Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: John Camp on August 20, 2012, 10:23:33 am

Title: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: John Camp on August 20, 2012, 10:23:33 am
The Mona Lisa is hardly worth visiting anymore, both because of the security and because of the crowds.
Another tragedy of the same sort can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Van Gogh's "Starry Night," one of the great paintings of the 19th Century, is deliberately hung at shoulder level so that people can get photographs of it -- and not just photographs of the painting, but photographs of themselves WITH the painting. So they stand next to it, and give their cell phones to friends, who are not familiar with those cell phones, so it takes a while to make each photo as people fumble with unfamiliar equipment; the crowd is sometimes so intense that they are physically jostling each other around the painting. I'm amazed that no damage has yet been done to the painting. Really looking at it is impossible; a joke.

Art museums are now considered destination amusement parks, where you go to prove you got culture. Get your picture with Mickey, get your picture with Van Gogh, it's all the same. The Neue Museum in New York, which specializes in early 20th Century Austrian art (Schiele and Klimt), does not allow children under 12, and children under 16 must be accompanied by adults. It's a pleasure to visit. It's not the absence of children per se, that's critical, I don't think, it's the attitude -- this place is not an amusement park. When children are allowed to behave like children, as in the Modern, the adults do, too. Getting rid of children at museums is not the answer, but I think it should be made clear to them -- and to their supervisors, whether parents or teachers -- that if they start misbehaving, they'll be out on the street. In museums, children should be required to act somewhat like adults. They can do that, because I've seen it done; they're not there to see Mickey. If you go to the great Austrian museums, you see children...and they're just fine.

I do think cameras are at the center of this problem. I hate to ban them anywhere, but I really had enough of them in major museums. I think they should be banned, or their use should only be allowed with a permit.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: theguywitha645d on August 20, 2012, 10:32:43 am
Why ban cameras? They do not destroy the artwork.

Museums are amusement parks. We go there for our amusement. Almost literally.

You don't like it, don't go. But I fail to see why other people have to behave the way you want them to.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Kirk Gittings on August 20, 2012, 10:34:02 am
Picture taking used to be banned at most museums, but cell phone cameras broke the camels back. No one has the staff or energy to make that stick anymore.

I frankly haven't seen it as a real problem personally-sometimes a slight annoyance. But any event that is public has annoying people doing annoying things-it comes with the species.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: ripgriffith on August 20, 2012, 01:45:30 pm
Why ban cameras? They do not destroy the artwork.

Museums are amusement parks. We go there for our amusement. Almost literally.

You don't like it, don't go. But I fail to see why other people have to behave the way you want them to.
It seems that what you mean to say is, "I fail to see why other people have to behave."

There is, in most civilized societies, something call "a social contract" governing how people behave one with another. In the events described by Mark, we clearly see the erosion of this contract, sadly championed by people with your mindset.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: theguywitha645d on August 20, 2012, 01:54:27 pm
It seems that what you mean to say is, "I fail to see why other people have to behave."

There is, in most civilized societies, something call "a social contract" governing how people behave one with another. In the events described by Mark, we clearly see the erosion of this contract, sadly championed by people with your mindset.

What is wrong with people taking photographs? Is photographing anti-social behavior now? Are children being bored and acting as they always have anti-social behavior?

The problem with your hypothesis is that the social contract evolves. It seems the people with your mindset use this to try to control others for your own purpose rather than embracing the current social contract nor understanding that the contract is not universal. 
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on August 20, 2012, 02:02:13 pm
What is wrong with people taking photographs? Is photographing anti-social behavior now? Are children being bored and acting as they always have anti-social behavior?

Nothing; no; when uncontrolled by adults, very possibly, and in museums, definitely.

Jeremy
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: michael on August 20, 2012, 02:26:42 pm
There may be new evidence regarding the negative effects of flash on sensitive art work. I used to do conservation recording at a museum, and the experts there had differing opinions, so let's leave that part in abeyance.

My wife, originally an Art Historian by profession, ran the Childrens Education programs at a major national art gallery, so I am quite familiar, through extensive experience, with what constitutes appropriate behavour by both children and adults in a museum or gallery.

Sorry, I disagree with both of your premises. Even if flash has no negative effect on art, it certainly does on viewers. It's annoying and distracting. Similarly kids freely running around as described is not appropriate behavour in that environment.

If ankle biters and flash poppers in a gallery don't bother you, well that tells us something, doesn't it? As for me, I prefer my experience in an art gallery to be one of calm, quiet and contemplation.

BTW, for this reason I never go to so-called "blockbuster" shows such as the current Picasso exhibit at th AGO. Too many people, no time to really "see". I'd rather go to Disneyworld. (Actually, no I wouldn't. I'd rather have my eyeballs pierced with hot needles than be forced to go to Disneyworld).

Michael
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Colorado David on August 20, 2012, 03:00:54 pm
My parents took me to art galleries and the symphony when I was a child.  It was made abundantly clear just how I was to behave.  My parents' willingness to help me experience these things had a hand in making me the person I am today. Children are neither miniature adults nor little urchins.  They are sponges soaking up everything they can to develop into something with a huge potential. I don't think children should be excluded from these experiences.  Their parents should be held responsible for the behavior of children.  Adults who have no discipline is another story.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: David Watson on August 20, 2012, 04:25:25 pm
My parents took me to art galleries and the symphony when I was a child.  It was made abundantly clear just how I was to behave.  My parents' willingness to help me experience these things had a hand in making me the person I am today. Children are neither miniature adults nor little urchins.  They are sponges soaking up everything they can to develop into something with a huge potential. I don't think children should be excluded from these experiences.  Their parents should be held responsible for the behavior of children.  Adults who have no discipline is another story.

+1
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: LesPalenik on August 20, 2012, 04:52:16 pm
Quote
Things had changed again on a subsequent trip to Paris. A sheet of glass was placed in front of the painting.  At that point, some of the intimacy was lost. Particularly since (as far as I could tell)  the glass that was used did not have anti-reflecting coatings.  
Some years later, things had gotten much worse: The Mona Lisa was placed behind a horrendous piece of yellow glass.  I call it horrendous, because it totally ruins the experience of seeing it. It makes it impossible to discern the original color, the original texture and many of the subtleties of this amazing piece.

Quote
If museums insist on allowing photography, I think it should be restricted.

Quote
If people get a kick out of have a photo with one of these paintings, let them have their fun.

I'm all for people having fun, but school children (and even some old farts) playing trophy hunting games in museums ruin it for other visitors.

If any museum curators are listening, take heed.  As already reported, there is a great market for the trophy hunters. The museums could add new rooms and a profitable cost centers to their facilities - well lit photography room with twenty best artifacts in their museums. Of course, the artifacts would be copies, in plain view and unprotected by any glass, but the final picture would be still much better than trying to capture well protected and camouflaged picture as Mona Lisa painting described in Mark's essay. For a small fee, the admirers of great art could photograph all those fine pieces to their heart content and even take a pictures of themselves and their friends underneath the treasured items.

As a side note, I shudder to think what's happening to Yasser Arafat and Liberace sculptures in Madame Tussaud Wax museum. Although one single iphone flash won't melt a statue, the cumulative effect could inflict devastating damage to the historic masterpieces.  But looking at the bright side, one of those guys may be spared too many camera flashes.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: harryfenton on August 20, 2012, 05:05:31 pm
I agree with Mark that using flash photography in Art Galleries is likely to be very detrimental to the Paintings and it baffles me as to why the galleries allow it it at all. A decent modern camera doesn't need it anyway. I started off in Galleries using my Nikon D3, but find it so heavy and obtrusive to carry round that I now exclusively use my Fuji X100. As long as I can get near enough to the painting the image IQ is as good, if not better tha the D3. It's not an easy job though at the best of times and needs a lot of setting up, plus the big problem when the work is behind glass. Working at extreme settings precludes the use of polaroids and even with them the results are not good. I must admit that at this point I often give up. Another great obstacle is the Gallery lighting. The best place I've been to, so far, for lighting is the Dulwich Gallery where the lighting is superb. On the Fuji I use F2.8 at 1/125 ( My hands are not too steady! ) On auto ISO this needs 3200 to get enough light in. In the odd case where this was not enough I switch to Manual ISO at 3200 and E.C + 1 EV. There can be a small amount of noise in dark areas, but this can be fairly well controlled with Topaz. In case you are wondering, it's my Nikon camera that's professional, not me.
           The bottom line is that I enjoy the paintings in the Gallery, and can then enjoy them again in the comfort of my home, and even see things later that I missed in the Gallery, especially if I enlarge the image.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: lensfactory on August 20, 2012, 05:44:04 pm
Hypocritical coming from a photographer.
Hypocritical, because as photographers, we would surely be upset if we were at a scenic oceanside cliff, and a security guard told us that "You can't take a picture, because the flash will damage the foliage, and it also disrupts the calm environment we would like here...."

Flash photography does NOT harm artworks. This is a MYTH. Any serious fact checking will show this...but for starters I will say go here > http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/07/does-flash-photography-really-damage-art-the-persistence-of-a-myth/

Art is for everyone....kids, and shutterbugs included. Kids can misbehave and not act 'appropriately' in many environments. What is so auspicious a place as a gallery that it should be different? Sure...kids should behave appropriately, but you can hardly mandate it.
People no more or less 'appreciated' artworks without cameras as they do now. The art gallery has simply become what it always was...a social space. It has evolved as a social space as technology has evolved. I could counter that art doesn't belong AT ALL in the elitist confines of a 'gallery' ..but that's another argument.(It's sort of like the Rockn'roll Hall of Fame....who are these 'arbiters of taste' that decides what is good and bad rockn'roll. And how truly UN rockn'roll is that anyway)
Like any public environment, for the sake of being courteous, they should put signs to please turn off the flash. But no camera?
They do this down at the AGO. I was taking a photo of my dad against a backdrop of a window and there weren't ANY artworks in the frame, yet a security gaurd came up and told me top stop. I asked why. He simply said that was the rules. We had some discussion, and from what I gleaned the managers of the gallery decided it was just easier to throw the baby out with the bathwater and not allow photography of any kind.
Of course I was shooting natural light, as yes, a flash is a bit discourteous to other viewers just as it would be in a theatre.
The argument about 'copyright' the galleries may have on the image is also nonsense as well. Without a tripod, you can't get any better quality than you could get downloading the freely available image of any artwork there from the web.

What a snobbish ,misinformed ,inaccurate article. Who took the photos of the people in the galleries btw... Did Mark get them from a tourist?

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: tom b on August 20, 2012, 05:45:44 pm
Museums are expensive places to run. They have limited ways of making money and obtaining artworks. There is admission prices, selling food and beverages, charity work and bequeathments. The other major way is by selling books, posters, coffee mugs etc. The main reason photography is banned is that it cuts in on those profits.

The latest way to make money is the audio tour. People stand in a huddle around the most popular works listening to long and detailed descriptions of the artwork. Such is life…

Cheers,

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: lensfactory on August 20, 2012, 05:48:41 pm
There was NEVER any evidence. Just something that was talked into a truth.
Flash photography does NOT harm artworks. This is a MYTH. Any serious fact checking will show this...but for starters I will say go here > http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/07/does-flash-photography-really-damage-art-the-persistence-of-a-myth/
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: LesPalenik on August 20, 2012, 06:08:05 pm
Quote
People no more or less 'appreciated' artworks without cameras as they do now. The art gallery has simply become what it always was...a social space.

Well, fortunately there are some places that encourage photograph taking. Earlier this year, I visited a mining museum in UNESCO designated town of Banska Stiavnica  in Slovakia, and in addition to many old mining artifacts, at the end of the tour they point you to a small vertical shaft with a picture of "Full Moon". I guess, one of the miners painted it to inject some cheerful spirit into the otherwise gloomy and dark work place.

However, I wasn't able to photograph that painting. They were just too many kids taking picture of miner's backside.
 
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: AFairley on August 20, 2012, 06:17:56 pm
Reading some of the comments, I have to wonder if some of the posters have even ever been to an art museum.  Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 20, 2012, 07:17:16 pm
Hypocritical coming from a photographer....

