Tuesday, October 11, 2011

look harder

I read an article over the summer which applauded the Metropolitan Museum of Art's study into what visitors really examine when they gaze at a work of art.  For "Get Closer", the Met used cell phone technology (what else?) to create a contest where viewers were asked to take and send in a photo of a detail, along with a photo of the full work, and a 50-word description of why they shot what they did.  Five winners were selected and pictures posted.  The author of the article, Judith H. Dorbzynski, believes the Met's experiment was "worthy"; its employment of social media to get people to spend more time with art is one she feels "should not only be repeated at the Met, but also replicated at other museums."
Thierry Geoffroy/ Colonel, “WE MUST “RETAKE THE RIGHT TO REREAD AND REORGANIZE THE REPRESENTATION OF THE WORLD”, 2011 Venice Biennale. Copyright Thierry Geoffroy.
Yesterday, I saw a notice for Photography Calling,  a project exhibition on view now at the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Germany.  Among other things, it said:   "Museum and artists should not let social media dominate the field of collecting the history, images, feelings and interactions of human activity."

These two takes on museums' and artists' use of social media seem at opposite ends of the spectrum.  I am very glad to know that like Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel and myself, there are a few contemporary artists and museum folks willing to engage in the debate, rather than dive headfirst onto the "facebook, twitter, youtube, etcetera is unquestionably great" bandwagon.  It is interesting to note, however, that social media is being used to market this exhibition as evidenced by the exhibition notice's front and center links for easy posting.

1 comment:

Cortney Ragene said...

Laura, this relates to a debate we had in my research methods class a few weeks ago about whether twitter among other social media sites, should be considered as a source when writing a scholarly article, or paper. As you might guess there were people on both sides. It is an interesting and ongoing debate, however I feel that pretty soon, like it or not the world of art history is just going to have to accept social media.