Saturday, 9 June 2018

Reading list, 9 June 2018

Wow. That was a long break. Back into it then ...

I've done a lot of thinking about Kaywin Feldman's (the director of Minneapolis's MIA) Museum leadership in a time of crisis. It makes interesting contrast reading to Olga Viso's Decolonizing the Art Museum: The Next Wave (written in the wake of leaving Minneapolis's Walker Art Center, in the wake of Sam Durant's Scaffold). It's worth taking a look at MIA's (short) Strategic Plan to 2021 to see how Feldman's thinking is reflected in organisational priorities. An amazing focus on visitors, members, audiences and communities, ("Mia 2021 is focused on relationships between the museum and: its diverse community, individuals who are sophisticated and loyal arts enthusiasts, and curious explorers seeking wonder and inspiration") but except for a mention of expanding the collection, nary a mention of artists as one of these communities to be focused upon, supported, or better understood.

Mary Louise Schumacher reviews the current state of art writing for Nieman in Critics and Online Outlets Leading the Vanguard in Arts Writing and also produced a focus on Hyperallergic, based on its ranking by other art journalists: Hyperallergic, at Age 9, Rivals the Arts Journalism of Legacy Media.

Yesterday Seb Chan published Ten things for my museum colleagues working in digital, an expansion of ten provocations he was asked to pose at this week's Museums and Galleries Australia conference. It's not just for people working in museums though, or in digital:

... US museums are disproportionately discussed in the global press. The international centres of finance and media remain New York and London, and as a result it should be no suprise that museums that are ‘visible’ to media companies located in those cities will be more widely covered. This is obvious, however it turns out that museum professionals are very good at amplifying these already loud media voices on social media. 
It doesn’t help that our world has become a slow motion car crash and all of our attention is being sucked into a vortex of US politics, but if you are in Australia it might be helpful to remind yourself that we have a different history, different beliefs, and different issues that are more pressing. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find allies with museum workers overseas, but even something as simple as comparing working conditions requires an understanding of the radically different contexts.
More on the digital front: the excellent Mitchell Whitelaw interviews the excellent George Oates on Making and Remaking Collections Online. I'm so fortunate that I got involved in the National Digital Forum when I did, and got to work with both these amazing people. The interview is part of the Remaking Collections grouping on the Open Library of Humanities, launched in late April and designed to keep growing.

Without a doubt the most dumbfounding art-tech story I've read in the past month: ‘Arrested Development’ Actor Portia de Rossi Has Invented a New Technology That She Hopes Will Render Art Galleries Obsolete.

An interesting piece from Australia's NAVA, Towards national standards for art in the public space:

Approximately 80% of the disputes that come to NAVA concern public art: regular reports of exploitative EOIs; lengthy and contradictory contracts issued after the work has started, or sometimes, after it’s been completed; having to work with third-party fabricators who neither like nor understand art; change of project direction or timeline without warning or compensation to the artist; confused approaches to maintenance, from short-termism to lengthy lifetime agreements; and so much more. 
Without a national approach to commissioning public art, including widespread recognition and mandating of best practice, it remains a relatively ad hoc industry. Public art commissions gone pear-shaped come to NAVA too often, and with so many inconsistencies, we risk seeing artists turn their back on this important opportunity. 
And finally, a beautiful piece from Edmund de Waal for the Guardian, after judging the Wellcome book prize: Breaking the silence: are we getting better at talking about death?