Reading Response #5

I like that in Key Concepts of Museology, ideas of collection, exhibition, object, museum, and mediation are also examined in a context not necessarily connected to museums (except for the museum section). Especially this past month, taking two classes relating to museums, I forget that these concepts have their own definitions on their own outside of museums. Collections don’t have to be formally or professionally curated, as I used to collect quarters and rocks and other things as a child and that qualifies as a collection just as much as a fine arts collection of Monet paintings. With exhibition, I found it interesting that in French it means the same as exposition, but for me and how I’ve learned the term, exposition is the beginning part of the story where plot develops and things progress before the climax. I found the evolution of the museum definition interesting, as over time it seems to have moved from physical tangible 3D objects only, to include intangible objects. Especially with art museums, I see more works that involve performance or interaction as part of the piece, something which is not tangible. Their definition of virtual made me a little uncomfortable, particularly when they said that an egg is a virtual chicken, programmed to grow up (even though I see how it is true).

I’m surprised I didn’t think to compare museums with libraries before. Thinking about it, they are quite similar, although libraries are more interactive than museums and tend to hold only books while museums hold more media of objects. Regarding the point of museums being less accessible than libraries, I do agree. People who go to libraries generally already know how to read before entering, but people going to museums may not know how to look at art the way the artist intended for it to be critically looked at. I do believe it is the museum’s job to make exhibits and pieces more accessible to understand, as I’ve been to exhibits with dense texts on plaques that are hard to read and easy to miss or ignore. However, I also like that a lot of art can be easily accessible because it is meant to be open to interpretation. Some pieces are meant for people to see through the lens of their background and see it in their own individual way, which is one of the things I love about art. In terms of knowing if a work works, I feel that many museums remove the artist from the viewers. I do wish that there was more connection and feedback. Last week at the Kunsthalle, Sarah and I saw an interactive piece that we really enjoyed and Sarah talked to someone nearby about her opinions on the piece, and it turned out this person was friends with the artist and that he would pass on the feedback! These situations are rare, and I wish they could happen more.

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