Posts tagged ‘art’

October 12, 2011

Gabe Adels-CCS Lobby

What an underutilized space! There’s one bench when you walk in, and I’ve never seen someone sitting on it. The walls are bright white. 3 of the walls are large glass windows, with glass doors. The other wall is a service/welcome desk that provides no purpose other than a friendly “hello” as you walk in, or a reminder ┬áthat “the museum is not open today”.

The most hilarious thing about the room is an electrical socket, located just beside the service window. There are no tables or chairs around it. It has no apparent use. Did the architect put it there as a joke? To challenge the sterility of creative presentation? It’s assumed an electrical socket has no aesthetics-its sole function is use. The way we try separate art and “real life” by creating a portal into a world commentated by a female woman with a British accent who seems to whisper into your ear “Please do not move or be moved by the art” Well, I decided I would use that socket, and got myself into some trouble.

I sat down with my friend Cy, and she plugged her computer into the socket and we composed a couple of business type emails together. I was sitting on my skateboard, rolling gently to and fro. The was no activity other than us in the room for 10 minutes. I did a, slow extended glide across the room on my butt, ┬áleaning ever so slightly to turn in full control. Suddenly, from behind one of the glass doors burst the security guard, screaming “Out! Get out! Get that out of here! The skateboard stays out! You get out of here with that skateboard!”

I flip the skateboard upside down, to show that I will not be rolling on it again. I resume my business with Cy. 5 minutes later, another security guard comes in, silently followed by the first. “I don’t mean to seem like I’m picking on you guys, but you can’t lean your backs against the wall. You’ll scuff them up, and the walls are part of the presentation of the art.”

What ideals are behind this separation between usable space and a space for art? Why, with art, is space so rigidly defined in terms of its functions? The museum space is not to be used for anything other than an extremely specific way of interacting with fine art. You can sit on that bench for 5 minutes, but if you fall asleep on it, you’ll be woken up. If a work of art moves you to sobbing tears, you will probably be seen as a threat and asked to leave. If something makes you want to sing or laugh you will be shushed.

These behavioral guidelines are inherently elitist. They maintain a separation between art, and the real world, as if normal people cannot make or appreciate art. They create a context that excludes those unwilling or unable to participate in a stuffy culture of specific behaviors, thoughts, and dress. These conventions should be challenged on every level. The institution of the museum and gallery may not be effected by city planning, etc.. Rebellion on however small a level raises awareness to the hypocrisy and ridiculousness until it catches on and people start to create and market art in other ways, to complement the portal into snobbery.