... Without a tripod, you can't get any better quality than you could get downloading the freely available image of any artwork there from the web...

Don't you just love it when people contradict themselves in the very same post? You just answered why photography in museums does not make sense.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: trichardlin on August 20, 2012, 07:56:45 pm
> Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.

Good analogy.  People really should be sensitive to others.  

That said, I also know museums, like any places with a lot of people, happen to be a great place for photography.  As long as people are discreet and respectful, I don't see a problem with photography in museums.  When I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, I was surprised that photography was allowed.  I even took a picture of the guard without issues.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: lensfactory on August 20, 2012, 08:22:57 pm
Don't you just love it when people contradict themselves in the very same post? You just answered why photography in museums does not make sense.

Well,obviously, I am speaking of that you are taking photos of the space,as well as the artworks. Your wife and kids in front of the Mona Lisa, an interesting composition photographing a staircase etc. etc.
The point is that the two main arguments,damaging artworks and copyright or artworks, don't hold up.

I would love to shoot the architecture within the art gallery of Ontario,hand held without a flash...but the security guards will not allow it.
Saying that they don't allow cameras because people don't turn the flashes off, (for the only tenable reason:that it may be an annoyance to other viewers) is like saying you shouldn't wear running shoes because running is not permitted.
They could easily have the security guards educate people where in the settings thier flash could be turned off. Simple.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: James R on August 20, 2012, 08:31:28 pm
> Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.

Good analogy.  People really should be sensitive to others.  

That said, I also know museums, like any places with a lot of people, happen to be a great place for photography.  As long as people are discreet and respectful, I don't see a problem with photography in museums.  When I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, I was surprised that photography was allowed.  I even took a picture of the guard without issues.

Pictures of another person's art bores me, unless it has a creative aspect to it, such as the photos you posted. 
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petermfiore on August 20, 2012, 08:57:26 pm
I am artist and the ability to photograph at a museum is an invaluable tool. I am able to see up close how the artist crafted his work. No flash and handheld. Shot using a Panasonic GX-1 and 20mm 1.7
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kwalsh on August 20, 2012, 09:04:46 pm
So ignoring the "flash damages art" red herring that is actually only true for a very, very small selection of art work Mark is of course onto something about all the flashes and AF lights and more importantly guest behavior destroying the experience of the art.  This is of course true of more than just art museums.  It is about the people and their behavior more than about the cameras themselves.  The cameras are just a particular symptom and banning them or not is unlikely to fix the larger issues.

I'll extend the classical concert analogy.  If I go to a "pops" concert I expect noise, the sound of coolers opening, kids running around, and badly amplified music.  If I go to the concert hall I expect a well behaved audience that knows how to stay quiet.  

Why do we have "pops" concerts?  Because orchestras go out of business without them.  There is more than one group of people looking to access music and there is more than one way to experience it.  An orchestra can market to both and has to in order to remain solvent.

This leaves art museums in a dilemma.  For an original piece of art you really can't market it to more than one group.  Sure, there are exceptions with traveling shows and rotating collections, but for the hyperbolic examples Mark chose (Mona Lisa, Starry Night) there really isn't going to be more than one choice.  And for a museum such pieces are going to have to be presented to the least common denominator for simple economic reasons.  These iconic (and probably over-rated) pieces are the draw that allow the museum to survive and host the rest of their collection.

Consider National Parks.  Yosemite Valley is an unmitigated disaster destroyed by its own popularity.  I never go, it just isn't worth it.  On the other hand, it is a publicly funded resource as are the rest of the parks.  Allowing easy access, to the point of "ruining" it in some people's opinion (mine) also allows a much larger population (most taxpayers) to gain an appreciation for our Parks so that they continue and makes sure that not just Yosemite but a whole slew of other less visited places do not suffer the fate of the Hetch Hetchy valley.  They don't appreciate them the same way they do, but I won't get to appreciate any other places without giving them a place for their own experience on terms different than mine.

So what is a museum to do?  What is a museum patron to do?  I don't have an easy answer, but I don't think Mark's "ban photography" will really have the impact he desires.  He's missing the forest for the trees here.  The real question is how to fund museums and structure them so that more than one type of visitor can enjoy them.  Right now in most cases this is only done by visiting completely different museums, but perhaps single museums could find a structure to support both.  Climbing a high horse and declaiming "my way or the highway" is unfortunately not economically viable.

I will say, however, I see a lot of behavior in such places that is just not acceptable by any metric.  Gentle education by docents would be the right approach, just as the NP Rangers take a very public and prominent role in shaping visitor behavior.

Ken
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: daws on August 21, 2012, 01:51:51 am
I'd rather go to Disneyworld. (Actually, no I wouldn't. I'd rather have my eyeballs pierced with hot needles than be forced to go to Disneyworld).

Even those who'd rather go to Disneyworld don't want to go to Disneyworld: Disney fan forums are increasingly filled with complaints about customers at both the California and Florida Disney theme parks who ruin dark rides and stage shows with the same behavior Mark reported -- pushing, shoving, blinding others with flash photography. The latest rage is iPads held above heads to record the very scene that the iPad blocks the viewers behind them from seeing. Incredible.

Equally incredible was the number of participants in the opening night Olympic Parade of Athletes who marched around the stadium grinning and waving but with their eyes focused on their LCDs.

 ???

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 21, 2012, 03:01:57 am
I am artist and the ability to photograph at a museum is an invaluable tool.
The high res images on google art project and the louvre site (among other places) are useful too. And I often take close focus binoculars to galleries so that I can look at brush strokes etc without leaving my nose print on the painting.

Flash photography is often distracting and there may be a case for selective bans. But there is a quite a lot of baby that would be thrown out with the bathwater if there were to be a ban on all photography in all museums.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 21, 2012, 03:07:26 am
Consider National Parks.  Yosemite Valley is an unmitigated disaster destroyed by its own popularity.
The last time I went, half an hour's walk was more than enough to get to somewhere quiet and beautiful. But I agree with everything else in your post. Museums can't just be for a self-selected elite. And people can be taught to behave appropriately and respect the rights of others.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on August 21, 2012, 05:56:07 am
The bottom line is that I enjoy the paintings in the Gallery, and can then enjoy them again in the comfort of my home, and even see things later that I missed in the Gallery, especially if I enlarge the image.

Absolutely! This is why I always feel so disappointed whenever an art gallery forbids all photography. I can understand a prohibition on the use of flash, because that can disturb other viewers. I can understand a prohibition on tripods, because they can get in the way of other patrons, possibly even tripping them up and causing an injury. I can understand the annoyance to other patrons, of people standing in front of paintings to have their photo taken in order to demonstrate that they were there.

So here's the solution for all galleries.

(1) Flash photography and tripods not allowed under any circumstances.

(2) Inconsiderate behaviour such as obstructing the paintings in order to have one's photo taken in front of them, is not allowed.

Problem solved!

I was surprised a few years ago when visiting Russia for the first time, that I was allowed to take photos (without flash) of any of the very famous paintings in places like the Hermitage and the Russian Museum in St Petersburg. All I had to do was pay an additional small fee for the privilege. I thought that was a very civilised approach.

Occasionally when I wanted to photograph a particular painting, there was someone standing right in front of it, inspecting the brush strokes. Not a major problem. He/she would soon move on. A greater problem sometimes was the reflected light from the glossy and shiny oil in certain parts of a painting. In order to avoid them, one would sometimes have to photograph the painting at an angle, which later would involve the use of Free Transform and Distort in Photoshop in order to correct the perspective.

Attached is such a painting. If I hadn't been able to photograph this painting I would probably have forgotten its name and the name of the painter, and would not later have searched on the internet for the wonderful story of Phryne, the subject of this painting.

To cut a long story short, Phryne was a beautiful model who lived during the times of ancient Greece. She had a tendency to flaunt her beauty at religious festivals. When she was eventually accused of profanity towards the Gods, she was in very serious trouble, but fortunately her lover was a lawyer. As the trial proceeded, in front of a group of elderly, all-male judges, it seemed clear to her defense lawyer that all was not going well. The verdict could be disastrous for his client/lover. So in a desperate attempt and 'last resort measure' to save the day, he brought Phryne directly in front of the judges, just a few feet away (although I can't be sure about this because I wasn't there), and tore open her robe to reveal her beautiful breasts, whilst simultaneously imploring the judges to consider how someone possessing such beauty could ever be guilty of profaning the Gods.

The judges immediately came to their senses and acquitted Phryne of any religious sacrilege.

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 21, 2012, 06:32:25 am
Here's a suggestion for Mark Dubovoy - become the curator of a museum and ban photography. See how well your ban works and what it does for the satisfaction of those that walk through the doors and how those numbers either increase or decrease.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that Mark Dubovoy is the Ken Rockwell of Luminous Landscape.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Tony Jay on August 21, 2012, 07:29:27 am
I'm becoming more and more convinced that Mark Dubovoy is the Ken Rockwell of Luminous Landscape.

Actually I think that this comment may be synonymous with comparing Albert Einstein to Daffy Duck.
You may want to do a bit of research into Mark Dubovoy and his accomplishments before making such stretched comparisons.

Regards

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 21, 2012, 07:37:37 am
I found the article to be elitist. Consciously or unconsciously he was stating that other people were getting in the way of him wanting to spend an inordinate amount of time "alone" with his thoughts in front of an image without any distractions. He reinforced it by stating he arrived very early but others were there three minutes later. Maybe the others found that standing in front of an art work for a long period of time meant he was in the way of others wanting to do the same. Solution! He should hire some people, or do it himself, and steal the Mona Lisa and hang it in his bathroom and he can then lie in his bath with his little duck and view it to his heart's content without disturbance? Otherwise live and let live? ;)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 21, 2012, 07:40:17 am
Actually I think that this comment may be synonymous with comparing Albert Einstein to Daffy Duck.
You may want to do a bit of research into Mark Dubovoy and his accomplishments before making such stretched comparisons.

Regards

Tony Jay

His accomplishments shouldn't have any bearing on the article he posted?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Tony Jay on August 21, 2012, 07:44:54 am
His accomplishments shouldn't have any bearing on the article he posted?

Thats debatable.
However the issue was that Mark was being uncritically compared to Ken Rockwell, Nothing else.

Regards

Tony Jay

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 21, 2012, 07:57:01 am
Both like to court controversy I think that is what dreed was alluding to?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 21, 2012, 08:52:16 am
Both like to court controversy I think that is what dreed was alluding to?

Yes.

Or perhaps you might say articles such as this one are "flame/troll bait" or even "troll worthy."

This is another of his stories that I simply stopped reading very early on because the opinions being espoused sounded like they were meant to inflame and/or engender commentary rather than being intelligent.

I visit this website to read about photography and directly related matters, not to read people's opinions on museums.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: marfa.tx on August 21, 2012, 08:59:40 am
"Would you rather be the loudest person in your neighborhood, or the quietest?"

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 21, 2012, 09:12:35 am
The last time I went [to Yosemite], half an hour's walk was more than enough to get to somewhere quiet and beautiful. But I agree with everything else in your post.

If I put my cynical hat on, I'd say that too many landscape photographers and/or readers of this forum dare not venture more than 30 yards from their car.

97% of Yosemite N.P. is wilderness and the 3% that isn't wilderness is probably the limit of what 97% of its visitors visit. If anyone thinks that Yosemite N.P. is defined by Yosemite Valley then they haven't really explored Yosemite N.P. at all.

What is really amazing about Yosemite N.P. is that it makes the wilderness accessible. It allows us to be in the landscape and if you're adventurous, part of the landscape.

