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Posts Tagged ‘Museum Ethics’

It is no surprise that museums are utilizing social media as yet another avenue to reach out to their audiences. In fact, if you are reading this blog post, then you are using social media to connect with the New Britain Museum of American Art in a digital way! These 21st century types of connections are quickly becoming major trends within the museum world. With technology constantly reinventing itself, it is almost certain that the continual  redefinition and evolution of “social media” will be occur over the next decade. (more…)

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How much does the physical setting in which works of art are presented matter? Works put in contest of their original physical setting (such as churches and homes) can change the perception of the objects, as context endows certain values.

In the same way that a temple can plays a key role in the interpretation of the art within, the museum organizes the visitor’s experience, and the guest engages in an activity much like a ritual. The objects in the museum become its voice and face, and the decorative elements form a logical whole as an iconographic program that clarifies purpose. Although the museum is a ceremonial monument, the conventional art historian may ignore the meaning the work acquires in the museum, insisting on the viewer’s own experience of the art shaped by the artist’s intention. (more…)

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The Arts of America Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Arts of the Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The new Arts of Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opened on November 20, 2010. The Wing was planned to bring together a more inclusive vision of “American” Art and its 53 galleries that house over 5,000 works. After a recent visit, it is safe to say that the new galleries do a remarkable job of presenting a cohesive display of the MFA’s vast and impressive collection. The Wing is divided into four floors,  arranged chronologically, each consisting of differing aesthetic interiors that compliment the works on display. (more…)

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di Vanni & di Lorenzo's "The Anunciation"

The Anunciation, ca. 1430. Stefano d’Antonio di Vanni (1405-1483) and Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452). Tempera and gold leaf on panel, 64 ¾ x 56 15/16 x 10 in. Walters Museum of Art, Acquired by Henry Walters, 37.448

Across the world, religion and art have long been tied together. Religious objects are often artistically embellished and art objects have been executed with religious themes. Although these particular practices are not as prevalent as they once were, art is still used to explore religious themes. Interestingly, artists, collectors, curators and publishers are finding this vein to be a contentious issue. (more…)

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The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet, ca. 1621-1623. Hieronymus Fracken II (1578-1623) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625). Oil on panel. 37 x 48 9/16 in. The Walters Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1948, 37.2010

Folk and native arts have inspired a number of art movements and styles throughout history, including Exoticism, Orientalism, Japonisme, Primitivism and Cubism. However, the imitation, display and depiction of such people and their art has often been a contentious topic in the art world. Items ranging from African masks to Shaker furniture were originally created for a purpose—i.e. ritual or practical use—with no intention or desire that they be displayed in a museum. Although museum accession is one of the highest accolades for most Western artists, it can be seen as a great disservice to those outside of this culture. (more…)

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Portrait of George Washington, or, The Athenaeum, 1796. Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828). Oil on canvas, 39.76 × 34.65 in. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

What exactly constitutes a finished work of art? Is it when an artist deems the work is complete? Does a signature mean they have “signed off” on it? What if the completion of a work was prevented by circumstances outside of the artist’s control, such as death? If left incomplete, should it not be displayed? Or do incomplete paintings show us another facet of an artist’s skill?

The emergence of Impressionism during the nineteenth-century challenged the traditional criteria for a finished work. Impressionists were criticized for their loose brushstrokes, dash-like preliminary sketches, and the unfinished look of their canvases. “To attract the attention of his or her contemporaries and to survive in the historical canon, an artist needed to create a personal identity rather than imitate a formulaic style, even if self-reliance and resistance to tradition were regarded as intransigent.”[1] Artists strived to identify their individual style through exhibiting works the historical canon would have regarded as incomplete. Is it valid to argue that a work is unfinished if the artist feels it is complete? (more…)

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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. American Wing expansion under construction. Fall, 2008.

Museums constantly have to address the lack of space they have to display artwork in their ever-expanding collections. When faced with this issue, enlarging a museum’s gallery space appears to be the logical solution and, now, the norm. In some circumstances, it allows a museum to prosper and shine. However, the expansion is a risk and if it is unsuccessful it could destroy the integrity of the museum. In the past five years, many major museums have undertaken expansions on a variety of levels. Some have made the news, for both good and bad reasons. All the critics ask, “do the pros outweigh the cons? What is the cost to the museum, beyond financially? Is the original mission damaged? The collection? How does this change the course of the museum’s future?”
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Almost daily we hear about better ways of going “green” and it appears that the trend to be environmentally friendly has hit the art world to. Artists are now beginning to find a new medium to work with: recycled objects. Their inspirations are drawn from a wide variety of subject matter, such as classical imagery, models, ideals, or simply finding an aesthetic way to display “trash.”

Vollis Simpson, 91, is a self-taught artist who makes sculptures out of steel and aluminum. His sculptures, windmills, andwhirligigs are constructed of old fans, washing machine parts, or whatever he finds in the junkyard. However, Simpson has only recently become a full time artist. (more…)

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The “@” Symbol, recently added to the collection of the MoMA

Webster’s dictionary defines art as, “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” According to this definition, it is almost easier to define the action of doing art, rather than what it actually is.
Does art need to have a concept or a story, or could it just simply follow the autonomy of art for art’s sake? If an object is seen as aesthetically pleasing shouldn’t it be considered art?  Regardless of an object’s use in daily life, if it is pleasing to look at, should it be displayed? (more…)

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SKIN FRUIT: John Bock, Maltratierte Fregatte, 2006/07. Installation with mixed mediums, dimensions variable; video Maltratierte Fregatte, 66:41 min; and video Untergang der Medusa, 9:37 min. The Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens.

Should museums allow artists to curate shows in which their work is featured? Since Jeff Koons’ acceptance to curate an exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art  which opened this week , onlookers have voiced their feelings of apprehension towards the Museum’ choice. The main point of contention is that Koons’ own work plays a vital roll in the collection that is exhibited. How can an artist give an educational and objective view of work that is his own? Furthermore, the show focuses on works from the private collection of Greek billionaire, Dakis Joannou who is not only a trustee of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, but also a close friend of Koons and his number one supporter. Some have raised the concern that this is a major conflict of interest, since the Museum has to spend almost no money to borrow works for the show, and every piece of art included will increase in value from being exhibited. It appears that both Koons and the Museum could jeopardize their reputation if the public is displeased with the overall exhibit’s final result. (more…)

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