Museums: How do we make ancient art relevant today?

Description Museums: How do we make ancient art relevant today? What is a museum? Apart from being a collection of works of art and objects, what does a museum do? Specifically, what is a museum’s role in our community and what is its responsibility to its audiences? For our final discussion of the semester, you’ll think about the role of the museum in our current world. To get you started, read this interview of Ford W. Bell, President of the American Alliance of Museums, from 2013. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Pay particular attention to the myriad functions he claims a museum has as well as the various institutions he considers to be ‘museums’. Then listen to an episode of the BBC Radio 3’s Arts & Ideas podcast: The Frieze Debate: The Museum in the 21st Century. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.This roundtable debate took place just a few weeks ago at the annual international art fair Frieze London. The discussion’s participants are Michael Govan, Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Sabine Haag, General Director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna; and Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum in London. Listen to them explain the institutions they lead, the challenges they face, and the responsibilities they see themselves having as guardians of cultural heritage. Then answer the following questions: What do each of the museum director’s claim is the role of their respective institution? What do you think the role of a museum is within its community? What expectations do you have when you go to a museum? (or, if you’ve never been to one, what do you expect your experience would be like?) Are museums with art before the 20th century relevant in our current cultural climate? Why or why not? In other words, does very old art matter to us today? How can museums make old art meaningful to us today? At one point in the debate, Dr. Haag mentions that the Kunsthistorisches Museum invited contemporary artists like Kerry James Marshall and Peter Doig to make paintings that were “in dialogue” with some of the older works in their collection. This means that contemporary artists were creating works that related to ancient works in the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s collection. Taking a cue from this project,  look through the Broad Museum’s collection using their online search tool (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.* and find a work of art there that you think relates to a work we’ve looked at this semester (the Broad Museum is a collection of contemporary art here in Los Angeles!) You are not limited to works from Weeks 9 – 12, you can choose an object from any era we’ve covered this semester. Clearly identify the work you’ve chosen from the Broad (using artist name, title, date, and accession number) as well as the work you’re relating it to in the course (using title, date, and figure number). Then, explain how the Broad work relates to the work from the course and tell us why you chose to put your objects together. Please include a jpg of both works so the class can see them side by side! Be creative and have fun with this project! Comment on another student’s post! Parts 1 – 4 are due Wednesday, December 5th. Part 5 is due Friday, December 7th. *The Broad is a museum of contemporary art. Its online database is organized by artist. Click on an artist’s name to see examples of their works in the Broad’s collection. The artists are arranged alphabetically. You can look by letter at the top if you know an artist you’d like to look up or by page number at the bottom if you want to look through them all. Have fun!