Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Are Museums Destroying Art?  (Read 18715 times)
John Camp
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1259


« on: August 20, 2012, 09:23:33 AM »
ReplyReply

The Mona Lisa is hardly worth visiting anymore, both because of the security and because of the crowds.
Another tragedy of the same sort can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Van Gogh's "Starry Night," one of the great paintings of the 19th Century, is deliberately hung at shoulder level so that people can get photographs of it -- and not just photographs of the painting, but photographs of themselves WITH the painting. So they stand next to it, and give their cell phones to friends, who are not familiar with those cell phones, so it takes a while to make each photo as people fumble with unfamiliar equipment; the crowd is sometimes so intense that they are physically jostling each other around the painting. I'm amazed that no damage has yet been done to the painting. Really looking at it is impossible; a joke.

Art museums are now considered destination amusement parks, where you go to prove you got culture. Get your picture with Mickey, get your picture with Van Gogh, it's all the same. The Neue Museum in New York, which specializes in early 20th Century Austrian art (Schiele and Klimt), does not allow children under 12, and children under 16 must be accompanied by adults. It's a pleasure to visit. It's not the absence of children per se, that's critical, I don't think, it's the attitude -- this place is not an amusement park. When children are allowed to behave like children, as in the Modern, the adults do, too. Getting rid of children at museums is not the answer, but I think it should be made clear to them -- and to their supervisors, whether parents or teachers -- that if they start misbehaving, they'll be out on the street. In museums, children should be required to act somewhat like adults. They can do that, because I've seen it done; they're not there to see Mickey. If you go to the great Austrian museums, you see children...and they're just fine.

I do think cameras are at the center of this problem. I hate to ban them anywhere, but I really had enough of them in major museums. I think they should be banned, or their use should only be allowed with a permit.
Logged
theguywitha645d
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 970


« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 09:32:43 AM »
ReplyReply

Why ban cameras? They do not destroy the artwork.

Museums are amusement parks. We go there for our amusement. Almost literally.

You don't like it, don't go. But I fail to see why other people have to behave the way you want them to.
Logged
Kirk Gittings
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1550


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 09:34:02 AM »
ReplyReply

Picture taking used to be banned at most museums, but cell phone cameras broke the camels back. No one has the staff or energy to make that stick anymore.

I frankly haven't seen it as a real problem personally-sometimes a slight annoyance. But any event that is public has annoying people doing annoying things-it comes with the species.
Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
ripgriffith
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 207


« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 12:45:30 PM »
ReplyReply

Why ban cameras? They do not destroy the artwork.

Museums are amusement parks. We go there for our amusement. Almost literally.

You don't like it, don't go. But I fail to see why other people have to behave the way you want them to.
It seems that what you mean to say is, "I fail to see why other people have to behave."

There is, in most civilized societies, something call "a social contract" governing how people behave one with another. In the events described by Mark, we clearly see the erosion of this contract, sadly championed by people with your mindset.
Logged
theguywitha645d
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 970


« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 12:54:27 PM »
ReplyReply

It seems that what you mean to say is, "I fail to see why other people have to behave."

There is, in most civilized societies, something call "a social contract" governing how people behave one with another. In the events described by Mark, we clearly see the erosion of this contract, sadly championed by people with your mindset.

What is wrong with people taking photographs? Is photographing anti-social behavior now? Are children being bored and acting as they always have anti-social behavior?

The problem with your hypothesis is that the social contract evolves. It seems the people with your mindset use this to try to control others for your own purpose rather than embracing the current social contract nor understanding that the contract is not universal. 
Logged
kikashi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4062



« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 01:02:13 PM »
ReplyReply

What is wrong with people taking photographs? Is photographing anti-social behavior now? Are children being bored and acting as they always have anti-social behavior?

Nothing; no; when uncontrolled by adults, very possibly, and in museums, definitely.

Jeremy
Logged
michael
Administrator
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4903



« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 01:26:42 PM »
ReplyReply

There may be new evidence regarding the negative effects of flash on sensitive art work. I used to do conservation recording at a museum, and the experts there had differing opinions, so let's leave that part in abeyance.

My wife, originally an Art Historian by profession, ran the Childrens Education programs at a major national art gallery, so I am quite familiar, through extensive experience, with what constitutes appropriate behavour by both children and adults in a museum or gallery.

Sorry, I disagree with both of your premises. Even if flash has no negative effect on art, it certainly does on viewers. It's annoying and distracting. Similarly kids freely running around as described is not appropriate behavour in that environment.

If ankle biters and flash poppers in a gallery don't bother you, well that tells us something, doesn't it? As for me, I prefer my experience in an art gallery to be one of calm, quiet and contemplation.

BTW, for this reason I never go to so-called "blockbuster" shows such as the current Picasso exhibit at th AGO. Too many people, no time to really "see". I'd rather go to Disneyworld. (Actually, no I wouldn't. I'd rather have my eyeballs pierced with hot needles than be forced to go to Disneyworld).

