Saturday, August 22, 2009

#28 Art Museums in America

People are famous when they don’t have to tell strangers who they are or what they do. People recognize film and TV personalities because they know who they are and what they do. In other not so glamorous careers, recognition is more limited to place of sighting. For example, a famous soccer player might be recognized on a soccer field, whereas on the street he would not. I’m sure if a famous doctor were to visit a major hospital word would soon spread throughout the building that Dr. so and so was in the house. But when an artist walks into a major art museum no one notices. Even if that artist has a painting hanging on the wall he/she would still not be recognized. Most of the people who go to art museums, or those who work in them for that matter, couldn’t match an artist to his/her painting even if the artist were standing in front of it.

In America an artist in an art museum is just another tourist. I was asked once if it was hard to get into the (house) painters union when I told someone I was a painter. That’s why I don’t care to go to museums anymore; they are not about art and artists, they are about tourists, fancy buildings, and high-donor socialites. When a high-donor socialite walks into an art museum there is a whole lot of bowing and scraping going on. They get a personal tour with a gaggle of nodding and smiling staff members. A donor is about the money - an artist, well, and artist is just about the art. Money trumps art every time. What museums hang on their walls could be anything done by anybody. The public doesn’t seem to know or care. Americans assume that what they see must be good art or it wouldn’t be in an art museum.

No comments:

Post a Comment