Sunday, January 14, 2007

A day of cultural input Californian way.

In Laguna Beach, South of Los Angeles, is a museum called the Laguna Art Museum. Not a big museum but it is a nice building with large spaces where interesting exhibitions could be presented. This month is a presentation of regional artists and except the work of two artists and a presentation of a photo project, all the rest is less than mediocre. It looks like the results from a competition that can make the worst kitsch.
Decorative art for an icecreamshop. Persons pretending to be artists but lacking basic technical skills, out of tune completely with what is really happening worldwide in the arts.
It is shocking to visit a museum in the most developed country in the world presenting such low level art. How come?
The idea that a museum is a place where sophisticated ways of expression are presented is not applicable to the Laguna Art Museum. Forms of art which are too experimental, provocative, shocking, disrupting, political or unsettling are not finding a place within the walls of this museum. Maybe the director and the curator of the museum would like to present experimental and inspiring shows of high quality but they cannot decide autonomously about the exhibition program. There is a board of directors who have to sanction any exhibition planned by the director and the curator. And who are the members of the board? Those are people who are prepared to pay to be on the board. In the case of the Laguna Art Museum $ 4.000 (3.094 Euros) annually. Whether a person has a cultural background or an expertise in the field of the arts seems not to matter too much. Result of this organisational structure is that the so-called art is only there to please the general public. To be entertaining in a not disturbing way.
This fits in the lives of these well to do people who live in an area where people go shopping driving Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. Where a half filled glass of wine in a bar costs about $ 10 (7,73 Euros). This dream of living in material paradise is not allowed to be disturbed and the Laguna Art Museum, sponsored by companies and wealthy private people, censored by grocers on the board, can therefore not be controversial.
This is high treason. Not only of the museum but also of the artists who accept the context in which they live and limit their expression to what is accepted by the society, producing pleasing decorative art, with only as a purpose to achieve a comfortable life for themselves.
Materialism above anything else.

A Museum like the Laguna Art Museum is a non-museum. It has no importance whatsoever. In a country of the unlimited possibilities, of the greatest wealth, art has become disposable. Easy entertainment. Art forgotten the moment one walks out of the museum door.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a country that cannot even remember it's own history but can sing the theme song from a tv show called The Flintstones that has not been on tv for 2 decades!