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- Cities & Museums as Memory Palaces
- Edible Art: Mark Rothko Cookies
- Fighting the Good Fight… But Better
Tag Archives: museums
Got this in my inbox and was curious. The app is pretty amazing. Tons of content for dozens of museums. Good stuff, Romania!
”Museums and Collections of Romania” (Muzee si Colectii din Romania), in Romanian and English, features over 900 Romanian museums and museum collections and more than 5200 photographs.
1. How to Steal a Million (1966)
Best museum heist movie of all time!
2. Topkapi (1964)
I’ve been to the museum and seen the dagger! I didn’t steal it though.
I’ve been to Brooklyn Museum many times and they don’t show precious gems, but this is an amazing movie. So good!!!
4. The Thomas Crown Affair (1997)
Rene Russo caused a splash by appearing nude as a woman over 40 years old. She looked fantastic. This shouldn’t be a surprise, nor should it have been “scandalous.”
5. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Hot. Hot. Hot! (Hot.)
6. The Score (2001)
8. F is for Fake (1973)
Watch the WHOLE thing on YouTube!!! Orson Welles!!!
9. Conformist (1970) — Musee D’Orsay when it was a train station
10. DaVinci Code (2006)
Starring: Hanksy Panksy
I guess you’ve got to include it. Not utterly horrible.
11. Once a Thief (1965) Not sure if there’s really a museum in this. Gotta watch it. Looks great.
Bonus Material!!! Online Clips and mini movies, etc.
There’s actually an old Doctor Who episode at the Louvre!
Other movies which feature museums prominently:
L.A. Story with Steve Martin (LACMA) HIGHLY Recommended.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Art Institute of Chicago) Duh. Awesome.
Woody Allen, multiple films (Mostly at the Met I think.) Can someone list ‘em in comments? I’ll mail you a prize!
As I stepped off the curb to cross Park Avenue this weekend, I was suddenly, vividly reminded of a Saturday last summer when the city closed the street to motor vehicle traffic and my fellow pedestrians and cyclists hit the pavement. The cool, early September afternoon was very different from that muggy, warm August morning, but walking onto the expansive boulevard jogged my memory of an event I haven’t thought of in months. I have moments like this all over the place. Big and small moments, tucked into corners of the city waiting for me to stumble upon them again.
One of the techniques for memorizing information is creating imaginary buildings where you can store tidbits of information. In your mind, you train yourself to walk inside the front door, turn left, go into a particular room, open a certain cupboard, and, oh! There’s that bit of information you needed to remember. In the case of my experience on Park Avenue, my city functioned as a real-life, physical memory palace, and a stroll was all it took to revisit my past self. As you spend time in a place, memories become stacked in locations you frequent like boxes on shelves, adding depth and complexity to the layers of meaning you’ve created in a place, and the city becomes home. You break it in, like a sturdy pair of shoes, and it belongs to you in a way that is unique and personal.
This doesn’t just happen on a grand, city-wide scale; it can happen with places you vacation, diners you always visit along a highway to your hometown, the airport you always get stuck in going to or fro. And it can happen with museums. Especially those sprawling, traditional museums that have long-term exhibits that you can visit multiple times. For me, it has happened with the Met – no matter how many times I climb those steps, it will probably always remind me of a field trip I took there in eighth grade. I also experience it with Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Visiting that constant museum is like going to see an old friend who always has your favorite drink on hand. Even though I know I’ll always be able to notice some detail anew there, it’s comforting to be able to go and visit my own memories of the museum, too.
Even as museums make great strides to engage with their publics on social media, or make their collections available online, or create digital walkthroughs of exhibits (all valuable distance and/or community-building engagement strategies), there’s nothing that replaces a first-hand experience of objects in the context of a museum. Much has been said of placing objects in environments that mimic their original contexts, but I’d also like to make a case for the museum context and its ability to link memory to place.
If the first visit to a museum is a gateway, an exciting and overwhelming glimpse of the scope of a museum, the second visit is the one that will really get visitors hooked. The disorientation of the first visit has (hopefully) passed. You know what to expect of the collection, and where to find it (at encyclopedia museums this is less true, but still applies). You know where the bathrooms are. The priority is no longer saying that you SAW THE MUSEUM, but that you deepened your knowledge of — and relationship to — it. The second visit to a museum is, in my view, the richer visit.
