Top Five Reasons Museums Suck
I really hate lists but I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. I’m a fan of the small galleries, the little museums, the ones that actually find talent and promote it when it’s difficult to do. Every time I go to the big places I find myself wishing I had pre-gamed. Which leads me to the first point…
5. They’re BORING
There are very few places I’ve been to that have actually held my attention for more than 20 minutes. Why are museums and art galleries so boring? The art tends to be academic and it’s about as interesting a precocious grad student’s thesis. It’s a rare find when a piece really has something to say that doesn’t necessarily need to be explained to you by the artist. I think artists should have almost nothing to say about their work, instead they thump you over the head with their ‘interpretation’.
4. They’re BEHIND
Museums are behind on presentation. The white cube is over. It’s time for a change. So many small galleries, even artists themselves, are pushing for a new way to interact with art. It’s enough with the clinical white walls and the oddly looping video montages. We literally have virtual reality, augmented reality, and an exploding foldable phone. Video game designers are more creative when making Pokemon games than professional artists/gallerists. Why the fuck would anyone go look at bland paintings, in a boring room?
3. They’re IMPERSONAL
You know what I like about small galleries and museums? Kvetching with the owners and staff. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to the owner/trustee/board member/head priest of any of the big museums I’ve been to. Why would they talk to me? I’m nobody. In small galleries though everyone is passionate about the artists, the art, and of course the gallery because its their place. They want to get to know you and you can develop a relationship. The high school student who’s working for free in large museums is going to be gone the next time your grandmother takes you there when they set her free from the home.
2. They’re TOO BIG
This is just physical. It’s too much walking. It’s like 5 rooms of crap that you have to walk through just to get bored. It sucks. And there’s aren’t enough benches. AND you can’t lean against the walls.
1. They don’t TAKE RISKS
This is really the root of all their problems. They don’t exist to take risks. Art is supposed to say something and to make people think dangerously. When was the last time you read something interesting about an art exhibition in the local paper? Sometimes the arts editor fawns over this and that but when does something actually get the city talking? Never. Therein lies the major failure of art museums; they don’t think differently. They’re failing to make art relevant. For creatives, they’re really uncreative.
No one wants to lose face, to risk a reputation. But art, and anything worth something, is about risk. Without it the visual arts will fossilize like opera and, like opera, it’ll only be of interest to the other fossils who watch it.