viernes, 30 de septiembre de 2011

Are museums bad at telling us why art matters?

En este debate celebrado en la Saatchi Gallery a finales del pasado mes de junio hay, literalmente, de todo. Pero la primera parte de la intervención de Alain de Botton a propósito de las "explicaciones" más comunes al sentido del arte contemporáneo...

[Museums]... They do a lot of things very well: wonderful restaurants, splendid giftshops, all sorts of things... But at the deepest level museums fail [...] and the reason they fail is that they are so boring, and the reason why they are so boring is that they refuse to tell us what art is for. And it isn't museum's fault, it's the fault of our culture. We have not, as people, as a generational unit been able to come up with convincing explanations of why art matters.
There are three answers out there: the Modernist response [...] is that this is an illegitimate and vulgar question... To ask what something is means that you don't understand it, it means that you are stupid, which is why so often, in museums, the dominant feeling is one of puzzlement; the dominant feeling is that someone, somewhere, understands what a particular work means, but we are somehow puzzled [...] but we are very good because we know what happened to Van Gogh, we know how everybody laughed, so we are not going to make that mistake, so we are going to stay silent if we have doubts, we are going to keep those doubts very very private [...] but in our hearts we are going to think "what on earth was that about? very often".
The other response to art and its meaning is the idea that art is there for art's sake [...] There was a terrific movement in the ninetinth century that continues this day which is to say that art automatically becomes debased if it tries to speak up for some vision of life. [...] very quickly you are in a slippery slope, and in the bottom of that slope there are two people: Hitler and Stalin. So you've got to be very careful that your art is not mistaken for propaganda, and the best way to do that is to say that is just for art's sake. And if somebody comes up to you asking what it means or what you care about or how you think society should be arranged, if you have a political vision, if you care deeply about things... You don't give an answer.

... y los cerca de diez mordaces minutos (comenzando en el 23) de Ben Lewis (el de The Great Contemporary Art Bubble) sobre la diferencia entre valor artístico y valor de mercado, merecen la pena:

"Contemporary art has become part of the marketing strategy [...] and that is why the British Museum exhibited Hirst' skulls two years ago, and that is why they then refused to let me film it for the BBC, because they knew that I was likely to be critical about it. Museums have become not just advertisement PR Agencies for art... It's worse, they have become cultural fascists who tolerate no opposition voices. Heretics such as myself must be excommunicated. [...] Museums are very good indeed telling us that art matters, but they are bad at telling us why art matters [...] Museums, in short, have become too weak in relation to billionaire donors and star artists and in relation to the typhoon-like forces of celebrity and media. But it's not their fault. They need us, the public, to exert more pressure on them to tell us why art really matters.

También vale la pena escuchar a Chris Dercon, Director de la Tate, hablando de una realidad museística que, al menos yo, no tengo el placer de conocer, y rehuyendo el análisis de las críticas que las intervenciones anteriores ponen sobre la mesa. Si a estas alturas de la película el mejor argumento para demostrar que el museo es una plataforma abierta de diálogo es que tiene muchos visitantes (y fans en Facebook), apaga y vámonos.

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