The tricky thing is, if someone isn’t already a museum person, they’re probably not going to think they need a second visit. Museums need to encourage and incentivize a second visit. Discounted return visits, membership deals, event calendars and programming can help, as can providing support to help people get to the museum. Teach high schoolers how to take public transit to your museum, give school kids tickets to return with their grown-ups, create serial programs that invite people directly to come back.
Once visitors return, they probably already have some memories stashed in some of your galleries. That eighth grade field trip on the steps of the Met. A first date in the giant heart at the Franklin Institute. A childhood play at a day camp at a local nature museum. A visit to a museum is a sensory experience — it’s easy to create strong memories in that context. People like to reflect on themselves and their experiences as much as they do on interesting objects. It helps them feel a personal connection and become invested in a place. Help visitors build their own memory palaces in your museum. When they bring friends, they’ll share the stories that they’re reminded of when they see the objects they’ve seen before, and their friends will have a new connection to the museum, too.
Museum professionals are often deeply invested in a collection, in the objects it contains, the value they hold, and the stories they tell – and rightly so. Objects make it into museum collections because they’re important, interesting pieces. For someone without deep knowledge of the field, though, the social – and, yes, nostalgic – reasons for visiting can be just as important as the educational ones. Those social visits inevitably include some learning on the side, which also gets stored away in the museum memory palace, to be unlocked again on the next visit. On that eighth grade field trip to the Met, I didn’t just etch those steps into my memory. That trip was also the first time I learned about the 19th century graffiti on the Temple of Dendur. More recently, I experienced the Temple lit on a Friday night, an image that also comes to mind when I enter the space, even during the day. All of these moments, and the conversations I’ve had with others about them, are part of the memory palace I’ve built within the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The more I visit, the more memories I have, the more invested I am in my experiences there, and the more I am inspired to learn about the collection. And every in-person visit I make to a physical museum helps to enrich my experience of the collection on each subsequent visit.
by Jen Oleniczak @TheEngagingEd
I was ready to start addressing #EduTues next week – then remembered it was National Arts in Education Week. Museum Education Bat Signal, especially with this week’s topic. Queens Museum asked the everlasting question “What’s the value of Arts in Education and how would you convince a non-believer?” While the value is discussed constantly, can we ever really answer this question? And is it worth the soapbox?
To all of us reading this article and supporting museums, of course the arts are important. We exist in a world where art and art education is imperative to development, creativity, advancement and existence. The #edutues conversation reflected this – the art and non-art educators (me included) hopped up on their soapboxes, made statements how important the arts are in education and went back to fighting the good fight. But what about the second half of the question? How do we convince the non-believers?
The first step – know what we are fighting. We are fighting budget cuts, people who think art education isn’t necessary, people who think art museums should be hands off places of worship. The people we need to convince are not the people already teaching art history, working at museums, showing students of all ages how to create. We need to convince the people outside of our art nerd world. And we need to convince them that art education isn’t just an elective or a ‘fun’ class. Through integration, it can enhance core subjects, increasing the value of education as a whole.
STEM to STEAM is the idea of arts integration within the STEM model – and not just tacked on to the side, dead in the center. Some cities are already embracing the trend, but all – even NYC, a city based in the epicenter of art – need work. Art shouldn’t just be another elective and add on class, it should be integrated through every subject. By integrating art into subjects like science and math, subjects whose value hasn’t been questioned, its’ worth becomes exponential, especially in reaching a wider range of students.
Museums and universities are teaming up to contribute to the ‘proof’ that the arts are essential to all fields. The careful observation required in art looking is being used to increase observational skills in medical professionals. Spending time with an art work indefinitely flexes critical looking skills that are not necessarily developed in other areas – and it’s amazing to think that doctors are using masterpieces like Rembrandt’s Self Portrait to help them diagnose patients better. It’s also creating an appreciation of art that people didn’t necessarily have before they started med school. And don’t we all want our doctors to pay more attention?
