Why Can’t We Take Pictures in Art Museums? - In an attempt to balance copyright restrictions and ever-present camera phones, some museums are loosening their ‘no photography’ policies…
BRING YOUR OWN BODY
How open source video nights liberate the post-internet art movement
Bring Your Own Beamer is a series of one-night exhibitions that invite artists working with the moving image (beamer is another word for a projector) to show their work together as a collaborative installation. Initiated by the artist Rafael Rozendaal in 2010, the format was created to give artists the opportunity to show their work to a wide audience in a context that’s closer to a happening or party than a conventional gallery opening.
On the night itself, the sheer range of work - and equipment - was surprising. Some visitors observed that it looked like an Apple Genius bar or trade fair for projectors. But looking at the walls of the space, it really was more like a collective collage of the moving image, where individual authorship became less important than the fact that everybody was together. From the self-made games of Clifford Sage & Joey Holder, to the analogue videos of Viktor Timofeev & Chris King and a Google Hangout with Awe IX in Taiwan, the dependence on technology was so self-evident that it became completely unimportant. By exposing the actual equipment that the projections depend upon, everybody sees that they themselves could produce works of art in a similar way, that they could exhibit things if they wanted to, that everybody could be AN ARTIST. Beuys would probably have approved.
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO:
In recent weeks, you may have read about a lawsuit filed by one of the Metropolitan Museum’s Fifth Avenue neighbors. It inaccurately alleges that the Met deceives the public by not making its long-standing pay-what-you-wish admission policy clear enough, and asserts that we are violating a nineteenth-century New York State law that once mandated that we be free to the public. This was followed by a second legal action, filed by the same law firm, seeking monetary damages.
We have explained to the press the genesis and legality of our recommended admission policy and intend to defend it vigorously. But the legal process takes time—so I wanted to communicate directly with you, our audience, about our admission policy, and to clarify its origin and importance.
First and most crucially, a recommended or suggested admission structure was instituted only after the Museum received approval from New York City’s Administrator of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs more than four decades ago. No current State legislation requires the Museum to be free to the public.
Second, the recommended admission policy is clearly posted at all entry points to the Museum’s Main Building and The Cloisters, on all printed materials, and on our website. Should a visitor ask a cashier about the admission policy, the message is always equally clear: the amount is voluntary; please pay what you wish.
So why did the Met introduce suggested contributions in the early 1970s? We hope the answer is obvious to anyone who remembers the Museum as it once was. The Met is now twice the size and must fund the maintenance of far more expansive galleries and a significantly larger collection, visited by three or four times as many people. Our costs—everything from guards to insurance to publications—have increased commensurately with this growth.
Even so, the Met has never imposed a fixed admission fee. Nor do we ever charge an extra fee to visit any of our world-renowned special exhibitions. One contribution at the door still enables you to see everything—thepermanent collection covering over five thousand years of art, The Cloisters museum and gardens, and exhibitions devoted to topics as broad as Byzantium and Islam, Alexander McQueen, and the American Civil War. We often have as many as ten special exhibitions open at a time.
It might be noted that many New York museums operating under similar pay-what-you-wish policies do routinely charge an extra fee for their temporary shows. We work hard to make sure the entire Met remains affordably accessible to one and all. And we will increase that access even further starting July 1, when the Met will be open seven days a week—for the same suggested contribution.
We hope you know, too, that the Met continues to provide free group entry to more than ninety thousand New York City school students each year, as well as free admission every day to all children under twelve. In addition, we offer daily guided tours in multiple languages, along with daytime lectures, art-making programs, and storytime for young children—to name just a few of our free education initiatives. Significantly, we also maintain the online Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, which has emerged as one of the most widely consulted art-historical resources in the world, with over 1.5 million visits a month.
The current Met operating budget is some $250 million a year. We rely on many sources—includingMembership, gifts and grants, corporate contributions, merchandise sales, restaurant revenue, and endowment income—to meet these annual expenses, and admission revenue is critical among them. Much as we appreciate the continued support of the City of New York, direct government assistance and energy subsidies—once the Met’s largest sources of revenue—now constitute only 11% of our income. The fact is, even if future Museum admission rates were fixed at $25, the Met would still be underwriting the expense of every visit, which on average costs the institution more than $40.
Does the Met hope its visitors pay as generously as they can? Of course! Without your generosity, we might still be the quaint little museum in the park that few visited in the 1880s—with none of the glorious new galleries and engaging programs we are now able to provide to the more than six million people who come through our doors each year.
We are truly proud of our commitment to both scholarship and accessibility. We now must call upon our resources to defend a policy specifically designed to make our collections available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. As we do so, we know we can count on your support—as Members, as friends, and as people who understand the importance of art in our global society. I hope to see you in our galleries soon.
April 2, 1980, Andy Warhol’s Diaries entry for his meeting with Pope John Paul II
“Fred and I had to leave for our private audience wth the pope…. We got our tickets and then the driver dropped us off at the Vatican…. They finally took us to our seats with the rest of the 5,000 people and a nun screamed out, “You’re Andy Warhol! Can I have your autograph?” She looked like Valerie Solanis so I got scared she’d pull out a gun and shoot me. Then I had to sign five more autographs for other nuns…. Then finally the pope was coming our way. He shook everybody’s hand and I said I was fom New York, too. I didn’t kiss his hand…. The mob behind was were jumping down from their seats, it was scary. As soon as Fred and I got blessed we ran out.”
Along with Dries van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and other Belgian talents, Walter Van Beirendonck broke onto the design scene as part of the Antwerp Six - a collective of avant garde designers graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early 80s. Best known for his outlandishly bold graphics and innovative cuts, Beirendonck cites David Bowie as the initial influence that compelled him to put pencil to paper, and start designing.
His AW13 collection, which previewed in Paris, was bursting quite literally at the seams with 70s glam references. Skinny-cut androgynous shapes, platform boots and blazers featuring large lightning bolts, similar to the one across Bowie’s face on the Aladdin Sane album cover, bring to life Walter’s obsession with the iconic singer and fashion trailblazer.
This isn’t Photoshopped. Furniture designer Ferruccio Laviani created this hand-carved storage unit so that it appears that you’re looking at a warped image. Could you have this in your home without it driving you completely nuts?
Yep, the New Pope Hates Art
Not that you’d expect a pope to be open-minded, but in case you were curious: the new pope, Francis I, doesn’t much care for art.
In 2004, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I, denounced a show in Buenos Aires by the Argentinian artist León Ferrari, deeming it “blasphemous.”
To side with the pope for a second here, it was a bit. According to a report, the show “depicted images of Catholic saints, Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary in a blender, an electric toaster and a frying pan, among other unconventional settings.”
“For some time public expressions of ridicule and insult of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Most Holy Virgin Mary, as well as numerous exhibits against the religious and moral values we profess, have been on display throughout the city,” Cardinal Bergoglio said at the time.
“Jesus warned us that these things would take place, and with much tenderness he told us not to be afraid, that we are his small flock, that we should persevere in the struggle for the faith and in charity, placing our hope in him and praying with the true confidence of children of a Father who loves us,” he added.
He also hates homosexuality and a variety of other reasonable things, of course. It’s all standard for a conservative cardinal, but it’s always nice to know where people stand.
William Wegman’s first animated GIF…