I only wish that there were more national parks like Yosemite N.P. that reinforced the value of nature. Actually, the Grand Canyon could probably also be put into that basket, along with Glacier National Park.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 21, 2012, 10:10:31 am
I found the article to be elitist. Consciously or unconsciously he was stating that other people were getting in the way of him wanting to spend an inordinate amount of time "alone" with his thoughts in front of an image without any distractions. He reinforced it by stating he arrived very early but others were there three minutes later. Maybe the others found that standing in front of an art work for a long period of time meant he was in the way of others wanting to do the same. Solution! He should hire some people, or do it himself, and steal the Mona Lisa and hang it in his bathroom and he can then lie in his bath with his little duck and view it to his heart's content without disturbance? Otherwise live and let live? ;)


Jesus, stamper, ever time I think I've misunderstood you, that you are as perfectly normal as I, you trot put another Trotsk and ruin my illusions yet again!

Why, in the name of all you hold holy, is it 'elitist' to expect some peace, quiet, respect and space, both physical and mental, for the purposes of contemplation in a gallery or museum? After all, it's not as if one were in a shopping arcade, a bowling alley of even a skating rink watching the Paisley Pirates! (Should they still exist, should Paisley Ice Rink still exist. One of my two very favourite people here in Spain was a Canadian who lived in Scotland, ran a succesful company there and played with the Pirates...)

Because it's possible to run riot in many public spaces doesn't imply that one should be able to do so everywhere. As with the notorious horses, so with locations: they have different uses and potentials.

Insofar as photography goes, I'd ban even the use of available light shooting. If one is serious enough about the art (not the memento value to the ego) then one can always buy a postcard, assuming that one hasn't already bought the books...

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: rothberg on August 21, 2012, 10:39:41 am
A long time ago I went to school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In those days, to get to the school, you had to walk through almost the whole of the museum. In my two years of walking through that building I made it a point to go a different way almost every day.  What a wonderful education I received on those walks. Today looking at 19th Century French Impressionists, yesterday 15th century Dutch chairs. Those walks were one of the most important parts of my art education, in large part because I learned to really look at art and by that act, to begin to see it.  I now live outside of Washington DC. It has taken me 20 years and maybe 100 visits to see the East Wing of the National Gallery. Today, when in a city new to me and visiting an art museum for the first time, I give myself 2 hours and look at maybe 5 pieces.  You can, at most museums, ignore the kids and the trophy hunters if you just stand and wait. Sure blockbuster shows and star pieces draw crowds.  American Gothic was and is a huge draw, but if you stand there for 20 or 30 minutes you will get a good, personal look at a great American masterpiece.  I advise patience (and comfortable shoes).
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Tony Jay on August 21, 2012, 10:44:31 am
A long time ago I went to school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In those days, to get to the school, you had to walk through almost the whole of the museum. In my two years of walking through that building I made it a point to go a different way almost every day.  What a wonderful education I received on those walks. Today looking at 19th Century French Impressionists, yesterday 15th century Dutch chairs. Those walks were one of the most important parts of my art education, in large part because I learned to really look at art and by that act, to begin to see it.  I now live outside of Washington DC. It has taken me 20 years and maybe 100 visits to see the East Wing of the National Gallery. Today, when in a city new to me and visiting an art museum for the first time, I give myself 2 hours and look at maybe 5 pieces.  You can, at most museums, ignore the kids and the trophy hunters if you just stand and wait. Sure blockbuster shows and star pieces draw crowds.  American Gothic was and is a huge draw, but if you stand there for 20 or 30 minutes you will get a good, personal look at a great American masterpiece.  I advise patience (and comfortable shoes).

Fascinating insight.
I enjoyed that - thanks for sharing.

Regards

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Isaac on August 21, 2012, 12:01:14 pm
If I put my cynical hat on, I'd say that too many landscape photographers and/or readers of this forum dare not venture more than 30 yards from their car.

Whether or not they dare, it would not be surprising if they do not venture far from their car -- that's the ordinary behaviour of many other park visitors, and that's partly why "half an hour's walk was more than enough to get to somewhere quiet and beautiful".

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: OldRoy on August 21, 2012, 12:28:06 pm
Or are there simply too many people everywhere?

I'm continually coming to the conclusion that in debates like this one (and most notably the issues around climate change) the "elephant in the room" is simply that population growth is the root cause of most problems: in the galleries; on the streets of cities - in fact everywhere on the planet, consuming resources as if they are limitless. Of course given the current state of capitalism there's an axiomatic requirement for ever-increasing numbers of consumers, consuming ever greater quantities of "stuff".

One alternative, that an increased proportion of the return on capital be distributed to the workforce so that they can buy more stuff, is not acceptable in an economic system where an ever-increasing proportion of the profits are retained by the owners of the capital: the oligarchy wishes to maintain this situation indefinitely. Hence the need for "emerging markets" so that the pyramid scheme can continue to expand. Until... well, we've recently had an interesting illustration of the consequences of this model, not that it has stimulated any real change. A catastrophe is probably required.

I'd love to have seen the recent Leonardo exhibition in London, likewise Hockney's mega-show (particularly the interesting multi-DSLR videos) but speaking to friends who went, the sheer numbers of people at both exhibitions made the experience hellish. Whether there were frantic snappers firing off flashes and cavorting brats matters little under these circumstances. Imagine queueing for hours just to get a ticket.

Quite why people want to take happy snaps of paintings, with or without themselves mugging in front of them, eludes me. But an increasing number of examples of mass behaviour elude my understanding: advancing age I guess. The only collections I've enjoyed snapping are collections of vehicles and aircraft: the extra dimension helps a lot.

Last summer I attended a contemporary music festival in Ostrava, in the Czech Republic*. A friend had organised a day long marathon of live electronic music held in the central gallery of fine art. This was an unusual experience: a bit like being trapped in a car-crushing plant for 12 hours without ear-defenders. I was taking photographs but the opportunities were rather static, so I ducked out periodically.

The main part of the gallery was closed and lightly guarded by an affable babushka-like lady. I asked politely and was granted access (hand-wringing gestures are the extent of my Czech apart from "ahoy" which, inexplicably, is the all-purpose Czech greeting: I guess it's due to their illustrious maritime history). I had the entire gallery to myself, which was really wonderful. To my delighted astonishment I was confronted by Klimt's "Judith with the Head of Holofernes". All to myself. Memorable indeed, and unlike any visit to a gallery I've experienced previously. Had I only encountered a thread like this one beforehand I might even have thought to enhance the experience...

Roy
*"Ostrava Days": Highly recommended bi-annual event and a fascinating location.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: HJW on August 21, 2012, 01:25:16 pm
Or are there simply too many people everywhere?

I think that's really the heart of the problem.

When i first visited the Louvre about 50 years ago, I was not exactly alone but I certainly didn't feel the presence of people as an obstacle in any way. I could walk up to the Mona Lisa and look at the painting for as long as I wanted to, and din't feel I was hindering anyone else. I took a photo of it at that time, as I did most times when I came back. The last time I didn't as such; I just took a picture of it hung high above the crowds in its glass cage, with a hundred or more people jostling below.

Flash annoys me most times; even when I have to do it for commercial photography. It annoys me when people take a photo from a balcony of fireworks, and they use flash. It annoys me when they stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and use flash. It annoys me when I'm looking across a room and someone fires a flash at me. And it annoys me when a lot of people use their flash to take a picture of a painting.

However, it also annoys me when I walk into a gallery to see a particular item and I see 5 tour groups crowded around the piece, with one group having it explained to them and 4 groups waiting. This is just the world of today, with easy travel and worldwide tourism. A lot of the world's great pieces of art are, shall we say, popular. Surprise.

As other posters have noted, they (and I) take pictures of pictures and other pieces in museums for various reasons. For memories, to investigate them further when we get home, to remind us of details; whatever. I see nothing wrong with that.

Unending growth in populations, economies, tourism, earth exploitation; that's a huge problem. Photography in museums? Not really a problem.

Henning
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kwalsh on August 21, 2012, 02:59:25 pm
If I put my cynical hat on, I'd say that too many landscape photographers and/or readers of this forum dare not venture more than 30 yards from their car.

97% of Yosemite N.P. is wilderness and the 3% that isn't wilderness is probably the limit of what 97% of its visitors visit. If anyone thinks that Yosemite N.P. is defined by Yosemite Valley then they haven't really explored Yosemite N.P. at all.

What is really amazing about Yosemite N.P. is that it makes the wilderness accessible. It allows us to be in the landscape and if you're adventurous, part of the landscape.

I only wish that there were more national parks like Yosemite N.P. that reinforced the value of nature. Actually, the Grand Canyon could probably also be put into that basket, along with Glacier National Park.

Yes, this jives with my point.  I was specifically referring to the valley floor with its shops, traffic, mega-campgrounds, and perpetual smoke haze - not the entire NP which also includes amazing back country and even other beautiful "car friendly" spots like Tuolumne with far less visitation.  It is the valley floor I avoid, love the rest of the park.  Lets not forget as well the fact that most western NPs also "anchor" large surrounding tracts of NF or BLM land with extensive wilderness areas of their own.  Similarly, one could refer to the South Rim of Grand Canyon as a "sacrifice" for the vast tracks of beauty and solitude elsewhere in that park.  There are these small places that are "over-run" and "ruined" (by some standards) and is easy to bemoan the loss of them and complain about their management - but they are not the only part of the park and they enable the protection of the large swaths of land for those who like the solitude as well as the protection of real habitat.

So to do we have "over-run" artworks that provide for the preservation and presentation of endless galleries of "lesser" works to be appreciated by those willing to take the time and effort to do so.

What still impresses me when I do venture into the crowded areas on occasion is the tremendous effort the NP system puts into educating the visitors not just about the geology, botany, etc. but also engendering an appreciation and respect for the wilderness to those who may be experiencing it for the first time.  Go to "the viewpoint" of a park and almost always there is a ranger right there interacting with people right as they leave their car.  Somehow the NP system has made the ranger one of the most respected government employees who visitors flock to with honest appreciation and interest.  I really don't get the sense the same thing is happening at tourist museum destinations.  There the much of the museum staff seems more like traffic cops and enforcers.  It might be an insurmountable a problem, often mega-musuems are just a part of a day visit on a larger tourist vacation whereas western NPs are true "destinations" in themselves likely to filter down to folks willing to take a bit more "effort" in appreciating the resource.

I've been to smaller museums that host a single "signature" work in their larger collection.  Often they can staff the area with informative docents continually and also regulate traffic to keep group size down.  This experience is far, far more fulfilling for all and I wish more places would do it.  But it might not be practical with something like the Mona Lisa.  Still it seems more places could make the effort.  And in none of the cases are cameras really the root cause of the problem, they are just a symptom.

Ken
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Phinius on August 21, 2012, 07:27:00 pm
Mark's opinions seem to really anger a certain minority of folks. I find this particularly troubling at a forum of LuLa fans who one would think would be more rational for want of a better word. I assume that there are few post-modernist haters of museums and that most of us think that museums are worth the investment because they present the serious work of serious artists. Given this viewpoint, I would think acting seriously once in the museum would be expected, and therefore Mark's comments would seem at least reasonable.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: mikev1 on August 21, 2012, 08:32:08 pm

An interesting article...
http://gizmodo.com/flash-photography/

Does flash photography damage art? I'm not sure.  I'd be curious to read some actual research on the subject.

No doubt it is annoying however...
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on August 21, 2012, 09:02:25 pm

Quite why people want to take happy snaps of paintings, with or without themselves mugging in front of them, eludes me. But an increasing number of examples of mass behaviour elude my understanding: advancing age I guess. The only collections I've enjoyed snapping are collections of vehicles and aircraft: the extra dimension helps a lot.


I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

However, making a record of what one has seen by doing one's best job in the circunstances of photographing it, is another matter. One reason why I've always been excited by the increasing performance of DSLRs at high ISO, in conjunction with more effective Image Stabilization in modern lenses, is because it allows one to do a fairly good job of photographing art works in museums and galleries where tripods and flash are not allowed.

There is clearly a major problem if the scenario depicted in Mark Dubovoy's article becomes a typical, every-day situation in all museums that permit photography. However, I don't believe a good solution would be to completely ban all photography in such places.

A better solution would be for the museum owners to capitalize on the increased public interest in their art exhibits, and charge extra for the privilege of photographing such exhibits, thus raising more money for the promotion of the arts.

