The theme of this week’s readings was a discussion of how the online exhibit is coming to replace the traditional museum experience. In Art in America, the authors specifically noted how many of their peers willingly avoided exhibits because they felt they got all they needed, just from the pictures online. I appreciated how the Met, as mentioned in the Times article, used their online presence to give visitors a behind the scenes look at the museum’s new artworks, like showing the piece being unwrapped upon arrival. I believe that things like this are the best way to ensure that the tangible museum remains relevant: giving some of the picture but not all of it to entice viewers to visit, unlike the institutions which show all of their collection in an online database.
This made me wonder about the benefit of being able to take pictures in museums at all. In the Art in America piece, the authors mentioned Domino’s Sugar Baby, an anatomically accurate and enormous nude woman/ sphinx Karen Walker made of Domino’s sugar. I remember at the time of the exhibit SO MANY people were taking pictures to make it look like they were doing inappropriate things with the sculpture. Here are some examples:
We have become desensitized to blatantly disrespectful behavior in public for the sake of online virility, and users may err on the side of trivializing artwork to make it social media friendly. The respectful, quiet behavior that was expected in the museum setting is no longer a social norm. I believe the only way to solve this may be to forbid people from taking pictures in the museum altogether.