Should Art Museums Be Democratized?

Topics: Visual arts, Museum, Art museum Pages: 4 (1561 words) Published: November 5, 2012
The art museum is a place that collects and preserves very valuable and profound pieces of art created by some of the most influential artists of all time. Not everyone can understand the emotions and profound ideas that are expressed in old works of art. Only a fraction of all people can really appreciate a fine work of art and understand its true meaning. Many people that go to the art museum do not belong. They do not hold the higher level of education needed to look at a painting and see its full potential. I do not think the people of art museums should put in the effort to democratize these institutions mainly because you cannot train people to enjoy art, because education of art is not valued, and because the elitism of the art museum experience will depreciate as a result. The experience of going to an art museum is not for everyone. One must be interested in art to enjoy it. Pierre Bourdie studied a myth about art museums: Greatness in art is grasped by some innate quality of the human spirit, not through learning, but through something akin to grace; merely by having access to art, those with this special gift are enabled to manifest this capacity, whereas those lacking it gain nothing and expose themselves to ridicule; since taste is innate, ineffable, and spontaneous, it is difficult to define or specify (Zolberg 55). A person develops a taste for art on his own; it is very hard to teach someone to like it. It is pointless for schools to force students to go to art museums because most of the students will be bored and uncomfortable. If someone has the drive for art then they will naturally follow that drive without any other influences such as teachers forcing them. This drive for art is usually found in well educated people who read about art in their free time and enjoy looking at paintings and sculptures. Vera Zolberg explained in her article An Elite Experience for Everyone that Bourdie and Darbel did research on the visitors of art museums in...

Cited: Cuno, James. “Against the Discursive Museum.” the discursive museum. Ed. Peter Noever. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Publishers, 2001. 44-57.
O’Doherty, Brian. “Context as Content.” Inside the White Cube: the Ideology of the Gallery Space. Berkely: University of California Press, 1976. 65-86.
Zolberg, Vera L. “An Elite Experience for Everyone: Art Museums, the Public and Cultural Literacy.”Museum Culture:Histories, Discourses, Spectacles. Eds. Daniel J. Sherman and Irit Rogoff.Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994. 49-65.
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