A panel on “The Changing Landscape of Museums Today” coincided with the release of the Asia Society Museum’s anthology of essays, Making a Museum in the 21st Century. Responding to a question asked by Josette Sheeran, president and chief executive officer of the Asia Society—“What does a successful museum look like in the twenty-first century?”—the museum directors Richard Armstrong and Melissa Chiu talked about collections, buildings, and exhibitions, while the bureaucrat Tom Finkelpearl zeroed in on diversity and audience.
In April 1968, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York brought together museum professionals, academics, and computer technologists from IBM for a “Conference on Computers and Their Potential Applications in Museums.” A postconference report,” said Ross Parry, senior lecturer and college academic director in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, indicated that participants and attendees imagined their technological future in the year 1980. They envisioned a computerized image-search database that would allow a person to pull up any artwork that depicted, for example, “sailing vessels,” or to get information on objects in storage or from other museums. “This was reverie,” said Parry, of these predictions for a digital institution.
The internet was once the “meat market for the undatable,” said the journalist Erica Lumière. Now, meeting people online for dating and sex has nearly become completely normalized in American culture. Which is good news, especially for couples who no longer must make excuses for how they met—“at a party,” “through mutual friends,” or something of the sort—and just say “on OKCupid” without feeling ashamed. In fact, men and women older than fifty is the largest growing segment of online dating (and the market cornered by a company called Our Time).
Paperweight, a new organization founded by the artist Jesse Hlebo, was born because, it seems, people involved in producing artist’s books and related cultural publications feel that something needs to be done but aren’t sure exactly what. This evening’s conversation, involving more than a dozen participants seated at a long single table in the Museum of Modern Art Research Library’s reading room, was held to help pinpoint those purposes.
Moderated by the painter Annika Connor, “Art outside the Gallery” addressed the ways in which savvy promoters can reach audiences for art beyond the traditional white cube. Connor activated the entrepreneurial side of her practice ten years ago, after graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with many unanswered questions about the workings of the art world. Back then professional development and advice for artists, through books, workshops, and classes, had not yet fully developed into the cottage industry it is today.
Since it’s 2011 and we live in a high-tech, wired world, organizations with adequate funding can take advantage of the wonders of the internet. In the case of the “Creative Time Summit: Living as Form,” this means offering live streaming video and the on-demand recall of it. While tuning into the summit yesterday for a couple hours, listening to speakers’ choppy accents on choppy video, I noticed, on a little counter in the corner of the video screen, that no more than 270 people had been watching.
For her lecture at Hunter College, Chrissie Iles, curator of film and video at the Whitney Museum of American Art, gave a basic overview of projection art (film, video, slides) from the 1960s to the present. It was an engaging talk with a lot of images to look at. I asked a question during the postlecture Q&A session, though not as articulately as I would have liked. I queried her on why artists haven’t explored—or appropriated—modes of distribution through Netflix (for rentals) or Amazon (for sales).