The Museologist

Collection Exhibit at MOCA

Posted in General by adevereux on December 16, 2009

What is the point of a major exhibition of a museum’s own permanent collection? I’m not saying it’s either good or bad, but I do wonder what reasons might be behind the current exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.  Typically, a museum dedicates a percentage of its gallery space to its permanent collection and then puts on special exhibits based on some artist, theme, or narrative.  What is the narrative of this exhibit?  According to MOCA, the exhibit “reflects the museum’s early and ongoing commitment to bringing art of major historical significance and distinction to the public.”  So it’s a self-promoting exhibit.  I guess that’s interesting… I would probably go see the show.  But I don’t really know what I would get out of it.  I think I would take away a reaffirmation of the artist canon, but I’m not sure I would learn anything new or thought-provoking.

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2 Responses

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  1. Ross Hamilton Frew said, on March 9, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    perhaps this is a way for the gallery to fulfil it’s acquisition requirements attached to the selected works, or yeah, just a simple promotion of the galleries collection. Many people don’t know that museums carry collections and in my opinion they should be promoted and made open to the public (perhaps not continuously) with tours. It is something I certainly enjoy, as I think collecting is an inertly human quality and can be used as a theme in itself. see Martin Parr’s recent exhibition at Baltic, Gateshead http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2009/nov/02/parrworld-review

  2. adevereux said, on March 10, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    That link was great. I went to Parr’s website and saw that he’s a member of Magnum. Their collection was just acquired by the research center where I’m working (HRC). I’m looking forward to seeing his work.

    As for the permanent collection exhibition, I agree with you. I think collecting is a great theme. I’d like to see an exhibition that examines collecting from Renaissance Wunderkammer to modern museum.


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