Took the family to the DIA over winter break. Always love the original parts of the building, and the Rivera Court is one of my all time favorite spaces. The collection itself is still suffering from having been rearranged in the most confusing and disorienting manner conceivable, all because some jackass published an academic paper about doing away with cultural and historical context in museum galleries.

The result is about the same as doing away with any contextual categories in a library – you would get a room with a pile of unrelated books, and some idiot standing next to it asking you to appreciate the “diversity and contrast” of all the jumbled subject matter.

I will be happy when the current guy moves along to some other fancy-pants job, or comes to his senses and restores all the galleries to their traditional and proper museum classifications.

Two of my favorites in the DIA collection, the mosaic from the Ishtar Gate (sorry Iraq, we chopped and stole this thing fair and square. Don’t tell Banksy people though, they will flip out)

I know, how original. My favorite painter is the most famous/best painter in the world. Ahwell.

What I really dig is his Blue (and Rose) Period, and anybody who knows my paintings can see where I get much of my technique. And for my classmates from CCS-CAD, you will also notice a startling similarity between Picasso’s Blue Period work, and the painting style of Sarkis Sarkisian (as well as his protégé Richard Jerzy)

A guard tried to nip at me for taking this shot. I used no flash, no tripod, there were no “dont take photo” signs, and I was not in a special collection area. I was clutching the DIA map in my other hand, with the paragraph about how you can take as many photos as you like, with the previous restrictions. It actually says to “discover your inner Ansel Adams”. I don’t think Ansel Adams had security guards nagging him when he did his photos….

11 Responses to Detroit Institute of Arts

  • lol…here, here

  • Hey thanks I appreciate the energy expenditure on this one – your last post made me even more interested in having a look at this myself!!

  • Yep, I had the wife looking for that article last night – (I will track it down, just give us a couple days) apparently the concept was based on the idea that somehow the “traditional” arrangement of museums (the “greatest hits” kind like DIA) were inherently racist in the hierarchy of the presentation of galleries. How/why that resulted in what they came up with – Ill never quite understand. I believe it would have been more culturally sensitive to make the galleries as contextual as humanly possible, i.e. 19th century euro art in a gallery that simulates the environs they would have originally been seen in. (salon style, etc) while the African cultures, for example, could be in a gallery that recreated where the objects were “stolen/borrowed/purchased” from.

    OR, just leave it the way it was so everybody can find everything.

    This article swept the museum culture like a tidal wave, and affected the display of many collections like DIA.

    You know, I dont want the Gilda Snowden in a separate room from Frank Stella and Andy Warhol because she is African American….That makes no sense to me – its like putting Hendrix in a different section of the music store (remember those ?) from The Beatles and The Who, because Hendrix was black. I want the Snowden in the room with the other 20th Century geniuses – PERIOD. Black, white, green, red – pblah.

    “Cultural” art as opposed to “Fine” art may require a different approach, as fertility fetishes from Mesopotamia or Botswana were never intended as an aesthetic object purely for enjoyments sake, as you see in the advent of the Fine Artist around the time of the Renaissance.

    Well jeez, its not even 5:30 yet and here I am up on a chair preaching…..more coffee is needed.

  • I actually would be kind of curious as museums are a secondary interest of mine (I teach US history for a living) – even the author, or an approximation of the title of the piece, would probably get me started – thanks!

  • Oh, and it wasnt written by the bow tie guy who runs DIA right now, hes just one of the many weak minded individuals who adopted the plan.

  • I will dig around for that if you are really interested – it is something that swept the whole museum system right around 1999-2000. My wife had to read about it while she was getting her Masters at WSU.

  • Do you have the citation to the jackass’s academic paper?

  • So as long as Im not using the “nu” lens, you’re fine, eh ? That’s cool, because these recent fisheye posts are 6 year old film scans. So, enjoy the old lens for awhile – heh.

  • Ya can’t spell pinhead without security. And it just gets worse over time.

  • ahhhhhhhhh. You’ve begun the new year without the nu lens. Carry on!

  • Just as long as you were not chewing gum! I nearly was tossed out for that. But ha ha, spit it into the guards hand! Couldnt agree with you more about the confusing layout. Love the DIA and try to go every Friday night.

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