In my experience, there are always lots of attendants employed by museums to keep an eye out for miscreant behaviour. One doesn't need a sledge hammer to crack a nut. One simply needs enforcement of a reasonable policy of 'no flash' under any circumstances and no photography unless one has paid for the privilege. Having paid extra for such a privilege, one could be required to wear some notice pinned to one's shirt or lapel indicating to the attendants that one is permitted to take photos.

Such a policy would not guarantee that there would never be flash photography from an iPhone or P&S, of someone standing in front of a painting, but it would significantly reduce the problem.

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 22, 2012, 01:39:19 am
Mark's opinions seem to really anger a certain minority of folks. I find this particularly troubling at a forum of LuLa fans who one would think would be more rational for want of a better word. I assume that there are few post-modernist haters of museums and that most of us think that museums are worth the investment because they present the serious work of serious artists. Given this viewpoint, I would think acting seriously once in the museum would be expected, and therefore Mark's comments would seem at least reasonable.

I have no problem with "acting seriously once in a museum" but don't see how it follows from this that all photography should be banned in all museums, as Mark apparently advocates. The discussion has evolved quite a way from its stimulating beginning with his article, and done so in a largely rational manner, give or take a few glorious rants (without which life would be duller, here in Australia and also, it seems, in Mallorca and wherever Slobodan has built his nest). The argument that flash photography damages paintings has been questioned on scientific grounds and is beginning to look like a myth, albeit one believed in by some museum curators. It has become clear that people take photographs in museums for a variety of unexceptionable reasons and often do so in a way unlikely to inconvenience anyone else. There also seems to be agreement that it is difficult or impossible to appreciate art in the presence of noisy crowds and this problem is greatly exacerbated if they are all taking flash photographs. The case for a total ban is looking flimsy, the case for education, crowd management and maybe for some controls and restrictions on flash photography is looking quite good. IMO, Mark deserves credit for starting it all off, and the rest of us - the forum of Lula fans - deserve credit for adding a bit of nuance to the discussion and for extending it to a variety of other more or less related subjects.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Petrus on August 22, 2012, 01:48:19 am
I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

There are two schools of travel photography: I was there! and I saw and experienced this:

Most people seem to belong to the first school. I suppose most folks here belong to the second.

What we are hoping is that the twain should never meet...
Title: Worst researched article ever
Post by: jenbenn on August 22, 2012, 02:20:35 am

Mark, you write: "First of all, the constant bursts of bright light with tons of UV  are very destructive to paintings, tapestries, fabrics and other kinds of art objects."
 
 About  amonth ago I was in Florence and asked myself the same thing: does flash destroy art.

I googled and found an article by a scientist who carried out resaerch for the London  National Gallery.  He reported that in his study about 10 years ago he found that the flash of a normal camera cannot under any circumstances harm  a painting simply because all the UV light, the flash emits gets filtered out by the plastic window in front of the flash. In addition, normal camera flashes are far too low powered.

He discovered however that if you use a huge studio flash, without any filter for UV light in frornt of it, it will take several million flashes until a painting shows any measurable sign of wear.
 
The National Gallery apperently kept the study concealed: They do not want photographers to  destroy the  viewing experience for other visitorswith their flash light.For this reason I think one should ban FLASH photography in museums, but certainly not photography all together.  Just put up a warning that anybody using flash, will be thrown out immediately and enforce this. There is no need to punish all photogs for the inability of some amateurs to turn off their flash.

 So MArk, please give us some source for your allegation that camera flash is harmful to paintings. There is certainly no better way of harming your credibility and destroying an otherwise good article  than by making questionable statements of facts.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: JozefM on August 22, 2012, 03:44:33 am
Please read this essay from Martin Evans, it is interesting and scientific:

http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/musphoto/flashphoto.htm

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: OldRoy on August 22, 2012, 06:32:40 am
Please read this essay from Martin Evans, it is interesting and scientific:

http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/musphoto/flashphoto.htm


Care to summarise?
Roy
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 22, 2012, 06:42:37 am
Very illuminating!
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 22, 2012, 07:15:15 am
Care to summarise?

To effectively preserve works of art by preventing damage to the pigments from UV light requires keeping them in dark places for large periods of time (half a year or more.)

Modern compact cameras typically have a xenon flash bulb (guide number less than 10) that is behind a plastic screen that blocks a large proportion of the UV coming out of said flashes. The flashes that actually have potential to do damage in a relatively short period of time (years) with constant and continued exposure to the flash light are the really big ugly ones that only professionals use. This is because they often have no plastic guard to filter out the damaging UV light.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: 32BT on August 22, 2012, 10:18:43 am
Perhaps of interest:

Non-ionizing radiation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-ionizing_radiation)

which leads to the inevitable question, not to say "begs", in how far the electromagnetic radiation-smog of cellphones and wifi networks is harmful to precious works of Art.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: John Camp on August 22, 2012, 12:01:44 pm
A couple of comments:

The "scientific report" that is cited here in a couple of places doesn't say that the light from flashes won't hurt paintings. It says the light from flashes under the conditions examined in the report won't hurt paintings significantly compared to ambient light. It did not examine all conditions, nor did it examine all paintings. I doubt that light from flashes will hurt the paintings, but I'm still not sure. Until recently, a large number of scientists thought that global warming was a myth. As it turns out, it probably isn't. If you go back through the history of reports like this, on a wide variety of issues, you often find out that things that were reported unharmful (cigarettes, DDT) were, oops, harmful, and even deadly; and some that were supposedly harmful, were, oops, not, except for the people who got trashed by the report (agar.) I don't know where this report came from, or if it was published in a refereed journal, but it has many of the characteristics of a "some guy" report.

But, as I said, I suspect that flash doesn't do much damage. The real damage is that it makes certain pictures in certain museums unviewable, and that it helps create a funhouse atmosphere in art museums. I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum, which, after all, is concerned with the making of visual art. They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic and all the other bullshit trotted out as excuses for people to shout down the thinking process. I've gone to NY annually for a very long time for the specific purpose of looking at art. I did not go to MOMA the last time I was there (in July) because of the conditions in the place, which have become nearly intolerable. That's the first time I've not gone to MOMA since sometime in the eighties.

But here's a question for the people in Chicago: why is the Art Institute so much better in terms of viewing conditions than the big New York museums. Is it because the Institute is physically harder to get to than the NY museums? Or maybe Chicago just doesn't attract the huge crowds of tourists?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Isaac on August 22, 2012, 12:28:12 pm
I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

However, making a record of what one has seen by doing one's best job in the circunstances of photographing it, is another matter...

Perhaps those many other people would wonder why you wish to just duplicate a photograph you might find in the museum bookstore calendars and postcards and art books.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 22, 2012, 01:46:31 pm
... I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum... They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic...

The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 22, 2012, 02:10:30 pm
... But here's a question for the people in Chicago: why is the Art Institute so much better in terms of viewing conditions than the big New York museums. Is it because the Institute is physically harder to get to than the NY museums? Or maybe Chicago just doesn't attract the huge crowds of tourists?

Hmmm... neither explanation seems to fit. The location is in the heart of a major tourist area (i.e., Millennium Park), and the number of tourists, though not the same, is rather close to NY: almost 40 million vs. almost 50 million in 2011.

Perhaps if one digs deeper in those statistics and breaks down tourists by category, i.e., business and convention vs. leisure, foreign vs. domestic, etc., there might be a better explanation.

Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 22, 2012, 03:45:05 pm
. I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum, which, after all, is concerned with the making of visual art. They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic and all the other bullshit trotted out as excuses for people to shout down the thinking process.


The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."


Witness and celebrate the fruits of political and cultural anaesthesia.

It’s almost endemic now in the UK; it’s already in the education system where most everybody leaves school with some sort of certificate which, at its more absurd levels of nothingness, tells any competent recruitment officer all he/she needs to know about the poor kid before them – if he gets that far.

Extend the ethic to the rest of society and it’s not difficult to see where we are and how we got there. It is all about falling standards, lack of respect, lack of parental control and as we are already advanced into at least a third generation of this decline, I see little prospect of a climb back upwards, not necessarily because of the unfortunate kids who never had a chance, but as much because of the political thinking that so many successful students pick up, and which they used to escape when their feet hit the workplace. It seems they no longer have exposure to escape mechanisms in the form of life experience because their generations have become the ethos in which they exist – they are their own perpetuation of the receipt for disaster.

Obviously, that’s the main reason so many want to close down private schools: it just doesn’t do to have alternative mindsets exist and rock the boat of political and social, especially social, conformity.

1984 was only delayed, not avoided – yet. We shall see.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on August 22, 2012, 10:22:33 pm
Perhaps those many other people would wonder why you wish to just duplicate a photograph you might find in the museum bookstore calendars and postcards and art books.

That's a good point worth considering. If one is not 'into' photography, and perhaps not rather obsessed with the subject as many of us appear to be on this site, and one uses only a P&S or iPhone to record events, then one knows that one one's results are not likely to match in quality and/or composition any of the existing, professional photos available for purchase, of the famous sites one is visiting, whether they are paintings in a museum, ancient ruins in Athens or Cambodia, or beautiful National Parks such as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

So why not make the photo unique by having one's own smiling mug in front of a distant view of the Grand Canyon, or in front of a famous painting such as the Mona Lisa?  8)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: PierreVandevenne on August 23, 2012, 07:27:59 am
The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."

Hmmmm, isn't that slightly hyperbolic?

Not that it is unexpected. Starting with a provocative and grandiloquent title such as "Are Museum Destroying Art?" unavoidably leads us away from peaceful unanimity and the dissenter's line of thought  (or is it Museum directors'?) is soon compared to the one that drove mass criminals.

Something like "Are crowds armed with cellphones and P&S ruining Museum experience?" might be slightly more consensual. As an added bonus, it doesn't even need to rely on shaky urban legends.

But then, it is guaranteed not to generate active threads :-)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Eric Kellerman on August 23, 2012, 10:59:25 am
Mark Dubovoy's point, when distilled out of his slightly hysterical style of writing, strikes a chord with me – things are not what they were, museums are no longer the province of the visiting highly educated few, and the Great Works must be seen and be shown to have been seen. This tendency to 'democratise' culture is not restricted to museums in an era of mass transport and the internet. Nowadays I am reluctant to visit the great country houses and gardens of Britain because I will be ruthlessly 'educated' if I do. I will have the vast kitchens and bedrooms of some stately home 'interpreted' for me, whether I like it or not. Just see how guidebooks have changed over 50 years.

In the mid-70s, I visited a large house then occupied by an orthopaedic hospital to ask whether I might be allowed into the grounds to photograph one of the most remarkable Victorian gardens in Britain. The Administrator agreed that I might, and in fact took me round. He told me that the garden was constantly being vandalised and there was no money for upkeep. The place was very sad, but it was magnificent just the same. I visited again a few years later, and there was evidence of further deterioration.

Then in the 1990s, the garden was taken over by The National Trust. I took my partner there shortly after it had been restored. Everything was spick and span, the place packed, 'interpretation' everywhere. When I suggested to my partner we might move off the path to a viewpoint I knew was particularly rewarding, I was yelled at by a teenager wearing a National Trust T-shirt - an official, it seemed, whose job it was to keep unruly tourists on the straight and narrow. I cannot tell you how angry I felt, and yet I knew I had no right to. Millions had been sunk into restoring the garden, and those millions must be paid back. This is the literal and figurative price one must pay for the preservation of great art.
Title: Re: Worst researched article ever
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on August 23, 2012, 11:47:16 am
So MArk, please give us some source for your allegation that camera flash is harmful to paintings. There is certainly no better way of harming your credibility and destroying an otherwise good article  than by making questionable statements of facts.

Not for the first time.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on August 23, 2012, 12:12:43 pm
The issue of whether or not millions of flashes from P&S cameras can harm or fade old paintings is not an 'either/or' issue, but a matter of degree.

