Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 7 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Are Museums Destroying Art?  (Read 15760 times)
HJW
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 6


« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2012, 12:25:16 PM »
ReplyReply

Or are there simply too many people everywhere?

I think that's really the heart of the problem.

When i first visited the Louvre about 50 years ago, I was not exactly alone but I certainly didn't feel the presence of people as an obstacle in any way. I could walk up to the Mona Lisa and look at the painting for as long as I wanted to, and din't feel I was hindering anyone else. I took a photo of it at that time, as I did most times when I came back. The last time I didn't as such; I just took a picture of it hung high above the crowds in its glass cage, with a hundred or more people jostling below.

Flash annoys me most times; even when I have to do it for commercial photography. It annoys me when people take a photo from a balcony of fireworks, and they use flash. It annoys me when they stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and use flash. It annoys me when I'm looking across a room and someone fires a flash at me. And it annoys me when a lot of people use their flash to take a picture of a painting.

However, it also annoys me when I walk into a gallery to see a particular item and I see 5 tour groups crowded around the piece, with one group having it explained to them and 4 groups waiting. This is just the world of today, with easy travel and worldwide tourism. A lot of the world's great pieces of art are, shall we say, popular. Surprise.

As other posters have noted, they (and I) take pictures of pictures and other pieces in museums for various reasons. For memories, to investigate them further when we get home, to remind us of details; whatever. I see nothing wrong with that.

Unending growth in populations, economies, tourism, earth exploitation; that's a huge problem. Photography in museums? Not really a problem.

Henning
Logged
kwalsh
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 89


« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2012, 01:59:25 PM »
ReplyReply

If I put my cynical hat on, I'd say that too many landscape photographers and/or readers of this forum dare not venture more than 30 yards from their car.

97% of Yosemite N.P. is wilderness and the 3% that isn't wilderness is probably the limit of what 97% of its visitors visit. If anyone thinks that Yosemite N.P. is defined by Yosemite Valley then they haven't really explored Yosemite N.P. at all.

What is really amazing about Yosemite N.P. is that it makes the wilderness accessible. It allows us to be in the landscape and if you're adventurous, part of the landscape.

I only wish that there were more national parks like Yosemite N.P. that reinforced the value of nature. Actually, the Grand Canyon could probably also be put into that basket, along with Glacier National Park.

Yes, this jives with my point.  I was specifically referring to the valley floor with its shops, traffic, mega-campgrounds, and perpetual smoke haze - not the entire NP which also includes amazing back country and even other beautiful "car friendly" spots like Tuolumne with far less visitation.  It is the valley floor I avoid, love the rest of the park.  Lets not forget as well the fact that most western NPs also "anchor" large surrounding tracts of NF or BLM land with extensive wilderness areas of their own.  Similarly, one could refer to the South Rim of Grand Canyon as a "sacrifice" for the vast tracks of beauty and solitude elsewhere in that park.  There are these small places that are "over-run" and "ruined" (by some standards) and is easy to bemoan the loss of them and complain about their management - but they are not the only part of the park and they enable the protection of the large swaths of land for those who like the solitude as well as the protection of real habitat.

So to do we have "over-run" artworks that provide for the preservation and presentation of endless galleries of "lesser" works to be appreciated by those willing to take the time and effort to do so.

What still impresses me when I do venture into the crowded areas on occasion is the tremendous effort the NP system puts into educating the visitors not just about the geology, botany, etc. but also engendering an appreciation and respect for the wilderness to those who may be experiencing it for the first time.  Go to "the viewpoint" of a park and almost always there is a ranger right there interacting with people right as they leave their car.  Somehow the NP system has made the ranger one of the most respected government employees who visitors flock to with honest appreciation and interest.  I really don't get the sense the same thing is happening at tourist museum destinations.  There the much of the museum staff seems more like traffic cops and enforcers.  It might be an insurmountable a problem, often mega-musuems are just a part of a day visit on a larger tourist vacation whereas western NPs are true "destinations" in themselves likely to filter down to folks willing to take a bit more "effort" in appreciating the resource.

I've been to smaller museums that host a single "signature" work in their larger collection.  Often they can staff the area with informative docents continually and also regulate traffic to keep group size down.  This experience is far, far more fulfilling for all and I wish more places would do it.  But it might not be practical with something like the Mona Lisa.  Still it seems more places could make the effort.  And in none of the cases are cameras really the root cause of the problem, they are just a symptom.