Michael
Logged
Colorado David
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 609



« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2012, 02:00:54 PM »
ReplyReply

My parents took me to art galleries and the symphony when I was a child.  It was made abundantly clear just how I was to behave.  My parents' willingness to help me experience these things had a hand in making me the person I am today. Children are neither miniature adults nor little urchins.  They are sponges soaking up everything they can to develop into something with a huge potential. I don't think children should be excluded from these experiences.  Their parents should be held responsible for the behavior of children.  Adults who have no discipline is another story.
Logged

David Watson
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 395


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 03:25:25 PM »
ReplyReply

My parents took me to art galleries and the symphony when I was a child.  It was made abundantly clear just how I was to behave.  My parents' willingness to help me experience these things had a hand in making me the person I am today. Children are neither miniature adults nor little urchins.  They are sponges soaking up everything they can to develop into something with a huge potential. I don't think children should be excluded from these experiences.  Their parents should be held responsible for the behavior of children.  Adults who have no discipline is another story.

+1
Logged

David Watson ARPS
LesPalenik
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 490


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2012, 03:52:16 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Things had changed again on a subsequent trip to Paris. A sheet of glass was placed in front of the painting.  At that point, some of the intimacy was lost. Particularly since (as far as I could tell)  the glass that was used did not have anti-reflecting coatings.  
Some years later, things had gotten much worse: The Mona Lisa was placed behind a horrendous piece of yellow glass.  I call it horrendous, because it totally ruins the experience of seeing it. It makes it impossible to discern the original color, the original texture and many of the subtleties of this amazing piece.

Quote
If museums insist on allowing photography, I think it should be restricted.

Quote
If people get a kick out of have a photo with one of these paintings, let them have their fun.

I'm all for people having fun, but school children (and even some old farts) playing trophy hunting games in museums ruin it for other visitors.

If any museum curators are listening, take heed.  As already reported, there is a great market for the trophy hunters. The museums could add new rooms and a profitable cost centers to their facilities - well lit photography room with twenty best artifacts in their museums. Of course, the artifacts would be copies, in plain view and unprotected by any glass, but the final picture would be still much better than trying to capture well protected and camouflaged picture as Mona Lisa painting described in Mark's essay. For a small fee, the admirers of great art could photograph all those fine pieces to their heart content and even take a pictures of themselves and their friends underneath the treasured items.

As a side note, I shudder to think what's happening to Yasser Arafat and Liberace sculptures in Madame Tussaud Wax museum. Although one single iphone flash won't melt a statue, the cumulative effect could inflict devastating damage to the historic masterpieces.  But looking at the bright side, one of those guys may be spared too many camera flashes.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 04:18:42 PM by LesPalenik » Logged

harryfenton
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2012, 04:05:31 PM »
ReplyReply

I agree with Mark that using flash photography in Art Galleries is likely to be very detrimental to the Paintings and it baffles me as to why the galleries allow it it at all. A decent modern camera doesn't need it anyway. I started off in Galleries using my Nikon D3, but find it so heavy and obtrusive to carry round that I now exclusively use my Fuji X100. As long as I can get near enough to the painting the image IQ is as good, if not better tha the D3. It's not an easy job though at the best of times and needs a lot of setting up, plus the big problem when the work is behind glass. Working at extreme settings precludes the use of polaroids and even with them the results are not good. I must admit that at this point I often give up. Another great obstacle is the Gallery lighting. The best place I've been to, so far, for lighting is the Dulwich Gallery where the lighting is superb. On the Fuji I use F2.8 at 1/125 ( My hands are not too steady! ) On auto ISO this needs 3200 to get enough light in. In the odd case where this was not enough I switch to Manual ISO at 3200 and E.C + 1 EV. There can be a small amount of noise in dark areas, but this can be fairly well controlled with Topaz. In case you are wondering, it's my Nikon camera that's professional, not me.
           The bottom line is that I enjoy the paintings in the Gallery, and can then enjoy them again in the comfort of my home, and even see things later that I missed in the Gallery, especially if I enlarge the image.
Logged
lensfactory
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 79


« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2012, 04:44:04 PM »
ReplyReply

Hypocritical coming from a photographer.
Hypocritical, because as photographers, we would surely be upset if we were at a scenic oceanside cliff, and a security guard told us that "You can't take a picture, because the flash will damage the foliage, and it also disrupts the calm environment we would like here...."

