Wednesday, February 16, 2011
'Visitor Engagement': Two ViewsThe NYTimes reported on the Met's decision to enter the digital age. It sounds like a list of good things: Wi-Fi, 'visitor engagement'--all of which Campbell says, is a "fundamental part of our responsibility to our audience."
I decided to check out the mission statement of the museum:
The mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
I believe that Campbell might be on the right track with his idea of furthering the visitor experience. After all, the mission of the museum itself includes stimulating appreciation for and advancing knowledge of works of art. I'm sure the supplementary information and/or videos about the artwork certainly couldn't hurt...or could they?? Charlie Finch has a very different view on the Met's digital goals.
In Finch's ArtNet article, Bad News at the Met, I suppose the title alone tells you how he's feeling about the whole thing. Unfortunately, his comments are snide and jokey. It's only half funny when he suggest that Campbell change his name to Lipton and serve free tea to museum-goers. I'm afraid he ruins his mission of warning the museum not to "trap, fold and mutilate every poor soul who arrives with something called Visitor Engagement" when he repeats the phrase "Wet Dream" four times in his article. But this was, of course, written by the man who also wrote something titled Most Art Sucks, so maybe the joke is on the rest of us. Read it here.