Is Blockbuster Lust Making Museums Cogs in the Exhibition-Industrial Complex?

A 4134Blake Gopnik, writing for The Art Newspaper, interviews a slew of museum professionals from established East Coast institutions (the lenders) about the ever-increasing dominance of exhibitions, and the attendance boost they bring, over collections as the focus of the museum world. Together , they worry over the physical hazards of constantly moving art from place to place, as well as the erosion of the museum as a space for repeated, contemplative visits.

Seen from Texas, the piece reads like a rearguard action against the democratization and distribution of culture paid for by rich, johnny-come-lately  museums like the DMA (the Cindy Sherman retrospective now at the DMA is one of Gopnik’s first examples) or the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Ironically, Gopnik describes how his “future as an art historian was sealed during a week spent in the Prado’s collection in my teens.” For Houston art-historians-in-embryo who aren’t planning a visit to Madrid this week, a blockbuster loan show “Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces of the Prado,” exactly the kind of superficial summary Gopnik decrys, is on view at the MFAH right now.

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2 responses to “Is Blockbuster Lust Making Museums Cogs in the Exhibition-Industrial Complex?”

  1. Prado closed on March 31st.

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