After Modernism week 7 The Gallery and Institutional Critique.

For the reading for this week I gathered this information from the text- A museum could be connected with religious or spiritual matters. The Museum as a ritual- the idea of an art museum as a ritual site. Museums are compared to old ceremonial monuments because of architecture, the imitation of old monuments. A museum is seen as a preservation site of official cultural memory. Museums also relate to the religious buildings because of the settings of rituals, they have grand halls for gathering, peaceful settings and also museums have rules of conduct which could relate to ritual passages, the 10 commandments for example. Museums prepare us for the art work we see. The grand entrances, prepare us for grand art, like a start of a story “once upon a time”. It gives us a fresh perspective and the large interior are designed for visual performances, to give power to an object and give them purpose for visual ecstasy. -Carol Duncan, The Art Museum as Ritual (1995)

In this lesson we discussed the importance of galleries and how and why they present their work like they do and the changes that have developed over time.

1) Gallery Architecture

Museums belong to the people, they are made for the public and they begin with classical architecture (Greek Temple) this continues for 100 years.

2) The Princely collection.

The princely collection begins at the evolution of the gallery and the interior. The Tapestry hung gallery is a gallery where pictures rare hung stacked ceiling to floor. Sometimes the photos are cut and framed to fit. it was an aristocratic thing not anybody could get into the gallery. There was no particular code of behaviour it was informal.

100 years later things were still Princely hanged but not so much wall to ceiling a little bit more spaced out. There were chairs so you could sit and admire the works more freely. There were free standing walls for special works to stand out. Everyone has guides/books about the artworks.

Remains of the Princely gallery was still there but now the furniture is fixed and works are more spaced out. Significant works were seen from opposite rooms, they would have had guides.

Gallery becomes minimal, white walls and the specialness of the piece becomes just all about the work.

3) Artists looking at traditional gallery space


In Karen Knorr Pleasures of the imagination, conoisseurs, 1986, Karen Knorr shows the ideal fantasy of a viewer in a gallery. A room all to yourself where you can dream that you own the work and that it was made for you. Opposed to being floods of people, chaotic and enclosed in the museum space. The way we go around the gallery is ritualized.

4) Institutional Critique

Artists who challenge these critiques, where work is bended around the museum door and outside, the idea of traditional restored artwork or weathered open artwork. The concept of the museum being private property and it looks after the art and it tells us how to behave the gallery code.

5) The cabinet of curiosities

The middle classes collection of all kinds of stuff, where you can make your own narrative for the pieces or make your own order. Order exists in the world, we reveal in which the order develops.

6) Institutional Critique again


Authenticity that’s what museums want although they preserve the way in which it was found prolonging the actual authenticity and history of the piece.

7) The spectacular museum

The new age of museum building/architecture recognize the gallery for the architecture not for the art inside, not the best for art work.

8) Mega Art

In order to compete with interesting architecture artists need to scale and compare and compete with that.

9) The Museum without walls.

books, photography and digital imagery which are on the internet has become the new age of museum viewing. This changes what an image is…

What is an image: an image is part of a picture that can be reproduced in another form and has no set material form category and more. The internet where all art works are transformed into images, significance based on circulation and how it is reproduced.

We then headed down to Cardiff museum to test out the theories we had learnt. We found out that the grand entrance and Greek architecture could be seen and it added to the grandeur of the building. It was not a fully modern building as the walls were not fully white and the pictures were relatively close together.

I really enjoyed this lesson as it was interesting to test the things we learnt of the history of the museums in to practice in Cardiff History Museum. It was nice to be on sight and out in the fresh air. I felt I could relate more to the things in real life than 2D on the board. This will be helpful in next time visiting a museum how we can tell what the artwork will be like due to the architecture of the museum itself.


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