It must be obvious that any increase in exposure to light will increase fading. However, the evidence seems to suggest that the additional fading due to millions of camera flashes is not particularly significant. It may be the case that placing a painting in bright daylight for 8 hours is equivalent to 10 million camera flashes.

However, if one wishes to do one's utmost to preserve valuable paintings whilst also making them available for viewing by the public, then flash should be banned, not just because it may have a marginal effect of increasing the fading process, but because it is annoying to other viewers.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Dohmnuill on August 23, 2012, 09:49:32 pm
Eric's experience in the National Trust Victorian garden, while not directly involving flash photography, is more to do with the problem of undertrained staff at such 'museums'. He was on the end of some rude prat's poor form and most likely there was no prior direction barring him from his intended course.

I would be fuming, too, particularly if my knowledge of such a venue was likely far greater than the officious guard.

Back to fine art museums/galleries; the problem appears to be more with under-zealous guards who are unwilling to enforce a well-posted direction not to use flash. The crowd quickly catches on when an exemplar is escorted out.

I was last in the Uffizi in 1994. No one was worried as I shot away with my F3, sans flash, and the well regulated crowd did likewise. OK, inbuilt flash is more common now, but on that occasion everyone followed the well-signed directions about flash. After all, they did not want to waste their long wait to get in by being quickly turfed out.

Regulate the numbers, escort out the offenders.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: daws on August 23, 2012, 11:25:10 pm
Thus, since we currently have no unequivocal scientific evidence that flash photography harms paintings, it is perfectly reasonable to allow priceless paintings to be exposed to ever-increasing amounts of flash photography for the next n decades?

I take it no one here was alive and conscious a half century ago when the tobacco industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that smoking causes no harm to human health, or four decades ago when the automobile industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that wearing seat belts results in no decrease in auto accident industries, or last month when Fox News was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that global warming does not exist.




Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Stidik on August 24, 2012, 12:17:46 am
I am sorry that my very first post on this site is a little critical, but I think we as a photography community should be trying to open doors and opportunities for photographers, not closing doors.  In my opinion it’s the vastly increased number of visitors to the museums, which have degraded the museum experience, not photographers.  If the Louvre banned all photography there would still be the same extremely large number of visitors to see the Mona Lisa..  A photography ban would not decrease the crowds.

When I visited the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay this past May, I found the experience the same, both venues were way too crowded.  There were 200 + people in one room trying to view the Mona Lisa, a relatively small painting.  200 people with or without cameras make no difference.  It’s too crowded either way. 

I agree with Mark D that the act of people taking photos of themselves or their friends in front of works of art is very distracting.  Tour guides giving lectures in front of works of art are also very distracting.  Both practices should be forbidden by museums along with flash photography.

One solution (suggestion) would be a “responsible photographer” program at museums.  Visitors to museums who want to take photos would need to wait in an additional line once inside the museum, pay an additional fee (2-5 Euros?), have their cameras checked by a museum employee who can be certain that the photographer knows how to disable the flash and any distracting lights which might assist auto focus, and then sign a document agreeing to not use flash, or take photos of themselves, friends, or family.  They would then be issued a photographer’s Badge or perhaps a brightly colored vest, allowing them to take non-flash photography for the day.  Then a much smaller number of visitors would be using their cameras, but photographers like us could continue to photograph “responsibly” in museums.  The extra line, the extra money, the inability to turn off the camera’s flash would all discourage most visitors from using their cameras.  If the program works, then as a photography community we could push to open up more museums to a “responsible photography” program.  Opening more doors to photography would be a good goal for us to achieve.

A couple more things:  children on a school field trip will frequently be a distraction in a museum with or without cameras; and the bullet proof, fire proof, bomb proof glass in front of the Mona Lisa is not coming down if photography is banned in the Louvre.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 24, 2012, 12:26:35 am
Thus, since we currently have no unequivocal scientific evidence that flash photography harms paintings, it is perfectly reasonable to allow priceless paintings to be exposed to ever-increasing amounts of flash photography for the next n decades?

I take it no one here was alive and conscious a half century ago when the tobacco industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that smoking causes no harm to human health, or four decades ago when the automobile industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that wearing seat belts results in no decrease in auto accident industries, or last month when Fox News was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that global warming does not exist.


Perhaps you should read some of the links where people have actually made predictions based on the amount of light that flashes claim to output.

Nobody is claiming that there is no impact of flashes. The question is of degree.

For example, the ambient lighting in a museum or art gallery is already doing damage to the pigment, albeit at a very small level.

Stopping flash photography does not stop the damage.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 24, 2012, 01:02:37 am
One solution (suggestion) would be a “responsible photographer” program at museums.  Visitors to museums who want to take photos would need to wait in an additional line once inside the museum, pay an additional fee (2-5 Euros?), have their cameras checked by a museum employee who can be certain that the photographer knows how to disable the flash and any distracting lights which might assist auto focus, and then sign a document agreeing to not use flash, or take photos of themselves, friends, or family.  They would then be issued a photographer’s Badge or perhaps a brightly colored vest, allowing them to take non-flash photography for the day.  Then a much smaller number of visitors would be using their cameras, but photographers like us could continue to photograph “responsibly” in museums.  The extra line, the extra money, the inability to turn off the camera’s flash would all discourage most visitors from using their cameras.  If the program works, then as a photography community we could push to open up more museums to a “responsible photography” program.  Opening more doors to photography would be a good goal for us to achieve.

And what happens when everyone in that group of 200 tourists that is waiting for you says "Why can't I take a photograph and why do I have to wait for him?" When the answer is 2-5 euro, all that you've done is say to those people that the ticket price is now 2-5 euro more because all 200 people that have come here for a once in a lifetime visit want to take the photograph too and that 2-5 euro is not significant.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 24, 2012, 05:40:10 am
On a general note: whether or not one agrees with Mark (in this instance I do) he certainly manages to generate a lot of traffic!

Keep it up, señor.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 24, 2012, 06:03:11 am
On a general note: whether or not one agrees with Mark (in this instance I do) he certainly manages to generate a lot of traffic!

Keep it up, señor.

Rob C

Jesus, stamper, ever time I think I've misunderstood you, that you are as perfectly normal as I, you trot put another Trotsk and ruin my illusions yet again!

Unquote

Yes Rob you even managed to inject a political slant to the debate. :)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 24, 2012, 07:41:27 am
On a general note: whether or not one agrees with Mark (in this instance I do) he certainly manages to generate a lot of traffic!

Keep it up, señor.

Hence why I likened him to Ken Rockwell (who also writes stuff for the web that has little merit to it but generates locks of attention.)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 24, 2012, 09:32:17 am
Hence why I likened him to Ken Rockwell (who also writes stuff for the web that has little merit to it but generates locks of attention.)

Both Ken and Mark write for smart people , i.e., those who understand the context of their writings. That there are tons of fools who do not get it (thus generating the attention) is neither Mark's nor Ken's fault.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on August 24, 2012, 10:24:48 am
I must say this has caused far more debate (and more heated) than I would have expected. I read the original article by Mark and thought 'I could not agree more’, I then found all these posts and debate and anger (by some) and I still think the same.
I don’t see how banning flash photography (or Photography) is in any way elitist, you can still come and view the works and run around and shout and get in the way and annoy some people (if that’s what you want to do in a museum) , that really is not being elitist
The meaning of elitist is....
"1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favoured treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
2.
a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class."

Banning photography elitist, I don’t think so.

Its really all about how people perceive others should behave in a particular public space, I would much prefer museums to be on the quite side and while it would be great if it was only me in a museum I know that’s not possible and numbers of people are something that ebb’s and flows and we cant control so we just have to take it as it comes.

I think far to many have thrown the toys out the pram on this.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: ripgriffith on August 24, 2012, 10:33:24 am

Stopping flash photography does not stop the damage.
No, but it does, unequivocally, stop whatever damage might be contributed by the flash
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: PierreVandevenne on August 24, 2012, 11:48:48 am
Both Ken and Mark write for smart people , i.e., those who understand the context of their writings. That there are tons of fools who do not get it (thus generating the attention) is neither Mark's nor Ken's fault.

Could be that the context is a bit different this time. We probably expected a Louvre vice-curator to fly to Mark's Summer residence for a private Mona Lisa viewing session.  ;D
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: lensfactory on August 24, 2012, 02:27:24 pm
Thus, since we currently have no unequivocal scientific evidence that flash photography harms paintings, it is perfectly reasonable to allow priceless paintings to be exposed to ever-increasing amounts of flash photography for the next n decades?

I take it no one here was alive and conscious a half century ago when the tobacco industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that smoking causes no harm to human health, or four decades ago when the automobile industry was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that wearing seat belts results in no decrease in auto accident industries, or last month when Fox News was presenting unequivocal scientific evidence that global warming does not exist.


But that's just it...there IS a lot of scientific evidence debunking this total myth. It has been 'talked into a truth'.

This thread sure brings up a lot of kooky points of view. Overpopulation being the 'problem' etc...Very entertaining.

If I can summarize...I think a bit more objectively.

1>Flashes don't damage artworks.If in some way it can be shown that there is a slight effect, the effect is far less than from the exhalation of methane from a gallery patron's fart. If we really are concerned about that ,then we need to put artworks in a temperature/air/light controlled tomb lined with lead..underground perhaps.
2> Copyright issues are moot. For a popular work, higher res images are freely available on the web, and for obscure works the net effect (vie social media etc.) of a photograph will only help promote the artwork and artist.
3> Crowds can be a nuisance. Popular artworks bring larger crowds, and a lot of class/social restrictions of access to art has evolved in the 21st century as well, so there are more people viewing art than ever.
4> Flashes are a distraction and nuisance. There are a myriad of creative ways to solve/fix this.



Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: lensfactory on August 24, 2012, 02:39:49 pm
Oops...hit post by accident

5> Cameras should NOT be banned. I feel very strongly about this. In this age of ever increasing (mostly one -way) surveillance...it behooves us to assert our right to have the freedom to take electronic images of things that interest us. For no more a reason than that we find it interesting. If you don't think this freedom is more and more under threat, I can point to a myriad of startling examples.
6> It is hard to legislate 'manners'. I DO think ,however, that the Museums and Galleries are to blame. Whether it be staff shortages,or whatever....it is nonetheless on THEM to set the tone of environment. This can be done through signage,gentle verbal warnings etc. If you want the kids to behave, just be an authority in a room politely but firmly telling evryone to please keep the noise down for the sake of other patrons. Just watch all the parents get their kids in line...
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Dohmnuill on August 24, 2012, 07:35:39 pm
Do you daily monitor Ken Rockwell, dreed?   
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Dohmnuill on August 24, 2012, 07:40:45 pm
I think you're right, Slobodan.  Ken has some joy in his life which irritates the miserable chip-on-shoulder brigade.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Dohmnuill on August 24, 2012, 07:44:04 pm
Well said, ripgriffith.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: LesPalenik on August 24, 2012, 11:52:41 pm
Quote
And what happens when everyone in that group of 200 tourists that is waiting for you says "Why can't I take a photograph and why do I have to wait for him?" When the answer is 2-5 euro, all that you've done is say to those people that the ticket price is now 2-5 euro more because all 200 people that have come here for a once in a lifetime visit want to take the photograph too and that 2-5 euro is not significant.

If the museum imposes 2-5 euro photography fee, they will reduce also 200 flashers to 50.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: marcusperkins on August 25, 2012, 08:49:54 am
Not too sure if this has been suggested, but the obvious answer is to have a quiet day each week/month where photography is not allowed, and visitors are encouraged to keep conversation to a whisper.


Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 25, 2012, 12:12:14 pm
Not too sure if this has been suggested, but the obvious answer is to have a quiet day each week/month where photography is not allowed, and visitors are encouraged to keep conversation to a whisper.





Well, at least I deduce that you accept there's a problem, which is moe than many here are willing to admit!

Oh the sacred right of the photographer to be a pain in the public ass!