I usually shy away from politics, but business guru turned NYC Mayoral Candidate Jack Hidary has got some great views about arts and education. In his conversation with ArtsEdTechNYC last week, he talked about how companies are looking for employees with creative problem-solving skills. His statement of “I urge us to think beyond arts education as secondary,” made me want to jump on his political bandwagon and fix the $2 spent per student (down from $65!) on arts education. While he’s quietly maintaining his under-the-radar philosophy, he’s a force to watch in our fight. A believer in arts education and Bloomberg-esk businessman sense? Watch the whole conversation to make your own choice, but I’m sold.
Ignorance isn’t the answer. I was talking to a friend of mine about the Times article on museums that-must-not-be-named. He’s a museum lover and told me not to pay attention to the nay-sayers, just keep on dancing my dance. While there is merit in not letting critics get you down, being aware of the argument and the other side is imperative. If we aren’t listening to the critics, why should they listen to us?
So what of the rest of us? Aside from continuing to fight the good fight – we need to continue to raise awareness of the good that comes from art education. Contribute to the proof. We need to tweet, Instagram, blog about amazing teaching moments – we all have them and we talk to one another about them ALL THE TIME, but we need it to go further than our community. Find those brilliant cross connections and don’t let art just be an additional perk – ingrain it.
Any other amazing examples of art integration? Share away!
As I’ve gotten insanely busy, I thought I’d release what I’ve completed of the follow up to Best Art Exhibits 2011* Part 1. The last part will also have my “NYC Art Exhibit of the Year.” For now, here are ten more of the best art exhibits I experienced in 2011.
In rough chronological order of the Nerd’s visits…1. “Mark di Suvero” at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art (NYC)
2. “Alice Austen: Her Photographic Works” at Alice Austen House Museum (Staten Island)
4. “Washington Color and Light” at Corcoran Gallery (Washington, D.C.)
5. “Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities” at the Museum of Art and Design (NYC)
6. “North by New York” (Curators Rob Storr and Francesca Pietropaolo) at Scandinavia House (NYC)
7. “Chelpa Ferro: Visual Sound” at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT)
8. “Taking AIM and Bronx Calling: The First Artists in the Marketplace Biennial” at Bronx Museum and Wave Hill (Bronx)
9. “Loren Monk, Location, Location, Location: Mapping the New York City’s Art World” at Leslie Heller Workspace
10. “Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore” at the Jewish Museum (NYC)
It’s exciting times in nerd world these days. Stay tuned and we’ll see when I can get the next installment to you! (All of the above photos are my own, mostly culled from my Twitpic and my Foursquare.)
***edit*** Things got so busy that I never was able to add my last batch of great 2011 shows. Feel free to add your Best Art Exhibits of 2011 in the comments.
Note: A beautifully illustrated version of this post is now on Artlog here.
The Walker Art Center’s new website, www.walkerart.org, launched December 1, represents the most forward-thinking best practices in the museum field today. If you have even the slightest interest in contemporary art and culture, you’ll want to bookmark the website regardless of whether you live in Minneapolis, Minnetonka, or Mumbai. Before I jump into the specifics of the site, let’s take a little look at how a medium-sized museum in the middle of a great, but relatively remote, city has leapt (in my estimation) to the absolute forefront of the entire museum field.
Women Directors with Cojones
The Walker Art Center had long been on my radar before I’d even visited. This image of former director Kathy Halbreich sporting a bad-ass leather jacket became iconic in my mind as the image of a director who directs. Toward the end of her 16+ years at the Walker, Halbreich led the museum through a major renovation that brought it a lot of attention and press. Halbreich left the museum at the height of this publicity to join MoMA as an associate director where she’s unfortunately a bit less visible.
On the Walker’s blog, in an August 2007 farewell letter to Halbreich, Paul Schmelzer (who’s the editor of the new website*) cited that she had implemented, “a new Walker mission statement that emphasizes the engagement of both artists and audiences and a deeper understanding of society on individual, community, and global levels.” This legacy lives on in another bad-ass woman.
Contrary to what science might lead you to believe, the current Walker director, Olga Viso, has bigger balls than any other director out there! She’s decentralized power in a move that many museum higher-ups would be terrified of trying. A lot of top museums are still clinging to their authority, not just about the art that they collect and show, but in their implicit field of expertise. This is reflected on websites that don’t allow comments and interactions from outsiders aside from blogs buried several clicks off the home page.