Ken
Logged
Phinius
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 30



WWW
« Reply #42 on: August 21, 2012, 06:27:00 PM »
ReplyReply

Mark's opinions seem to really anger a certain minority of folks. I find this particularly troubling at a forum of LuLa fans who one would think would be more rational for want of a better word. I assume that there are few post-modernist haters of museums and that most of us think that museums are worth the investment because they present the serious work of serious artists. Given this viewpoint, I would think acting seriously once in the museum would be expected, and therefore Mark's comments would seem at least reasonable.
Logged
mikev1
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 134


« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2012, 07:32:08 PM »
ReplyReply


An interesting article...
http://gizmodo.com/flash-photography/

Does flash photography damage art? I'm not sure.  I'd be curious to read some actual research on the subject.

No doubt it is annoying however...
Logged
Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8812


« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2012, 08:02:25 PM »
ReplyReply


Quite why people want to take happy snaps of paintings, with or without themselves mugging in front of them, eludes me. But an increasing number of examples of mass behaviour elude my understanding: advancing age I guess. The only collections I've enjoyed snapping are collections of vehicles and aircraft: the extra dimension helps a lot.


I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

However, making a record of what one has seen by doing one's best job in the circunstances of photographing it, is another matter. One reason why I've always been excited by the increasing performance of DSLRs at high ISO, in conjunction with more effective Image Stabilization in modern lenses, is because it allows one to do a fairly good job of photographing art works in museums and galleries where tripods and flash are not allowed.

There is clearly a major problem if the scenario depicted in Mark Dubovoy's article becomes a typical, every-day situation in all museums that permit photography. However, I don't believe a good solution would be to completely ban all photography in such places.

A better solution would be for the museum owners to capitalize on the increased public interest in their art exhibits, and charge extra for the privilege of photographing such exhibits, thus raising more money for the promotion of the arts.

In my experience, there are always lots of attendants employed by museums to keep an eye out for miscreant behaviour. One doesn't need a sledge hammer to crack a nut. One simply needs enforcement of a reasonable policy of 'no flash' under any circumstances and no photography unless one has paid for the privilege. Having paid extra for such a privilege, one could be required to wear some notice pinned to one's shirt or lapel indicating to the attendants that one is permitted to take photos.

Such a policy would not guarantee that there would never be flash photography from an iPhone or P&S, of someone standing in front of a painting, but it would significantly reduce the problem.

Logged
kencameron
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 666



WWW
« Reply #45 on: August 22, 2012, 12:39:19 AM »
ReplyReply

Mark's opinions seem to really anger a certain minority of folks. I find this particularly troubling at a forum of LuLa fans who one would think would be more rational for want of a better word. I assume that there are few post-modernist haters of museums and that most of us think that museums are worth the investment because they present the serious work of serious artists. Given this viewpoint, I would think acting seriously once in the museum would be expected, and therefore Mark's comments would seem at least reasonable.

I have no problem with "acting seriously once in a museum" but don't see how it follows from this that all photography should be banned in all museums, as Mark apparently advocates. The discussion has evolved quite a way from its stimulating beginning with his article, and done so in a largely rational manner, give or take a few glorious rants (without which life would be duller, here in Australia and also, it seems, in Mallorca and wherever Slobodan has built his nest). The argument that flash photography damages paintings has been questioned on scientific grounds and is beginning to look like a myth, albeit one believed in by some museum curators. It has become clear that people take photographs in museums for a variety of unexceptionable reasons and often do so in a way unlikely to inconvenience anyone else. There also seems to be agreement that it is difficult or impossible to appreciate art in the presence of noisy crowds and this problem is greatly exacerbated if they are all taking flash photographs. The case for a total ban is looking flimsy, the case for education, crowd management and maybe for some controls and restrictions on flash photography is looking quite good. IMO, Mark deserves credit for starting it all off, and the rest of us - the forum of Lula fans - deserve credit for adding a bit of nuance to the discussion and for extending it to a variety of other more or less related subjects.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 02:07:11 AM by kencameron » Logged

Petrus
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 458


« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2012, 12:48:19 AM »
ReplyReply

I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

There are two schools of travel photography: I was there! and I saw and experienced this:

Most people seem to belong to the first school. I suppose most folks here belong to the second.

What we are hoping is that the twain should never meet...
Logged
jenbenn
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 68


WWW
« Reply #47 on: August 22, 2012, 01:20:35 AM »
ReplyReply


Mark, you write: "First of all, the constant bursts of bright light with tons of UV  are very destructive to paintings, tapestries, fabrics and other kinds of art objects."
 
 About  amonth ago I was in Florence and asked myself the same thing: does flash destroy art.

