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More art museum blockbusters are what’s needed


by Jerome Weeks 2 Apr 2008

It’s an unusual position for an art critic to take. But Martin Gayford believes that the problem with many blockbusters — as opposed to the more educational, more serious explorations of a museum’s permanent collection or of out-of-the-way topics — is the kind of “fat, popular” blockbusters museums have been producing: “Our institutions also ought to […]

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It’s an unusual position for an art critic to take. But Martin Gayford believes that the problem with many blockbusters — as opposed to the more educational, more serious explorations of a museum’s permanent collection or of out-of-the-way topics — is the kind of “fat, popular” blockbusters museums have been producing: “Our institutions also ought to provide what the public doesn’t yet know it likes.”

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  • Bill M.

    I’m generally against the big “Treasures of…(insert ancient empire/decadent dynasty here).” But I think there’s a real need for massive public showings of certain kinds of discredited art. 19th-century academic painting and sculpture, for example. Certain kinds of regional American art. Illustration from the Golden Age of magazines.

  • I’ve suggested in my Dallas publication a totally different approach that takes museums out of their ivory towers and puts them on the road. Paintings are the last art to be mass produced. Think what that did for books, music, or film.
    We are a nation of paperbacks, cd’s, and DVD’s. We are a nation obsessed by those three arts but not so much painting.
    Yet now there is technical ability to both reproduce paintings and mass market them.
    Think what it would be like to have a single copy of every Van Gogh painting together in one show. Because they are copies they can travel. You could put them all on a truck and take them to every town anywhere. Sure Dallas sees some Van Goghs now and then, but how about ALL Van Goghs to Tyler or Longview? You could show the copies in a school auditorium.
    That’s the future. Let the Museums sell copies of their art like records – with a royalty on each. And let them keep their treasures safe while their clones travel the world.
    That is the real blockbuster!