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: gochugogi on August 26, 2012, 10:41:59 pm
I must say this article comes off as sour grapes. Please, this is how modern life is and it ain't gonna change no matter how old and conservative you are. People break wind in elevators, scream on cellphones next to you and walk in front of you at the theater. Trying to stop a tidal wave of museum visitors from disturbing your meditation with their noisy presence and camera clicks & flashes ain't gonna happen. If the museums policed their business so a few OF are able to meditate intently without being disturbed they would soon find that old guy is their only ticket holder.

I did visit Mona LISA a few years back and it was a freakin' blast it was so crazy. An entire bus load of Chinese tourists were jumping and screaming in delight at the sight of that wee painting, making it more like happy hour than an art museum. I was elbowed and pushed and was greatly entertained by the comical event. The painting is underwhelming but the crowd made a sedate museum visit into a near rock concert.

(http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/frary/europe_images/Louvre_Paris_2067.jpg)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 27, 2012, 04:24:49 am
Interesting; sour grapes now means a sense of decorum. How language has changed.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: dreed on August 27, 2012, 07:36:57 am
...
I did visit Mona LISA a few years back and it was a freakin' blast it was so crazy. An entire bus load of Chinese tourists were jumping and screaming in delight at the sight of that wee painting, making it more like happy hour than an art museum. I was elbowed and pushed and was greatly entertained by the comical event. The painting is underwhelming but the crowd made a sedate museum visit into a near rock concert.

How interesting it is that whilst one photographer bemoans the chance to take in a photograph due to the presence of others, another uses that very distraction to create an interesting photograph in its own right.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 27, 2012, 10:14:38 am
How interesting it is that whilst one photographer bemoans the chance to take in a photograph due to the presence of others, another uses that very distraction to create an interesting photograph in its own right.



That is very true; however, that is a secondary and chance happening, not an intent on behalf of those with the remit to offer safe haven to the art, and a suitable/appropriate venue for viewing to the public.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 27, 2012, 12:37:20 pm
... old and conservative... a few OF... The painting is underwhelming...

Ahhh... the arrogance (and ignorance) of youth (I presume)!

If obnoxious behavior in museums is becoming a norm, thus somehow acceptable, even hip, and those who object to it labeled "conservative OF," I wonder what's next?

Taking flash pictures in front of a symphony orchestra during a performance? And no, not an open-air, folding-chair, anything-goes public performance either. After all, the family and friends (all several thousands of your "true" friends on social media) need to see you were there and envy you on how cultural and sophisticated you've become. After all, you paid for the ticket, it's only fair you get something out of it.
Title: art as geo-caching
Post by: ednazarko on August 27, 2012, 02:23:07 pm
I've pretty much stopped going to art museums, aquariums, and other places where rare things are displayed so that people can learn about them, other than when I know I can get in at a time when there won't be school groups, party buses, tour groups marching behind flags, and the like.  The flashing makes me blind, the bad behavior makes me feel older than I am, both of which I am sure I would tolerate better if I felt like the hordes were there engaging and learning.  That's not what I've seen in recent years.

What I see is very equivalent to geo-caching.  People go to the Louvre so that they can bounce through checking off paintings that they heard about in humanities class, or that someone told them were important.  Instead of engaging, they grab a snap with their cellphone to prove that they were in front of the painting, and then navigate off to the next station. I've seen it many museums in many parts of the world, and in aquariums.  In the 20 seconds spent in front of the Desired Object, 15 seconds are spent getting the image lined up in the phone's screen. The difference between seeing a work of art and Seeing a work of art is pretty striking.

Geo-caching is a wonderful sport but it's not about engaging with the destinations, it's about engaging with the motion.   I used to do something similar with my nieces and nephews when they came to visit and I took them to an art museum - for kids a lot of motion is necessary so that engagement of some sort can happen here and there. I used to pick a subject - St. George and the Dragon, for example - and send them off to see how many times that subject appears in the art (and not just in the title) and they had to prove they were at each by telling me something specific about what was different about St. George or the Dragon in each of the pictures. Without that part of the game it'd just be all about rapid navigation and collection without engagement. I made sure they cached something ABOUT the image, not just its presence.

As to the flashes damaging the images - for those who may doubt, take out your trusty large flash unit, set it to full manual power, hold it two inches from your skin, and flash. Feel the IR and UV? To those who now argue the inverse square law makes flash in a museum harmless, I say you don't have a good grasp of large numbers.  Yes, the flash are five feet away in the museum, but the number of flashes is in the millions if not tens of millions a year. That makes the number of energy carrying photons per square inch hitting the painting much larger than what you felt on your skin.  Similar to the issue that one car in need of a tuneup can't cause a problem... but if you get a hundred million of them, now you're talking about mega-tons of environmental impact.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on August 28, 2012, 03:32:36 am
If there are dozens or even hundreds of people enjoying themselves and someone isn't then is it not true that the one not enjoying themselves is the odd one out? Instead of wishing the majority to stop what they are doing then that person should find an environment that suits their tastes better?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 28, 2012, 04:05:36 am
If there are dozens or even hundreds of people enjoying themselves and someone isn't then is it not true that the one not enjoying themselves is the odd one out? Instead of wishing the majority to stop what they are doing then that person should find an environment that suits their tastes better?



Interesting thought, stamper.

Now, think of a public execution. I'm sure you're right: the victim would love to  be somewhere else; it's obviously his fault that he's there, hanging from a tree in the public square... and those nice people howling all around him have God on their side. He's obviously in the wrong.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: gochugogi on August 28, 2012, 04:47:37 am
Ahhh... the arrogance (and ignorance) of youth (I presume)!

I may be be old but I refuse to grow up! Nevertheless, I often get offered the senior citizen discount to which I act greatly insulted and refuse!


If obnoxious behavior in museums is becoming a norm, thus somehow acceptable, even hip, and those who object to it labeled "conservative OF," I wonder what's next?

Shaved dogs on hemp? Nekid dancing bears? Ah dunno, when you sell thousands of tickets at the Louve, pack hundreds of tourists in a wee room with Mona, you get excitement. In fact, a near riot. I'm pretty sure pheromones and pack animal consciousness were stirring things up as well. That's not rude. That's normal human behavior unless you're a corpse or old fuddy-duddy. I say let it rip. It was a good time for me and obviously for everybody else in the room save for the author of the silly article. Now if I and the old goat were the only ones in the room, meditating for an hour on Mona's boyish glaze, that would be an event worthy to fade into the mists...
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 28, 2012, 02:13:05 pm
If there are dozens or even hundreds of people enjoying themselves and someone isn't then is it not true that the one not enjoying themselves is the odd one out? Instead of wishing the majority to stop what they are doing then that person should find an environment that suits their tastes better?

You know Stamper, you are right. After all, all great civilizations were ultimately defeated by barbarians.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: daws on August 28, 2012, 07:41:22 pm
If there are dozens or even hundreds of people enjoying themselves and someone isn't then is it not true that the one not enjoying themselves is the odd one out? Instead of wishing the majority to stop what they are doing then that person should find an environment that suits their tastes better?

Why stop at dozens or hundreds? If there are thousands, millions, tens of millions of people "enjoying themselves," the few "odd ones" who disagree should zip their lips, cap their pens and "love it or leave it" -- right? In matters of art, music, education, law, government or war, the "odd ones" should simply STFU and leave -- right?

Shall we count how many times in history the defenders of the status quo have trotted out that one?  ::)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Robert Roaldi on August 29, 2012, 07:46:26 am
I think everyone should take a deep breath and relax. It's not the end of civilization, it's just a bunch of kids and tourists in a few museums, certainly not all of them, not even most. The places are big and cost money and the number of people willing to pay $50 admission is likely pretty small, so they have to have "blockbuster art" exhibits to attract large numbers of cash-bearing visitors. I doubt very much that this will destroy Art.

As for the public behaviour of humans, half a lifetime ago I had a summer job at a food service establishment. I've know for a long time now that people are generally lazy slobs. Surely, that's not a surprise to anyone, but it's no worse now than it ever was.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: ripgriffith on August 29, 2012, 09:22:12 am
I think everyone should take a deep breath and relax. It's not the end of civilization

Certainly not the end of the world, but it just well may be the end of civilization.  If you destroy the artistic experience, as these hordes of barbarians do, you might as well have destroyed the art itself.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on August 29, 2012, 10:27:45 am
The World Museum Community ICOM says the following of museums...

"According to the ICOM Statutes, adopted during the 21st General Conference in Vienna, Austria, in 2007: A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
This definition is a reference in the international community."

Now it seems that many are saying that last item 'enjoyment' is number one and hang everything else, but what about the other two  'education & study'  dont they deserve space as well, or have some really got to the stage of saying that a museums sole purpose is on a level with Disney World etc..
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Robert Roaldi on August 29, 2012, 10:44:42 am
There's plenty of education and study, but it just doesn't necessarily take place on the gallery floor during blockbuster exhibits.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 29, 2012, 12:06:58 pm
Thing is, all the devotees of a free-for-all form of communal wrestling/boxing/screaming/running/blinding are unwilling to permit those of a more studious nature the freedom to exist in peace, observe and digest the artworks.

Nobody has suggested that there be some kind of class system brought in, where your income tax return is a form of validation; hell, money and social class never were guarantees of civilized behaviour - often the opposite. All that's being suggested is that the excess energy and snapping be controlled in such a manner that peaceful co-occupation of the gallery space is achieved and no risks taken with the artworks themselves, either through ambient conditions, unnecessary exposure to flashes (which are still of uncertain safety), or of overcrowding and riotous behaviour.

That mutual respect strikes me as being one of the pillars of a civilized society; the question, of course, is whether that's what we have or even wish to strive to retain, return to or even achieve in the first place; reading the voices here in favour of mob rule, I sort of doubt it.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on August 29, 2012, 12:20:02 pm
I wonder if this kind of behaviour is transitionary? Was it like this 5 years ago? Will it be like this when the whole social network photo thing calms down somewhat? At the moment it seems like it's a frenzy but most frenzies calm down after a bit and a happy medium is reached.

In any case I think that 'tourist' times and 'quiet' times would be the easy answer. The latter, like on some train services in the UK would feature no cell phones, no photos and only quiet whispering. Could be half and half the day or specific days of the week, etc.

Perhaps it's just a matter of picking the correct times? I remember going to the Tate Modern Art museum in Liverpool with my wife. It was a quiet morning, mid winter and mid week. There were perhaps 20 other people in the entire place. Was a wonderful experience. I hate crowds and it seems that if you plan carefully, you can avoid them?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Peter McLennan on August 29, 2012, 12:22:30 pm
... reading the voices here in favour of mob rule...
Rob C

I'm not sure, Rob, that the voices are in favour of mob rule, it's just that they realize there's no changing those behaviours.  Absent rigorous (and expensive) enforcement of draconian regulations, "mob rule" will persist.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 29, 2012, 07:33:51 pm
"The museum is not part of the entertainment industry," he says firmly when I ask about the transition, in the past few decades, of public art galleries from places of quiet contemplation into hives of noisy activity. "It's a place for education, to have a memorable experience of art. I don't think one needs to abandon the idea that the museum is a little bit like a temple, or a sanctuary. This doesn't mean that it has to be distant from society, or the public. One of our roles is to convince the public that they need to have this experience - but not at any price."

Miguel Zugaza, director of the Prado. Full interview here (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/prado-boss-miguel-zugaza-draws-new-worlds-from-old/story-fn9n8gph-1226446133734) - probably paywalled so be warned. On the other hand, the Prado charges for admission and doesn't turn people away, and churches and other temples and sanctuaries themselves have to cater for quiet contemplation without excluding or discouraging the crowds of children. What has been most interesting to me about this thread (apart of course from virtuoso displays of misanthropic nostalgia by the usual suspects) are the suggestions for how to manage this balance - public education, expert docents, extra charges for photography, timed entrance, bans or restrictions on flash photography, all the way to population control. I think we can be confident that Senor Zugaza is thinking about (some of) these and other approaches. For my part, I always check with museums about the best times to visit blockbusters (as a retiree I have that luxury), I carry binoculars so I can do some contemplating from a distance, and I have a well-honed technique for moving gently through the crowd towards the painting. And when I can't see the art, I enjoy, as best I can, watching the people, based on the belief that grumpy frustration is a mood best avoided and that no-one can avoid for me.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2012, 03:43:25 am
"The museum is not part of the entertainment industry," he says firmly when I ask about the transition, in the past few decades, of public art galleries from places of quiet contemplation into hives of noisy activity. "It's a place for education, to have a memorable experience of art. I don't think one needs to abandon the idea that the museum is a little bit like a temple, or a sanctuary. This doesn't mean that it has to be distant from society, or the public. One of our roles is to convince the public that they need to have this experience - but not at any price."