I googled and found an article by a scientist who carried out resaerch for the London  National Gallery.  He reported that in his study about 10 years ago he found that the flash of a normal camera cannot under any circumstances harm  a painting simply because all the UV light, the flash emits gets filtered out by the plastic window in front of the flash. In addition, normal camera flashes are far too low powered.

He discovered however that if you use a huge studio flash, without any filter for UV light in frornt of it, it will take several million flashes until a painting shows any measurable sign of wear.
 
The National Gallery apperently kept the study concealed: They do not want photographers to  destroy the  viewing experience for other visitorswith their flash light.For this reason I think one should ban FLASH photography in museums, but certainly not photography all together.  Just put up a warning that anybody using flash, will be thrown out immediately and enforce this. There is no need to punish all photogs for the inability of some amateurs to turn off their flash.

 So MArk, please give us some source for your allegation that camera flash is harmful to paintings. There is certainly no better way of harming your credibility and destroying an otherwise good article  than by making questionable statements of facts.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 01:28:57 AM by jenbenn » Logged
JozefM
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #48 on: August 22, 2012, 02:44:33 AM »
ReplyReply

Please read this essay from Martin Evans, it is interesting and scientific:

http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/musphoto/flashphoto.htm

Logged
OldRoy
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 407


WWW
« Reply #49 on: August 22, 2012, 05:32:40 AM »
ReplyReply

Please read this essay from Martin Evans, it is interesting and scientific:

http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/musphoto/flashphoto.htm


Care to summarise?
Roy
Logged
stamper
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2391


« Reply #50 on: August 22, 2012, 05:42:37 AM »
ReplyReply

Very illuminating!
Logged

dreed
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1169


« Reply #51 on: August 22, 2012, 06:15:15 AM »
ReplyReply

Care to summarise?

To effectively preserve works of art by preventing damage to the pigments from UV light requires keeping them in dark places for large periods of time (half a year or more.)

Modern compact cameras typically have a xenon flash bulb (guide number less than 10) that is behind a plastic screen that blocks a large proportion of the UV coming out of said flashes. The flashes that actually have potential to do damage in a relatively short period of time (years) with constant and continued exposure to the flash light are the really big ugly ones that only professionals use. This is because they often have no plastic guard to filter out the damaging UV light.
Logged
opgr
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1125


WWW
« Reply #52 on: August 22, 2012, 09:18:43 AM »
ReplyReply

Perhaps of interest:

Non-ionizing radiation

which leads to the inevitable question, not to say "begs", in how far the electromagnetic radiation-smog of cellphones and wifi networks is harmful to precious works of Art.
Logged

Regards,
Oscar Rysdyk
theimagingfactory
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1252


« Reply #53 on: August 22, 2012, 11:01:44 AM »
ReplyReply

A couple of comments:

The "scientific report" that is cited here in a couple of places doesn't say that the light from flashes won't hurt paintings. It says the light from flashes under the conditions examined in the report won't hurt paintings significantly compared to ambient light. It did not examine all conditions, nor did it examine all paintings. I doubt that light from flashes will hurt the paintings, but I'm still not sure. Until recently, a large number of scientists thought that global warming was a myth. As it turns out, it probably isn't. If you go back through the history of reports like this, on a wide variety of issues, you often find out that things that were reported unharmful (cigarettes, DDT) were, oops, harmful, and even deadly; and some that were supposedly harmful, were, oops, not, except for the people who got trashed by the report (agar.) I don't know where this report came from, or if it was published in a refereed journal, but it has many of the characteristics of a "some guy" report.

But, as I said, I suspect that flash doesn't do much damage. The real damage is that it makes certain pictures in certain museums unviewable, and that it helps create a funhouse atmosphere in art museums. I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum, which, after all, is concerned with the making of visual art. They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic and all the other bullshit trotted out as excuses for people to shout down the thinking process. I've gone to NY annually for a very long time for the specific purpose of looking at art. I did not go to MOMA the last time I was there (in July) because of the conditions in the place, which have become nearly intolerable. That's the first time I've not gone to MOMA since sometime in the eighties.

But here's a question for the people in Chicago: why is the Art Institute so much better in terms of viewing conditions than the big New York museums. Is it because the Institute is physically harder to get to than the NY museums? Or maybe Chicago just doesn't attract the huge crowds of tourists?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 11:04:09 AM by John Camp » Logged
Isaac
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2332


« Reply #54 on: August 22, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »
ReplyReply

I must admit that I also have difficulty understanding why so many people seem to just want mug shots of themselves in front of any famous work of art, be it a  painting, sculpture or building. I suppose it's just vanity, egotism and the wish to be envied. When such people return home they can show off to their friends, or on Facebook, the snapshot of themselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa, then relish all the envious comments, "Wow! You were at the Louvre in Paris! I wish I could go there. You look so cool."

