contemplation.” With the rapid rate at which we consume information on the internet, and the way that has influenced our behaviors in physical spaces we no longer get the benefits that come from spending an extended period of time in contemplation.
I think it is important that experiencing art is slowed down, and limiting crowd sizes could definitely allow for a more pleasant viewing situation. But as museums limit crowds it is imperative they don’t also limit their audience, removing art from those who aren’t privileged enough to wait in long lines, travel distances, afford expensive admissions, etc. The rapid sharing of art has opened it up to people who may have never had access to it before. Perhaps instead of trying to just limit the number of people in museums, or ban cameras or selfie sticks so we can control how people interact the art, we can find ways to use technology and this culture of posting to once again create that extended period of contemplation.
When I create artwork my first impulse is to always hide the methods used to create it; only showing a well polished finished piece so people can experience that without the distraction of the process. Eliasson challenges this idea with his Weather Project where viewers bask in the artificial sunlight, but are also reminded of the construction of the moment by the presence of wires and mechanical mechanisms. I like the idea that the presence of the wires force people to evaluate the situation more instead of just being lost in the romantic sunset. Letting the viewer in on some of your process can create tension and potentially a more meaningful interaction with the artwork.
If there was a purgatory I imagine this is what it would be like. Sitting around in a solemn circle, watching life be described in short bursts that capture everything from the humorous to the depressing.
I love the way Turrell uses light to alter our perception of a space and to manipulate how we interact with it. He is creating an alternate reality right in front of us. We tend to react based on what we perceive but through this work he challenges us to think carefully about that since what we are perceiving is not always the true reality.
Eternity is constant change. I think Miyajima does an incredible job of capturing our obsession with counting and quantifying time, which ultimately is not something we can have control over. Time is in a constant state of change that we must embrace. Despite the ways our perception of it can change it is always steadily moving forward.
I think interactions that engage multiple senses are extremely compelling. Dupuy’s piece uses the viewers own heartbeat to manipulate the artwork creating what I imagine would be a very eerie feeling as you hear your own heartbeat and see a visual representation in the floating dust. When the art requires participation in blurs the lines between the artist and audience. Although Dupuy created the artwork it would not really exist without the interaction of the audience members.
When I first studied photography I was fascinated by Muybridges work and the way he captured movement as collections of static images. He changed the way people viewed simple actions by freezing them in time. Perhaps this relates to the desire to slow down the museum experience and slow down the way we consume artwork. By reducing all the chaotic movement to a few static frames we’re able to see all the tiny details we missed in the chaos.