The museum in D.C. is really a narrative museum - the nature of a people and how you represent that story. Whereas the Studio Museum is really a contemporary art museum that happens to be about the diaspora and a particular body of contemporary artists ignored by the mainstream. The Studio Museum has championed that and brought into the mainstream. So the museums are like brothers, but different.
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I wonder if we are seeing a return to the object in the science-based museum. Since any visitor can go to a film like Jurassic Park and see dinosaurs reawakened more graphically than any museum could emulate, maybe a museum should be the place to have an encounter with the bony truth. Maybe some children have overdosed on simulations on their computers at home and just want to see something solid--a fact of life.
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My education in the arts began at the Cleveland Museum of Art. As a Cleveland child, I visited the museum's halls and corridors, gallery spaces and shows, over and over. For me, the Cleveland Museum was a school of my very own - the place where my eyes opened, my tastes developed, my ideas about beauty and creativity grew.
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I think about museums often. There are things that I want museums to do that they often don't. For me, I like it when there's a system within the museum that can continuously change - whether it's a museum that is nomadic or one that's designed so the building can shape-shift. I like restless spaces, and I want to be engaged.
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If magic is energy, then using it is about guiding it's flow rather than possessing it and squirreling it away. Some people seem to me to approach magic as though adding spells and charms and even gurus to their museum - sometimes a secret museum. My worry is that this leaves you weighed down with exhibits too precious to use or to let go of when you need to move on.
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Variety is alive and well. It has changed enormously over the years, with performers breathing new life into old acts. The opening of the national museum is a dream come true for us but the last thing we want it to be is a museum of variety. It is something that will go with variety into the future.
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What a museum chooses to exhibit is sometimes less important than how such decisions are made and what values inform them. To have the crucial role of museum professionals usurped by self-serving tycoons in the name of economic imperative threatens not only the integrity of individual institutions but the very principle of art held in public trust.
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'Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era,' the Whitney Museum's 40th-anniversary trip down counterculture memory lane, provides moments of buzzy fun, but it'll leave you only comfortably numb. For starters, it may be the whitest, straightest, most conservative show seen in a New York museum since psychedelia was new.
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What I think about when I frequent the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan [Museum of Art], and I look at these artifacts that are taken out of context and how we're forced to view them as objects, as relics, as sculpture- static. But what's interesting is what it allows me to do in my head in terms of imagining what the possibilities are or imagining the role in which they played within a particular culture which I'm fascinated by.
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I'm noticing a new approach to art making in recent museum and gallery shows. It flickered into focus at the New Museum's 'Younger Than Jesus' last year and ran through the Whitney Biennial, and I'm seeing it blossom and bear fruit at 'Greater New York,' MoMA P.S. 1's twice-a-decade extravaganza of emerging local talent.
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[Cameras] tend to turn people into things and the photograph extends and multiplies the human image to the proportions of mass-produced merchandise and, [in the age of photography] the world itself becomes a sort of museum of objects that have been encountered before in some other museum and to say that the camera cannot lie is merely to underline the multiple deceits that are now practiced in its name.
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When I decided to go to art school, it wasn't necessarily something I thought I needed. No one talked about graduate school when I was an undergrad. I went on to a residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and that transition from Yale to the Studio Museum, that was the real beginning of my professional career.
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When I was sixteen and knew nothing about art, I sat through almost six hours of Andy Warhol's Empire. I did not understand it but thought: this is in a major museum, it must be important, what is going on here? I stayed until the museum closed. His Screen Test films are some of my favorite works made this century, but you need to give them back the time they took to be made.
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It took the Metropolitan Museum of Art nearly 50 years to wake up to Pablo Picasso. It didn't own one of his paintings until 1946, when Gertrude Stein bequeathed that indomitable quasi-Cubistic picture of herself - a portrait of the writer as a sumo Buddha - to the Met, principally because she disliked the Museum of Modern Art.
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When I became director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it was stodgy, gray, run by elitists. I said, 'Hey, let's kick the thing around.' I wanted to attract young people to the museum. I said, 'Make it hospitable. I want them to come. I want them to make dates, pick up girls, pick up boys - either way; I don't care.'
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There was a belief after World War I that painting could be an act of civil revolt. I want this exhibition, 'New Museum,' to be an act of civil disobedience. It's not so much about the New Museum on the Bowery, but the idea of challenging museums as projections of cultural authority. It's painting as insurgency.
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I strongly believe that we can create a poverty-free world, if we want to.... In that kind of world, [the] only place you can see poverty is in the museum. When school children will be on a tour of the poverty museum, they will be horrified to see the misery and indignity of human beings. They will blame their forefathers for tolerating this inhuman condition to continue in a massive way.
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I went to art school... but I worked at the Museum of Modern Art. I worked in fundraising at the information membership desk. I ended up, over a period of time, doubling the amount of membership revenue that came in through people entering the museum, so people would ask me to come and work for them.
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The museum is full of interesting things. All kinds of paintings are there. And then paintings too thick to put in a frame, that they call sculpture. And then there are spectators. with their scorecards, rooting for culture. And spectators of the spectators, looking for love's introduction. And art students taking notes. And old women trying to remember the past. And old men with too much to forget. And tourists, thinking that a museum represents a city. And loafers so poor, they study their soberness here.
Marvin L. Cohen
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'The Love of a Mother' celebrates the enduring theme of motherhood in art, one that has inspired master artists for centuries. Most of the works in the show come from the Columbus Museum's collection, but we've also added some important pictures, including canvases by Renoir and Chagall, from other museum collections. Together, these works should give audiences new appreciation for the importance of the mother and child subject through the ages and the many ways in which artists interpreted it.
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My form is more on the lines of a Chinese porcelain-jar juggler. They learn it as a child. They learn, learn, learn, learn - but not with a porcelain jar. Then, when they're ready to perform, they're taken to a museum, and they're given a porcelain jar for a lifetime to use. When they're done, it's returned to the museum.
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Some people have criticized the United States and the United States military for guarding oil fields and not guarding the Iraqi National Museum which had priceless antiquities in it. They say that this shows a fundamental lack of respect for Iraqi history. I want to remind those people of this: The oldest relics in the museum, 5,000 or 6,000 years old. That oil is 65 million years old. You had to guard that. ... Those antiquities will only last another 5,000 or 6,000 years. When we burn that oil, those fumes will linger long after.
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