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Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 7 Feb 2007 to 8 Feb 2007 (#2007-39)
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- Subject: Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 7 Feb 2007 to 8 Feb 2007 (#2007-39)
- From: Norman Shapiro <ufemisms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 06:34:55 -0500
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From Norman Shapiro
Topic: "Alternative Names for Art Museums"
In a previous post about art exhibitions, I concluded that some (maybe
more than some) are overwhelming. in effect, that more is less. (The
specific context was the Ehon exhibit now showing at the New York
Public Library on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in New york City.) I
closed by saying that we should show less not more and perhaps go so
far as renaming our art museums.
Such names that come to mind:
The Metropolitan Museum of the Art of the Obscenely Wealthy
Robber Barons' Collections Museum
The Tax Write-off Art Collections Museum
The Name That Art Museum After Me Museum
It is not that I am against living in a town like New York City with
its embarrassment of wealthy art patrons and sumptuous museums of all
kinds of art and treasures. I count myself very lucky, actually. It is
only that at times I get kind of annoyed, resentful, miffed. This is
especially when I am asked to pay an exorbitant admission fee. Why
can't I take a tax write off too? My paying an admission, becoming 'a
subscribing annual member' ought to count as a tax deduction. It only
when I am asked to make a 'Donation' am I allowed to do that.
In my fuzzy, muddled and confusion, I actually resent the foundations,
the institutions, the benevolent rich families who let me visit the
manicured grounds of their now historic estates, the galleries named
for them in the museums I go to.
This art that was hoarded and never intended for me is now housed in
these temples of enlightenment and erudition and open to what is now a
paying public! We pay our taxes, and then we additionally pay out of
our own pockets to get a glimpse of art never intended for us. The
artists were making it for rich people. Modern artists had contempt
for the philistine middle class, the clueless bourgeoisie. Museums,
galleries, auction houses -all aim their efforts at and for the
We poor saps are being made to think this is really all about serving
the public, our enlightenment. I'm thinking that were it so, would we
have such without the kind of government tax laws that allow the
wealthy to write it off? With out the art galleries and auction houses
creating a new kind of capital, wealth -in which the purchases
continuously increase in its dollar /yen/ etc. equivalent?
In Italy, where there are so many historic treasures, the Italians are
having one devil of a time patching and repairing their museums and
archives. They're taxing the people, and not getting their wealthy to
do what our Robber Barons have been doing since Teddy Roosevelt.
And we artists are part and parcel of this. We'd love to hit it rich,
be a celebrity, make our art so big that it can only fit in a big
office building, art museum, or mansion. Make our art so fancy shmancy
that the price will go up and be a good investment to the purchaser.
Sorry. I'm getting carried away. This is pure heresy.
Norman Shapiro, Book Artist (whose art does him)
The Bonefolder, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall 2006 Now Online at
Guild of Book Workers' 100th Anniversary Exhibition Online - Catalog Available
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