Friday, November 17, 2006

Tribune Op-Ed Page

Wow ! -- I wasn't quite expecting this diatribe to make it to the op-ed page of the Chicago Tribune today. I never submitted it to the Trib -- and nobody told me about it -- I just opened up the paper this morning to see what sad things had happened in the world overnight -- and Yikes ! -- there it was.

But now that it's there -- let me elaborate a bit on my concerns.

I like Grant Park -- and occasionally walk through it on the way to the Field Museum -- but my real interest is in its northern occupant, the Art Institute - that I visit every week --- so my real concern is not so much how the bizarre world of contemporary art is abusing the lakefront -- but how it has come to utterly dominate the Art Institute -- which, though "encylopedic" regarding the past, is one-dimensional regarding the present.

Why did it discontinue the "Chicago Vicinty Show" 20 years ago ? Why will it never exhibit the top, living artists of non-contemporary genres -- like portrait painting, Impressionist landscape, Chinese brush painting, Orthodox ikons, Hindu liturgical sculpture, American Western art, Classical bronzes ?
Why will its new contemporary wing be devoted 100% to the kind of contemporary art that has been so well represented by the M.C.A. ?

And why do we -- the citizens who collectively own the lakefront land on which it sits -- allow it to serve the interests of the billionaire's club that sits on the A.I.C. board -- instead of the broader, middle-class public that mostly enjoys the kind of Impressionist visions that draw them to the block-buster exhibits ?

Why do we -- art lovers of various enthusiasms -- concede all authority to museum administrators who are basically specialists in fund-raising and corporate management ?

There needs to be a website devoted to the Art Institute -- but not run by its administration -- and let this be my opportunity to ask anyone who is interested to contact me about it.

( burningthrone@netzero.com )

3 Comments:

Anonymous marly said...

Infamous mountshang!

Interesting that the look and sensibility and the sense of "who's who" that the Art Institute projects nationally via their catalogues is quite different: Chagall silk scarves jostling for notice with Gorey pins, Wright ties, "Tiffany manner" panels, etc.

The other arts have parallel woes. One little example: in my realm, marketers often make the decisions that editors once did--except that they decide not on the basis of art but on the basis of "Bookscan" numbers.

November 17, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

I got the gist of your post but there is nothing about it in the Tribune web site for today that I could find in a quick search. The paper man won't deliver it here!

November 17, 2006  
Blogger Gawain said...

"Why do we -- art lovers of various enthusiasms -- concede all authority to museum administrators who are basically specialists in fund-raising and corporate management ?"

WHAT A BRILLIANT QUESTION

November 21, 2006  

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