Sunday, August 7, 2011

Museum standards

I took this picture in an unnamed museum this past week. Several thoughts came to mind:

That no matter how hard you and your team might work, something as insignificant as this--a registrar's identification tag sticking out from behind a painting--can sink the way the public sees you. Reminds me of my first visit to the new Tate building that had shoe prints on the wall. It was mid-week--the staff had at least a few days to clean up from weekend crowds. Sloppy!

Museums are a tough balance between asking broad, intelligent questions about material, social, political and cultural life and the pernicious details of crossing t's and dotting i's.

Having started off as a cataloguer at the Museum of Modern Art, I crossed a lot of t's. In my current post I am looking at some of the bigger questions that artists can help us as a society address. Keeping these poles of activity together is a tough task, but it separates the good institutions from the mediocre.


  1. I whole-heartedly agree, Marilu. As a gallery preparator/art handler I can tell you that the large institution that I work for, schedules and deadlines are getting tighter and more strenuous. We simply are not alloted the time to do as much touch-up work as needed. Shows that were normally alloted 30 days to install are expected to get done in two weeks. I find it to be a lose-lose situation, footprints and registrar's identification tags may be a result of less funding and turning the institution into a entertainment venue.

  2. Hi Harvey, nice to hear from you! And no doubt you recognize that painting? How are you doing in LA? m