16 SC Exhibitions Magazine 2016 RESPITE THROUGH RETAIL Do you mind being made to exit through the gift shop Retail is a vital revenue stream for any museum in the UK there s a tacit agreement between museum goer and mu seum director that a visit to the merchandise stall is the way to pay for ogling all those treasures for free In the US paid for shows and collections are the norm at the MoMA for example the store is an extension of the curatorial atti tudes of the cultural institution to which it s attached The gift shop is a powerful way to communicate the beliefs and the brand of a place rendered on tea towels and umbrel las but nonetheless communicated in that most under standable of ways Part with a little money and you can go home with some approximation of Degas David or a chip from a vase from a Chinese dynasty in a sturdy well print ed carrier bag In the gift shop we are buying into something familiar Sun flowers Screams nags by Stubbs But what if we weren t What if we were being encouraged to buy a souvenir of something that we d never seen And what if the things that were printed on tea towels mousemats and brollies were the endangered masterpieces of the ancient civilisa tions of the Middle East smashed and pillaged and shot at by the militias murdering under the black flag of ISIS Across the world museum directors have shaken their heads in sadness at this orgy of nihilism but have offered no sort of united front Standing on a dais and declaiming such frenzied nastiness is one thing but I wonder what it does ISIS aren t exactly ashamed of condemnation rather they proudly stockpile it and use it as fuel So we must do something else and something new Printing the extant and ruined treasures of the Assyrian and Akkadian empires of Mesopotamia on pencil cases silk scarves and carrier bags might be the spur that we need to care more about this pillage Let s familiarise ourselves with these works Let s make them Pop We find it hard to care about things of which we know lit tle it s easy to cough politely and look away from rack and ruin if we re unfamiliar with the imagery with the history with the importance of these objects But not if the mer cantile wing of a museum pick for yourself the percent age that fits asks us to buy the postcard It s in these small and incremental ways where a little money changes hands that attitudes are changed and eventually forged anew I d love to see the great museums of the world allied on each printing a tea towel with a work of art from Iraq or Syria that s been lost to the terror The quiet activism of drying your teacups with the image of a priceless relic a wonder of antiquity will start to effect the change the world could do with Exit through the gift shop with pride By ROBERT BOUND This article was originally published in Monocle a magazine that we at SC Exhibitions enjoy reading Listen to Culture with Robert Bound at monocle com radio a weekly show covering the latest in art film books and the media business Condemning ISIS s destruction of ancient Middle Eastern monuments is one thing but could the arts and culture fraternity be doing something more tangible A question raised by Robert Bound culture editor at Monocle

Vorschau SC Exhibitions Magazine 2016 Seite 16
Hinweis: Dies ist eine maschinenlesbare No-Flash Ansicht.
Klicken Sie hier um zur Online-Version zu gelangen.