The Wall Street Journal’s 10/23 article, “Everybody’s An Art Curator” discusses the growing trend in crowdsourcing or engaging the public in shaping museum exhibitions. Give it a read here.
It seems to me that the author is reading the criticisms of these types of exhibits incorrectly. The controversy is not really over whether there is a right or wrong way for museums to exhibit art work (or whether someone with a Howl tattoo should be trusted to experiment with the form-that was an odd mention!). I think the real story is that those of us steeped in fine arts education are having experiences of discomfort or dissatisfaction or disconnect with particular shows. We are irked to be asked to read art differently or see it through a different set of eyes.
The real story is that some arts professionals are having the “that’s not me” experience that the vast majority of the public has when they go to museums and galleries. I say let’s have more of these uncomfortable experiences. Let our museums be spaces where a variety of publics can create connection and meaning. Let them take us beyond our familiar and be safe places to explore our differences- and our discomforts with those differences.
Follow the Museum 2.0 Blog to dive more deeply into this conversation about the expanding roles museums can play.