Miguel Zugaza, director of the Prado. Full interview here (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/prado-boss-miguel-zugaza-draws-new-worlds-from-old/story-fn9n8gph-1226446133734) - probably paywalled so be warned. On the other hand, the Prado charges for admission and doesn't turn people away, and churches and other temples and sanctuaries themselves have to cater for quiet contemplation without excluding or discouraging the crowds of children. What has been most interesting to me about this thread (apart of course from virtuoso displays of misanthropic nostalgia by the usual suspects) are the suggestions for how to manage this balance - public education, expert docents, extra charges for photography, timed entrance, bans or restrictions on flash photography, all the way to population control. I think we can be confident that Senor Zugaza is thinking about (some of) these and other approaches. For my part, I always check with museums about the best times to visit blockbusters (as a retiree I have that luxury), I carry binoculars so I can do some contemplating from a distance, and I have a well-honed technique for moving gently through the crowd towards the painting. And when I can't see the art, I enjoy, as best I can, watching the people, based on the belief that grumpy frustration is a mood best avoided and that no-one can avoid for me.


Nice post, but difficult to understand the conflation of misanthropy with respect for peace and quiet. Are you, then, suggesting that the hooligan element is misanthropic by nature?

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on August 30, 2012, 04:27:36 am
Isn't 'mob rule' just a provocative term for 'democracy'?  ;D
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on August 30, 2012, 04:32:41 am
I have an idea. Let's have a select group of self-proclaimed art critics gather up all the worthy artwork, and hide them from general view. They can tell us how wonderful the works are, and we peasants can only wish to travel to the remote lands that house these works. The article was written in a highly snobbish manner. I feel insulted.

I can appreciate that the author did not get his full enjoyment of the artwork due to others. Welcome to planet Earth. I would love to go to Yellowstone, but those damn tourists are everywhere. Maybe we can get Mayor Bloomberg to clear Times Square so I can capture the lights with all those damn people.

The author is being lazy. He wants to see the artwork that others have proclaimed masterpieces. What he should be doing is getting out looking for unknown masterpieces. Is that not what we nature photographers do? We find the locations to see a scene different from the rest. We do not mind the crowds cramming together at the spot with a big camera pictured on a sign. We move down the path, off the path, we find the spot others have passed or never thought to take a shot.

I suggest the author limit guests at his next exhibition at a gallery to one at a time. Have the rest wait on the sidewalk. This way, each person can have a personal experience with his artwork. Also do not dilute their experience by having a poster or flier with an image of what. Websites? No longer valid. Have the real art connoisseurs make the pilgrimage to your studio to see the original pieces.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2012, 06:36:08 am
Isn't 'mob rule' just a provocative term for 'democracy'?  ;D


Taking account of the emoticon, I assume you are having a giggle and playing devil's advocate?

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ben Rubinstein on August 30, 2012, 06:37:39 am
Yup.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2012, 06:38:51 am
I have an idea. Let's have a select group of self-proclaimed art critics gather up all the worthy artwork, and hide them from general view. They can tell us how wonderful the works are, and we peasants can only wish to travel to the remote lands that house these works. The article was written in a highly snobbish manner. I feel insulted.

I can appreciate that the author did not get his full enjoyment of the artwork due to others. Welcome to planet Earth. I would love to go to Yellowstone, but those damn tourists are everywhere. Maybe we can get Mayor Bloomberg to clear Times Square so I can capture the lights with all those damn people.

The author is being lazy. He wants to see the artwork that others have proclaimed masterpieces. What he should be doing is getting out looking for unknown masterpieces. Is that not what we nature photographers do? We find the locations to see a scene different from the rest. We do not mind the crowds cramming together at the spot with a big camera pictured on a sign. We move down the path, off the path, we find the spot others have passed or never thought to take a shot.

I suggest the author limit guests at his next exhibition at a gallery to one at a time. Have the rest wait on the sidewalk. This way, each person can have a personal experience with his artwork. Also do not dilute their experience by having a poster or flier with an image of what. Websites? No longer valid. Have the real art connoisseurs make the pilgrimage to your studio to see the original pieces.


What an amazing display of considered logic; must be election year somewhere.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on August 30, 2012, 11:26:12 am
I have an idea. Let's have a select group of self-proclaimed art critics gather up all the worthy artwork, and hide them from general view. They can tell us how wonderful the works are, and we peasants can only wish to travel to the remote lands that house these works. The article was written in a highly snobbish manner. I feel insulted.

I can appreciate that the author did not get his full enjoyment of the artwork due to others. Welcome to planet Earth. I would love to go to Yellowstone, but those damn tourists are everywhere. Maybe we can get Mayor Bloomberg to clear Times Square so I can capture the lights with all those damn people.

The author is being lazy. He wants to see the artwork that others have proclaimed masterpieces. What he should be doing is getting out looking for unknown masterpieces. Is that not what we nature photographers do? We find the locations to see a scene different from the rest. We do not mind the crowds cramming together at the spot with a big camera pictured on a sign. We move down the path, off the path, we find the spot others have passed or never thought to take a shot.

I suggest the author limit guests at his next exhibition at a gallery to one at a time. Have the rest wait on the sidewalk. This way, each person can have a personal experience with his artwork. Also do not dilute their experience by having a poster or flier with an image of what. Websites? No longer valid. Have the real art connoisseurs make the pilgrimage to your studio to see the original pieces.

I am very glad you feel insulted, after all 'Welcome to planet Earth' , but if you really believed what you wrote you would not be insulted at all.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2012, 12:49:08 pm
I am very glad you feel insulted, after all 'Welcome to planet Earth' , but if you really believed what you wrote you would not be insulted at all.


Peter, your namesake couldn't have put it better!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on August 30, 2012, 01:22:03 pm
I am very glad you feel insulted, after all 'Welcome to planet Earth' , but if you really believed what you wrote you would not be insulted at all.
The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees.
Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: AFairley on August 30, 2012, 03:13:38 pm
The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees.
Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about.

Well, a cat may look at a king, as they say.  But the cat should not poop in the throne room.  The article is talking about all the pooping in the throne room that's going on.  I prefer rooms without cat poop, myself.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 30, 2012, 06:44:13 pm
The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees.
Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about.



Thing is, nobody's telling you that at all: they are just asking you nicely not to bring your flash camera to the party, and that when you do come, you behave yourself. Nobody has told anybody that they are not worthy of looking at anything. That's just an internal reaction of your own making, and from your own evaluations of the matter and your place within it.

Stay focussed and the situation's very simple, very clear, and not about class or wealth or privilege of any kind. It's about one thing: behaving with respect. If doing that's too difficult, then anyone who finds it so really should stay away.

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 30, 2012, 07:58:21 pm

... difficult to understand the conflation of misanthropy with respect for peace and quiet. Are you, then, suggesting that the hooligan element is misanthropic by nature?

The misanthropy I am talking about is essentially my own, when confronted with too many people getting in the way of my desire for peace and quiet. "Hooligan element" overstates the case, at least in my experience. I have encountered people about whom I would use the term outside pubs after midnight, but never in an Art Gallery. Those people do seem quick to indulge in hostility. The more subtle kind of misanthropy which I attributed to others in this thread, but on  reflection should rather have acknowledged in myself, is essentially about turning my own discomfort at the presence of others into hostility towards them. I am not saying there is no such thing as inappropriate behaviour - just that I may sometimes have a conflict of interest when I think I detect it in Art Galleries.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petermfiore on August 30, 2012, 09:31:23 pm




Stay focussed and the situation's very simple, very clear, and not about class or wealth or privilege of any kind. It's about one thing: behaving with respect. If doing that's too difficult, then anyone who finds it so really should stay away.

Rob C
[/quote

I don't think behaving with respect is all that difficult, but rather they have no idea about how they are to behave. Respect! What's that!!!!
This is very much our society today. Very sad.

Peter


Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on August 30, 2012, 10:27:23 pm
Well, a cat may look at a king, as they say.  But the cat should not poop in the throne room.  The article is talking about all the pooping in the throne room that's going on.  I prefer rooms without cat poop, myself.
What if someone deems that you are cat poop and bans you from the throne room?

Thing is, nobody's telling you that at all: they are just asking you nicely not to bring your flash camera to the party, and that when you do come, you behave yourself. Nobody has told anybody that they are not worthy of looking at anything. That's just an internal reaction of your own making, and from your own evaluations of the matter and your place within it.

Stay focussed and the situation's very simple, very clear, and not about class or wealth or privilege of any kind. It's about one thing: behaving with respect. If doing that's too difficult, then anyone who finds it so really should stay away.

Rob C
I will never set foot in France. No desire to go there, but I would like to see what the Mona Lisa looks like. Maybe also the next great masterpiece as well. You can claim there are reproductions of the Mona Lisa all over and therefore no need for others to take their photos, too. Now say the same for Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Say the same for General Sherman in Yosemite. Say the same for the Grand Canyon, or Red Rock Canyon. The Statue of Liuberty has been taken from every possible angle, so why do people still take their own pictures?

Others are trying to tell me how I should enjoy viewing the Mona Lisa or some other masterpiece. I reject that. That they consider their approach the only right approach is snobbery, and nothing else.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Peter McLennan on August 30, 2012, 10:51:52 pm
and that when you do come, you behave yourself.

Ah yes, but "behaving yourself" has various shades and meanings.  What one might call "respect", another might term "excessive exuberance".

Who's gonna judge? 

 
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on August 30, 2012, 10:55:08 pm
...I will never set foot in France...

Is this guy for real!? ???
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: John Camp on August 31, 2012, 12:15:07 am
Is this guy for real!? ???

Easy there, Slobodan. It's more France for the rest of us.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on August 31, 2012, 02:23:02 am
I would like to see what the Mona Lisa looks like

Of course it is not the same as seeing it, but the high resolution image provided by the Louvre here (http://musee.louvre.fr/zoom/index.html?culturename=en-US) is worth, and caters for, a close look. You can look into her eyes, or into the cracks on her paint.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on August 31, 2012, 02:41:28 am
The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees.
Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about.
But no one was telling you that you were not worthy, you have invented that, and if you want to pursue a debate on something you have invented then that's sad. And if you feel you have not invented it then hey 'Welcome to Planet Earth'
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on August 31, 2012, 02:59:23 am
Others are trying to tell me how I should enjoy viewing the Mona Lisa or some other masterpiece. I reject that. That they consider their approach the only right approach is snobbery, and nothing else.

Well take some of your own advice, stuff you don't like sometimes happens, as you say 'Welcome to Planet Earth' 
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on August 31, 2012, 03:44:00 am
What if someone deems that you are cat poop and bans you from the throne room?
I will never set foot in France. No desire to go there, but I would like to see what the Mona Lisa looks like. Maybe also the next great masterpiece as well. You can claim there are reproductions of the Mona Lisa all over and therefore no need for others to take their photos, too. Now say the same for Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Say the same for General Sherman in Yosemite. Say the same for the Grand Canyon, or Red Rock Canyon. The Statue of Liuberty has been taken from every possible angle, so why do people still take their own pictures?
Others are trying to tell me how I should enjoy viewing the Mona Lisa or some other masterpiece. I reject that. That they consider their approach the only right approach is snobbery, and nothing else.



If you see even a vague similarity betwen an enclosed room, required behaviour in a room and the Grand Canyon, there's no point in further debate. (As for the Statue of Liberty, why do you think the French got rid of it? Really, you can go to France - they won't be hoping you'll return it.)