Flash photography does NOT harm artworks. This is a MYTH. Any serious fact checking will show this...but for starters I will say go here > http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/07/does-flash-photography-really-damage-art-the-persistence-of-a-myth/

Art is for everyone....kids, and shutterbugs included. Kids can misbehave and not act 'appropriately' in many environments. What is so auspicious a place as a gallery that it should be different? Sure...kids should behave appropriately, but you can hardly mandate it.
People no more or less 'appreciated' artworks without cameras as they do now. The art gallery has simply become what it always was...a social space. It has evolved as a social space as technology has evolved. I could counter that art doesn't belong AT ALL in the elitist confines of a 'gallery' ..but that's another argument.(It's sort of like the Rockn'roll Hall of Fame....who are these 'arbiters of taste' that decides what is good and bad rockn'roll. And how truly UN rockn'roll is that anyway)
Like any public environment, for the sake of being courteous, they should put signs to please turn off the flash. But no camera?
They do this down at the AGO. I was taking a photo of my dad against a backdrop of a window and there weren't ANY artworks in the frame, yet a security gaurd came up and told me top stop. I asked why. He simply said that was the rules. We had some discussion, and from what I gleaned the managers of the gallery decided it was just easier to throw the baby out with the bathwater and not allow photography of any kind.
Of course I was shooting natural light, as yes, a flash is a bit discourteous to other viewers just as it would be in a theatre.
The argument about 'copyright' the galleries may have on the image is also nonsense as well. Without a tripod, you can't get any better quality than you could get downloading the freely available image of any artwork there from the web.

What a snobbish ,misinformed ,inaccurate article. Who took the photos of the people in the galleries btw... Did Mark get them from a tourist?

« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 04:46:35 PM by lensfactory » Logged
tom b
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 871


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2012, 04:45:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Museums are expensive places to run. They have limited ways of making money and obtaining artworks. There is admission prices, selling food and beverages, charity work and bequeathments. The other major way is by selling books, posters, coffee mugs etc. The main reason photography is banned is that it cuts in on those profits.

The latest way to make money is the audio tour. People stand in a huddle around the most popular works listening to long and detailed descriptions of the artwork. Such is life…

Cheers,

Logged

lensfactory
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 79


« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2012, 04:48:41 PM »
ReplyReply

There was NEVER any evidence. Just something that was talked into a truth.
Flash photography does NOT harm artworks. This is a MYTH. Any serious fact checking will show this...but for starters I will say go here > http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2012/07/does-flash-photography-really-damage-art-the-persistence-of-a-myth/
Logged
LesPalenik
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 490


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2012, 05:08:05 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
People no more or less 'appreciated' artworks without cameras as they do now. The art gallery has simply become what it always was...a social space.

Well, fortunately there are some places that encourage photograph taking. Earlier this year, I visited a mining museum in UNESCO designated town of Banska Stiavnica  in Slovakia, and in addition to many old mining artifacts, at the end of the tour they point you to a small vertical shaft with a picture of "Full Moon". I guess, one of the miners painted it to inject some cheerful spirit into the otherwise gloomy and dark work place.

However, I wasn't able to photograph that painting. They were just too many kids taking picture of miner's backside.
 
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 05:21:32 PM by LesPalenik » Logged

AFairley
Sr. Member
****
Online Online

Posts: 1179



« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2012, 05:17:56 PM »
ReplyReply

Reading some of the comments, I have to wonder if some of the posters have even ever been to an art museum.  Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.
Logged

Slobodan Blagojevic
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 6077


When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2012, 06:17:16 PM »
ReplyReply

Hypocritical coming from a photographer....

... Without a tripod, you can't get any better quality than you could get downloading the freely available image of any artwork there from the web...

Don't you just love it when people contradict themselves in the very same post? You just answered why photography in museums does not make sense.
Logged

Slobodan

Flickr
500px
trichardlin
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 50


« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2012, 06:56:45 PM »
ReplyReply

> Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.

Good analogy.  People really should be sensitive to others.  

That said, I also know museums, like any places with a lot of people, happen to be a great place for photography.  As long as people are discreet and respectful, I don't see a problem with photography in museums.  When I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, I was surprised that photography was allowed.  I even took a picture of the guard without issues.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 07:17:39 PM by trichardlin » Logged
lensfactory
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 79


« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2012, 07:22:57 PM »
ReplyReply

Don't you just love it when people contradict themselves in the very same post? You just answered why photography in museums does not make sense.

Well,obviously, I am speaking of that you are taking photos of the space,as well as the artworks. Your wife and kids in front of the Mona Lisa, an interesting composition photographing a staircase etc. etc.
The point is that the two main arguments,damaging artworks and copyright or artworks, don't hold up.

I would love to shoot the architecture within the art gallery of Ontario,hand held without a flash...but the security guards will not allow it.
Saying that they don't allow cameras because people don't turn the flashes off, (for the only tenable reason:that it may be an annoyance to other viewers) is like saying you shouldn't wear running shoes because running is not permitted.
They could easily have the security guards educate people where in the settings thier flash could be turned off. Simple.
Logged
James R
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 260


« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2012, 07:31:28 PM »
ReplyReply

> Camera flashes in an art museum are like candy wrappers at a classical music concert.

Good analogy.  People really should be sensitive to others.  

That said, I also know museums, like any places with a lot of people, happen to be a great place for photography.  As long as people are discreet and respectful, I don't see a problem with photography in museums.  When I visited the Art Institute of Chicago, I was surprised that photography was allowed.  I even took a picture of the guard without issues.

Pictures of another person's art bores me, unless it has a creative aspect to it, such as the photos you posted. 
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad