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Re: [BKARTS] BOOK_ARTS-L Digest - 7 Feb 2007 to 8 Feb 2007 (#2007-39)

From Norman Shapiro
february 9th

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 obscenely wealthy.

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)

http: artasidentity.blogspot.com


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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