Rob C
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on September 01, 2012, 02:33:34 am
Is this guy for real!? ???

For real. Never had the desire. Never will. There are plenty of other places in the world I'd rather see in my limited time left on Earth. France does not make the cut. Most of Europe is too far down on the list to make any trip there a reasonable expectation. Lots of places in South America, Africa, Australia, ... all yet to be explored. I really do not see much time left to go to France. I'd rather revisit many places in North America and New Zealand before heading to Europe. To each their own.

If you see even a vague similarity betwen an enclosed room, required behaviour in a room and the Grand Canyon, there's no point in further debate. (As for the Statue of Liberty, why do you think the French got rid of it? Really, you can go to France - they won't be hoping you'll return it.)

Rob C
If you cannot see even a vague similarity between the two, you are right, there is no use in discussing this intelligently with you. Are not both masterpieces? Are not both public places? btw, France kept a copy of Miss Liberty. Perhaps you need to go to France and see that one. Take a picture for me when you do. Remember, no flashes or annoying autofocus lights. You might ruin the view of some snob.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: petercook80 on September 01, 2012, 03:13:59 am
If you cannot see even a vague similarity between the two, you are right, there is no use in discussing this intelligently with you. Are not both masterpieces? Are not both public places?
You have, as it seems usual, missed the entire point of Rob C's comment, or chosen to miss the point.

Why oh why do you persist in claiming this is a class thing or snobbery, its opinions and preferences nothing else. Stop trying to make it into anything else because its not.

In one of your posts you say "Others are trying to tell me how I should enjoy viewing the Mona Lisa or some other masterpiece. I reject that. That they consider their approach the only right approach is snobbery, and nothing else." and yet your trying to say your way is right and your opinion is what everyone else should follow and put up with.

In another you say "The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees. Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about." and again your trying to say your way is right and everyone else's opinion is wrong.

Arrogance ? I think you need to look in the mirror when it comes to that.

This is just about the opinions of people as to how they would prefer to enjoy a museum, they differ. I can accept your are different to mine and the debate has not changed yours or mine and that's okay, I can live with that. Can you?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: David Hufford on September 01, 2012, 06:57:25 am
For real. Never had the desire. Never will. There are plenty of other places in the world I'd rather see in my limited time left on Earth. France does not make the cut. Most of Europe is too far down on the list to make any trip there a reasonable expectation. Lots of places in South America, Africa, Australia, ... all yet to be explored. I really do not see much time left to go to France. I'd rather revisit many places in North America and New Zealand before heading to Europe. To each their own.
If you cannot see even a vague similarity between the two, you are right, there is no use in discussing this intelligently with you. Are not both masterpieces? Are not both public places? btw, France kept a copy of Miss Liberty. Perhaps you need to go to France and see that one. Take a picture for me when you do. Remember, no flashes or annoying autofocus lights. You might ruin the view of some snob.

Before I saw your list of places you might visit, I was going to mention that you might have to cross Japan off your list, as very, very few museums allow photography inside, especially using flash. Many temples and shrine prohibit it too. perhaps as much for the preservation of atmosphere as anything else.

I must have been away too long, as I didn't think the whole subject was so controversial. As I recall, many museums prohibited or at least restricted photography at one time (in the US). How things have changed.

(I suppose I should add that I have not been to every museum or temple or shrine in Japan, nor have I taken a detailed survey. I am speaking only of my experience mainly in Tokyo and occasional forays to Kyoto.)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on September 01, 2012, 06:34:44 pm
You have, as it seems usual, missed the entire point of Rob C's comment, or chosen to miss the point.

Why oh why do you persist in claiming this is a class thing or snobbery, its opinions and preferences nothing else. Stop trying to make it into anything else because its not.

In one of your posts you say "Others are trying to tell me how I should enjoy viewing the Mona Lisa or some other masterpiece. I reject that. That they consider their approach the only right approach is snobbery, and nothing else." and yet your trying to say your way is right and your opinion is what everyone else should follow and put up with.

In another you say "The insult is to tell me I'm not worthy of viewing a masterpiece unless I bow on somber knees. Arrogance and snobbery - that is what the article is all about." and again your trying to say your way is right and everyone else's opinion is wrong.

Arrogance ? I think you need to look in the mirror when it comes to that.

This is just about the opinions of people as to how they would prefer to enjoy a museum, they differ. I can accept your are different to mine and the debate has not changed yours or mine and that's okay, I can live with that. Can you?
Back to the original article, saying that photography of masterpieces cheapens the experience. The author's opinion, for certain, but snobbery as well. You are keying off the flashes and autofocus assists. I'm calling the entire idea that only those viewing the original can really experience the work as intended is a full barrel of snobbery. Otherwise, put down your camera, and never take another two-dimensional image of a three dimensional world.

Before I saw your list of places you might visit, I was going to mention that you might have to cross Japan off your list, as very, very few museums allow photography inside, especially using flash. Many temples and shrine prohibit it too. perhaps as much for the preservation of atmosphere as anything else.

I must have been away too long, as I didn't think the whole subject was so controversial. As I recall, many museums prohibited or at least restricted photography at one time (in the US). How things have changed.

(I suppose I should add that I have not been to every museum or temple or shrine in Japan, nor have I taken a detailed survey. I am speaking only of my experience mainly in Tokyo and occasional forays to Kyoto.)
Japan does not hold any more interest to me than France, with the exception of some northern islands. Highly unlikely I would spend much time in a Japanese museum or temple.

But you bring in interesting point to the discussion. I would never waltz through a church, synagogue, temple, shrine taking photographs without permission, and I would be unlikely to even request that permission. The subject matter does not interest me in religious institutions outside my faith, and within my faith, I have no need to photograph it. Is it those so sensitive to the issue within a museum are regarding those museums as near religious places?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on September 01, 2012, 08:02:53 pm
... Is it those so sensitive to the issue within a museum are regarding those museums as near religious places?

Yes. Absolutely, unequivocally, yes.

And to repeat what was quoted a few posts above, from Miguel Zugaza, director of the Prado museum:

"...I don't think one needs to abandon the idea that the museum is a little bit like a temple, or a sanctuary..."

Although I am not religious, I do respect those who are and their places of worship, for their cultural, historical and civilizational significance. I would enter churches with utmost respect, quietly, obeying whatever rules they impose.

Is it too much to ask that those who do not think that highly of art show similar respect for those of us who do (and our places of worship)?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Christopher Sanderson on September 01, 2012, 10:25:54 pm
Of one thing I am certain: that there is more than one way of beholding and appreciating art. Contemplation might also allow participation or celebration?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on September 02, 2012, 04:33:45 am
I don't know how people behaved in museums in the past, but I read somewher that at the time the great, now-known-as-classical, compositions were first performed, around 200-300 years ago, the typical audience in a typical concert hall would not have been so rigidly anal as to sit silently upright, paying full attention to the music, and expressing annoyance at any near-by member of the audience uttering a sound.

In the olden days, people brought food and wine into the concert hall and had a good natter and chat whilst the music was playing.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on September 02, 2012, 05:15:44 am
And threw food at the performers along with horse shit....or something similar? This issue hasn't - along with most others on here - an answer. Noise level is subjective. Perhaps the ones complaining can turn down their hearing aids a little? ;)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Publius on September 02, 2012, 09:25:01 pm
Yes. Absolutely, unequivocally, yes.

And to repeat what was quoted a few posts above, from Miguel Zugaza, director of the Prado museum:

"...I don't think one needs to abandon the idea that the museum is a little bit like a temple, or a sanctuary..."

Although I am not religious, I do respect those who are and their places of worship, for their cultural, historical and civilizational significance. I would enter churches with utmost respect, quietly, obeying whatever rules they impose.

Is it too much to ask that those who do not think that highly of art show similar respect for those of us who do (and our places of worship)?
Museums are monuments to man. That is not something I worship. I choose to worship God's creations in nature. You have a right to worship whatever you choose.

But let's examine what you wrote: "obeying whatever rules they impose" - When permitted photography, tourist do.  The curator (aka, your clergy) has blessed those tourists with permissions to use cameras and flashes.

If you wish to be the modern Martin Luther of Man Worshippers, go ahead and form your own temples and sanctuaries of your own hand. Build them, and deny your photographer friends from bringing in their disrespectful tools of copying and artistic expressions. Perhaps dress each entering in drab clothing to not distract others from the colors in the paintings. But why impose your rules on the curators given the true responsibilities of preserving these man-made artistic impression to more of the present and future generations? You can collect the masterpieces for a price and display them as you deem fit for eternity.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on September 02, 2012, 09:51:39 pm
... 200-300 years ago, the typical audience... brought food and wine into the concert hall and had a good natter and chat whilst the music was playing.

And threw food at the performers along with horse shit....

2,000-3,000 years ago, the typical audience would, with a flip of a thumb, have performers killed. Several hundred years ago, the typical audience would enjoy burning performers (a.k.a. witches) alive.

What's your point guys?
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: 32BT on September 02, 2012, 10:20:23 pm
But why impose your rules on the curators given the true responsibilities of preserving these man-made artistic impression to more of the present and future generations? You can collect the masterpieces for a price and display them as you deem fit for eternity.

Remember those enormous statues that were once part of our world heritage list, but clergyman of an unspecified religion decided that blowing them up was better suited to our spiritual well being?

Considering that blowing up stuff is more-or-less the number one mass entertainment feature on our mass entertainment medium of choice (TV), could I perhaps suggest we video tape the explosion of some of those crappy paintings as well as the buildings they reside in. Solves the entire problem.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Dohmnuill on September 03, 2012, 12:28:32 am
[ I would enter churches with utmost respect, quietly, obeying whatever rules they impose.

Is it too much to ask that those who do not think that highly of art show similar respect for those of us who do (and our places of worship)?]
[/quote]

Slobodan again writes commonsense. And plain good manners. (Manners - the art of making those around you comfortable.)

The sheer arrogance of the self-entitled brigade is breathtaking; there is no decorum they must follow, no interruption of their self-expression to be tolerated though it interferes with everyone else's experience.

Try that at another shrine encompassing the past - maybe Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unkown American Soldier; the immature and self-entitled will soon be shut up in no uncertain manner - it shocks them back to reality, and allows others to experience the place unmolested by their uneducated poor form.


                       
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: kencameron on September 03, 2012, 12:32:24 am
Contemplation might also allow participation or celebration?
Absolutely. And maybe also dissent. I won't be making any of the current multiple exhibitions of Damien Hirst's spot paintings, but I have seen a couple of them (the paintings) in the past, and if I were at one of the exhibitions, I would be tempted to (respectfully) roll my eyes. I hope this wouldn't interfere with anyone else's need to quietly contemplate. Historically, vigorous dissent has been an entirely legitimate part of the public response to a lot of paintings, from the Impressionists and Fauves to the Armory Show.
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Ray on September 03, 2012, 01:42:26 am
2,000-3,000 years ago, the typical audience would, with a flip of a thumb, have performers killed. Several hundred years ago, the typical audience would enjoy burning performers (a.k.a. witches) alive.

What's your point guys?


I think Stamper is referring to Vaudeville and Pantomime. My idea of having a good meal and a few glasses of fine wine whilst appreciating fine art, I think is very civilised.  ;D
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: stamper on September 03, 2012, 03:57:08 am
I think Stamper is referring to Vaudeville and Pantomime. My idea of having a good meal and a few glasses of fine wine whilst appreciating fine art, I think is very civilised.  ;D

Correct! It looks as if I will have to copy and quote everything in future to make sure it isn't misconstrued - deliberately or otherwise - to keep the thread civilised. Now if the posters wanting less noise will stop making a racket of their own this thread should terminate soon by it's own volition instead of the administrator bringing it to an abrupt end? :)
Title: Re: Are Museums Destroying Art?
Post by: Rob C on September 03, 2012, 05:55:53 am
I guess that everything on the Internet eventually dies from high doses of impasse.

The secret to mental, not to mention spiritual survival is to know when that point's been reached, and to give up wasting one's time any further.

I'm out.

Rob C