German Curator Nicolaus Schafhausen gave a good lecture at City last night, on the role and form of the art institution. I'm quite intersted in gallery governance and institutional development - a legacy from working in the GBAG for a few years I suspect.
Nicolaus raised a lot of good ideas about extending the location of contemporary art beyond the art museum to re-engage dwindling and aging audience numbers. I've long had reservations about audience numbers as an accurate reflection of a gallery's performance, particularly as a justification for ongoing and future development funding. It's a bit like hits on a website (as Nicolaus pointed out). Sure it's a quantifiable number, but it doesn't actually mean a hell of a lot. If anything.
As with all art lectures though, it was a nice opportunity to sit in a dark room, look at pretty pictures (in this case by Isa Genzken (more in her at a later stage)), and let the mind wander.
Prompted by the talk, I thought a lot about a couple of artist projects/works that have shifted the gallery from frame to subject- New Plymouth artist David Clegg's Imaginary Museum project presented at the Govett-Brewster, and Rem Koolhaus' dissection of the value of additions to the Hermitage at last year's Venice Biennale.
Could the fact that artists are the only sector of the industry willing to question the museum be a case of the rest of the industry not wishing to bite the hand that feeds it?
The Imaginary Museum