However, making a record of what one has seen by doing one's best job in the circunstances of photographing it, is another matter...

Perhaps those many other people would wonder why you wish to just duplicate a photograph you might find in the museum bookstore calendars and postcards and art books.
Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5002



WWW
« Reply #55 on: August 22, 2012, 12:46:31 PM »
ReplyReply

... I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum... They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic...

The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5002



WWW
« Reply #56 on: August 22, 2012, 01:10:30 PM »
ReplyReply

... But here's a question for the people in Chicago: why is the Art Institute so much better in terms of viewing conditions than the big New York museums. Is it because the Institute is physically harder to get to than the NY museums? Or maybe Chicago just doesn't attract the huge crowds of tourists?

Hmmm... neither explanation seems to fit. The location is in the heart of a major tourist area (i.e., Millennium Park), and the number of tourists, though not the same, is rather close to NY: almost 40 million vs. almost 50 million in 2011.

Perhaps if one digs deeper in those statistics and breaks down tourists by category, i.e., business and convention vs. leisure, foreign vs. domestic, etc., there might be a better explanation.

Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
Rob C
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 12215


« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2012, 02:45:05 PM »
ReplyReply

. I've been very discouraged by the reactions of many people on this forum, which, after all, is concerned with the making of visual art. They seem to feel that Disney World conditions in art museums are just fine and democratic and all the other bullshit trotted out as excuses for people to shout down the thinking process.


The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."


Witness and celebrate the fruits of political and cultural anaesthesia.

Itís almost endemic now in the UK; itís already in the education system where most everybody leaves school with some sort of certificate which, at its more absurd levels of nothingness, tells any competent recruitment officer all he/she needs to know about the poor kid before them Ė if he gets that far.

Extend the ethic to the rest of society and itís not difficult to see where we are and how we got there. It is all about falling standards, lack of respect, lack of parental control and as we are already advanced into at least a third generation of this decline, I see little prospect of a climb back upwards, not necessarily because of the unfortunate kids who never had a chance, but as much because of the political thinking that so many successful students pick up, and which they used to escape when their feet hit the workplace. It seems they no longer have exposure to escape mechanisms in the form of life experience because their generations have become the ethos in which they exist Ė they are their own perpetuation of the receipt for disaster.

Obviously, thatís the main reason so many want to close down private schools: it just doesnít do to have alternative mindsets exist and rock the boat of political and social, especially social, conformity.

1984 was only delayed, not avoided Ė yet. We shall see.

Rob C
Logged

Ray
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 8812


« Reply #58 on: August 22, 2012, 09:22:33 PM »
ReplyReply

Perhaps those many other people would wonder why you wish to just duplicate a photograph you might find in the museum bookstore calendars and postcards and art books.

That's a good point worth considering. If one is not 'into' photography, and perhaps not rather obsessed with the subject as many of us appear to be on this site, and one uses only a P&S or iPhone to record events, then one knows that one one's results are not likely to match in quality and/or composition any of the existing, professional photos available for purchase, of the famous sites one is visiting, whether they are paintings in a museum, ancient ruins in Athens or Cambodia, or beautiful National Parks such as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

So why not make the photo unique by having one's own smiling mug in front of a distant view of the Grand Canyon, or in front of a famous painting such as the Mona Lisa?  Cool
Logged
PierreVandevenne
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 508


WWW
« Reply #59 on: August 23, 2012, 06:27:59 AM »
ReplyReply

The same here. Then again, I am not too surprised. This seems to be stemming from the same line of "reasoning" that led bolsheviks to raze churches into swimming pools, and Mao Cultural Revolution's Red Guards to destroy historic and cultural artifacts in the name of "preventing bourgeois influence."

Hmmmm, isn't that slightly hyperbolic?

Not that it is unexpected. Starting with a provocative and grandiloquent title such as "Are Museum Destroying Art?" unavoidably leads us away from peaceful unanimity and the dissenter's line of thought  (or is it Museum directors'?) is soon compared to the one that drove mass criminals.

Something like "Are crowds armed with cellphones and P&S ruining Museum experience?" might be slightly more consensual. As an added bonus, it doesn't even need to rely on shaky urban legends.

But then, it is guaranteed not to generate active threads :-)
Logged
Pages: « 1 2 [3] 4 5 ... 7 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad