Friday, November 16, 2007


I thought Sharon Butler's piece on the mega-museum was good today:
The ergonomic appeal, original charm, and traditional character of an old museum may also suffer on account of too much "improvement" too fast. Mega-museums can simply overwhelm viewers. A dizzying array of temporary exhibitions compete for attention alongside already abundant permanent collections, and after scurrying willy-nilly among them, visitors leave feeling as though they haven't seen anything in depth. While the Museum of Modern Art in New York, vastly expanded in 2004, in some ways remains a fine example of modernist restraint, many patrons now complain of its coldness and daunting size.
Minneapolis just redeveloped, redesigned, and relaunched its two major museums: the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art Museum. Now these two museums include expansive gift shops, thousands of square feet of brand-name gallery space, and pricey restaurants and cafes. While I think they were met with enthusiasm for a flashy new museum, it seems that the excitement will fade quickly.

There's something to be said for going to a museum and feeling like you truly experienced the small space, rather than sprinting through something like the expansive MoMA.

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