The Walker Gains Power by Yielding Power
The secret weapon here is that this move to include content from unaffiliated sources on the Walker’s website will actually give the Walker more—and more lasting—power, as the “Idea Hub” Olga Viso describes positions the Walker as the locus of the smartest discourse about the content areas that are central to its mission.
This Is the Future of Museums
Of course actually seeing the art in person is an irreplaceable experience. No one, (except for some fear-mongering, recalcitrant, reactionary higher-ups and board members), is suggesting that a strong institutional web presence will replace the experience of going to see artworks in person. But many completely reasonable museum people still do ask the question, “Will your tweets get us more visitors?”
Walker’s website suggests a future in which visitorship is not indisputably the most important thing. Many funders still need to catch up to the idea that the museum can serve members of the public without ever having them walk through the doors of the “bricks and mortar” museum. Before you cry foul… I know that many museums directors who may appear to be resting on their laurels where the web is concerned, are actually hampered by misinformed funders who aren’t comfortable supporting the most visionary projects.
Folks are agreeing that the Walker’s new website is a “game changer” for the following reasons:
- It is the first major museum website with an editorial focus.
- It is the first major museum website to feature previews of articles from nonaffiliated sources on their home page. See the section: “Art News from Elsewhere”
- The articles include pieces from disparate sources including lesser-known blogs like Hyperallergic (for which I’ve written the occasional piece) right there next to The New York Times.
Taking a Page from the “Start-up” Playbook: The Walker Pivots
The Walker has made a power move. They’ve “pivoted,” exchanging one set of advantages for a different set. Let me explain. The Walker has long been seen as an important place for contemporary art. They’ve staged groundbreaking exhibitions that have traveled far and wide. They’ve also had a rich programming history.
Up until now, on their website and elsewhere, what the Walker was doing was always central and was broadcast outward to spark new conversations about the art and ideas around it. This is the model that most museums follow on the web. While the Walker will no doubt continue to do these things, they are the first major museum to see the future. Museums no longer need to think of their stakeholders as the people who come through the door. The Walker has positioned themselves at the center of the global conversation about contemporary art. By placing content of others (as well as excellent editorial content of their own) right there on their homepage, they’ve created a website you want to go to if you have any interest in contemporary art regardless of whether you’ll ever visit the museum.
They’re not just positioning themselves as an arbiter of taste (the connoisseurship thing has long been in every art museum’s bailiwick): the Walker is also placing themselves at the center of the conversation that their mission is all about.
I’ve long been saying that museums need to realize they can directly fulfill their missions (especially the educational aspect of those missions) through social media. Museums have often been very slow to catch on to this and only certain places, exemplified by SFMOMA and Brooklyn Museum, have been using social media in this manner and not primarily for marketing. We all read those marketing tweets all the time and if you’re not in the city, why the heck do you want to know that members get a special discount in the gift shop when they visit the museum?!
Now I see a model for best practices for using the museum website to directly fulfill its mission, but for a global audience and a globally, digitally connected constituency. I imagine it won’t be long before Walker Art Center starts seeing donations from people who’ve never visited the museum and have no immediate plans to do so.
*Paul asked me to change the original language which misstated that he “spearheaded” the new website. Paul’s modest. He went on in the email to say, “This isn’t really true. The Walker’s new media team has been working on this for a long time, and I was just brought on in mid-September, so I can’t take credit for the design. I don’t really design stuff, as my blog shows!“
ADDED 10/4/2011 – Link to an organized spreadsheet of these museums and more is HERE! Special thanks to superstar digital interns @PtheFigg, @MELgoesROAR, and @MarDixon. Additional assistance and teasing provided by the indefatigable @MuseumSukkel. – MN
Today I asked twitter friends to help me think of some “destination museums.”
Without a definition beyond the implications of the examples, responses were all over the map (literally and figuratively). Here are the responses pretty much in the order I received them and unedited.* All twitter handles should work as hot links and the date stamps should link to the original tweets.
And a bonus link to a New York Mag article on destination museums from Erin Goldberger a.k.a. thescrambledegg: i remembered reading this awhile ago when searching for bilbao nymag.com/arts/art/featu… – 4 hours ago