Pocket sized proposals for a mammoth project, from visionaries from across the arts spectrum.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blue Marble Monolith

Why a museum, why a building?   

I think it is only appropriate at the impetus of this project to question/discuss why a museum is the appropriate vessel for the centralization, storage and display of art. As an artist I am continually questioning if my medium is appropriate to my message/motivation.  Does a museum building, the institutional structure actually aid or impede on the way in which works of art operate? 

title: blue marble monolith (as seen by apollo 17 and paul thek)
size: 3.5" 2.5"
medium: digital collage over mario's buisness card


  1. we could debate this josh, and we will, but i still want your visions for the IMTA.. hell if there was such a thing i'm sure they would have an online list of ALL works in the collection...would that make my friend josh "tin can " keller happy?

  2. josh, i think that the quixotic nature of this project is part of its appeal to me. i am already thinking of ways to subvert the instutionality (which may or may not be a word) implicated by the design parameters.

  3. Step one in designing building is establishing the program. The client always provides the designer with what they think the program is for their building. But the program they provide is always incomplete, short sighted or wrong.

    To begin to refine the program you have to start from scratch, consider everything and figure out what you actually want to achieve.

    My questioning of the program is not intended to nullify the Terran Museum assignment. It was intended to initiate a dialog about what the nature of museum is and how civilization experiences and engages with art. With the hope that such a dialog would inform the program for the IMTA.

    I am interest in what others have to say about my assertions.

    PS: I believe in space and place and object. I do not a believer that 98% of art is well served or can even operate as intended in an online format.

  4. A museum has the capability of setting a more realistic understanding of how important art truly is, what it does, and what it could do for our future generations.

    The concept of filling a museum with art can stimulate much more mobility for developing a greater degree of inspiration amoung not just those interested in art but those who aren't necessarily interested or even aware of how beautiful and life-changing art can be.

    It also has the ability of bringing many different and culturally diverse groups of individuals together to share in how so many artists view the world.

    Whether or not you think you're good at what you do as an artist, the initial feeling that inspired any piece you've created has the possibility of changing at least one persons life; has the possibility of turning at least one persons head; has the possibility of diverting at least one persons attention to that initial feeling of which inspired its beginning.

    What other type of building can bring together all of these possibilities?

  5. Josh,
    I think it's great that your initial response to Mario's proposal is a question, as it should be. Indeed why a building? If anything the venue that will display the response to the proposal questions the nature of where we encounter art.

    I am hesitant to blindly accept the museum as the 'house for art' where anyone can come to learn about art. As an institution there is an implied stance of totality or all-encompassing knowledge for the general populace to converge upon and gain an understanding of culture, ideas or whatever. This is false. By the very nature of curatorial practice this renders any show skewed through the eyes of a select few. This sentence alone could be the foundation for an entire paper, but I digress...

    In addition art like anything does not exist in a vacuum, it is all relative. I also believe intent plays a major role in art creation. The idea of a museum is modernism period. It ignores culture, context etc to provide an "idealized" vision or place to view work. (Keep in mind the proposal here, art encompassing every epoch.) We must only look at the traveling exhibition of Egypt's wonders to get an understanding of this. I don't think the ancients intended their work to act as way to fill a Saturday for NASCAR moms in Dallas. It was mostly ceremonial and not intended for public display at all. Same thing for the ancient Roman Frieze’s removed and shown in England. But this argument carries through all epochs, consider the frescos of the Renaissance or even Pippoli Rist's video work shown in Time Square.

    The idea of a building that would house all these works simply ignores context and crushes culture. There is no way a wall text can recreate the feel of Times Square. I know I'm being ideal in another extreme with these examples, but I think they must be considered. I am reminded of Rem Koolhaas's response to the Hermitage's renovations. Instead of gutting a building and updating it, why not let it stand as it is? Reveal the building for what it has become. Don't confuse my example as an answer to the proposal. It's not. If should be read in the same light as the other examples, the building itself (as an art object, similar to the Parthenon or what-have-you) left in context with its history of neglect left exposed, its decay on display.

    I have thoughts on scale in regards to this project but I'll pause for now...

  6. Swoody88 (I have not figured out everybody's online persona so please excuse my slightly vulgar addressing of you by your handle)

    I think you have identified two important operations of museums within our current society. The first being a centralization of what is considered to be societies most significant achievements. The second being a forum for education and dialog.

    I think there is more to be discussed and explored about the nature of these two functions for the museum.

    Rem Koolhaas's lecture is worth listening to or re-listening with this project in mind. Not only are the portions about the Hermitage, the world's current largest art collection, applicable but the portion about working in Saudi Arabia are also relevant. ( http://www.waltermcbean.com/public/podcasts/koolhaas.shtml) I have listened to him give a couple of lectures and the one he gave to SFAI was particularly interesting in that was tailored towards artist and normal people and not to architectural professionals.