Notes and thoughts (mine or others')
on Museum, Inc.:
The intellectual life of the fin de 20th will some day be described as a giant game of telephone, with the original source eternally receding behind interpretations. I've focused on primary materials in the History of Ideas - those who seek echoes, commentaries and wild misreadings will find them easily enough. Second, I've included works that were directly quoted or referred to in Museum Inc., giving specific references where I thought the original could clarify, or be clarified by, my meaning. Finally, the works indicated by an asterisk are items I hadn't read, but now wish I had.
The 6,000-word analysis of Museum, Inc., that I was asked to write for an anthology some time in 2009 turned into the postface of the Italian version of Museum, Inc., which in turn turned into this.
Andrey Kovalev's Organizer
A useful compilation of articles in the popular press (US, German and Russian) concerning Krens and the Guggenheim. The collection ran roughly from 1998 to 2002; links were given, but not always full references. This site is no longer active.
David D'Arcy, “Enron collapse is blow to US art world.”
Subtitled: “Energy company supported Texas museums, the Guggenheim and contemporary art.”
Klebnikov, Paul. "Museums Inc." Forbes, 1 August 2001.
Krens talks about attendance figures; claims he is "not interested" in elitism, and that "the distinctions between fields are shrinking.”
Mediguren, Ibon Areso (Deputy Mayor of Bilbao). "Boomtown Basque. The Economic Impact of a Cultural Revival: Bilbao." The Art Newspaper 12, no. 111 (February 2001): p. 49.
The views of the Basque Government.
Weideger, Paula. “The Supreme Commander of the Guggenheim Empire. (Guggenheim Foundation Dir Thomas Krens).” New Statesman, 20 February 1998.
Krens discusses his business plans.
Bourdieu, Claude. "L'Économie des biens symboliques." Cours du Collège de France à la Faculté d'Anthropologie et de Sociologie de l'Université Lumière Lyon 2, les 3 et 4 février 1994.” GRS. Groupe de recherche sur la socialisation.
The great, late sociologist lays out his approach and goals in cultural analysis.
D'Arcy, David. “Guggenheim Tests the Limits of Generosity.” Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2005.
Interview with Peter Lewis.
McCarthy, Kevin F., Elizabeth Heneghan Ondaatje, Laura Zakaras and Arthur Brooks. Gifts of the Muse. Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts. Rand Corporation, 2005.
Thinktankese for: “How come they're not going to museums any more?
*Spiegler, Marc. "Five Theories On Why the Art Market Can't Crash - And why it will anyway." New York Magazine, April 3 2006.
Good footwork by a co-founder of Artworld Salon.
Mei/Moses Fine Art Index
Jianping Mei and Michael Moses present a statistical argument for art as an investment. Incidentally, NYU's Stern School of Business, where Moses once taught, has been listed as a "Corporate" Contributor to the Guggenheim.
An excellent research tool with access to a large amount of the writings of Marx and many others. The following are particularly relevant:
Marx, Karl. Grundrisse. Foundations [Outlines] of the critique of political economy .
————.A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy .
The first includes a brief discussion of art as the economic model for distribution and consumption under Capitalism, the second develops this theme in a more general fashion.
The Museum of the Future 2. Panel Discussion. World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos, 1 September 2001.
Krens on the museum as pyramid and on being tyrannized, and Koolhas on museums as economic engines.
books & articles:
Adorno, Theodor W. "Subject-Object." In The Essential Frankfurt School Reader, ed. Andrew Arato and Eike Gebhardt, 500-520. New York: Urizen Books, 1978.
The great cultural critic addresses the applications of Marx's theory.
Denis Diderot, Denis and Jean Le Rond d'Alembert. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Paris: Briasson, etc., 1751-1765.
Available in numerous reprints. Along with Rousseau and Winckelmann, gives a small sampling of the rambling discussions about the social utility of art in the eighteenth century; see in particular d'Alembert, “Discours préliminaire des editeurs” in Encyclopédie I, i-xlv; Chevalier de Jaucourt, “Article Peinture,” ibid, XII, 267-268. Diderot, “Génie,” ibid, II, 584.
Benjamin, Walter. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." In Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968), 217-52.
Originally published in French. One of the great, contentious works of twentieth-century cultural criticism.
————. "Addendum to 'The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire." In Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism (London: Verso, 1983), 103-06.
An insight into Benjamin's methodology.
Bourdieu, Pierre. “Disposition esthétique et compétence artistique.” Les Temps Modernes XXVI, 295 (février 1971): 1344-78.
————. Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1984. Original Title: La Distinction. Critique Sociale Du Jugement. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1979.
Bourdieu, Pierre, Dominique Schnapper, and Alain Darbel. The Love of Art. European Art Museums and Their Public. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1990. Originally published as: Bourdieu, Pierre, Alain Darbel, and Dominique Schnapper. L'Amour de l'art: les musées d'art européens et leur public. 2e ed., rev. et augmentée. Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1969.
Bourdieu, Pierre and Randal Johnson. The Field of Cultural Production. Essays on Art and Literature . New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
Anyone who knows Bourdieu will recognize how much I owe to his work, and where I've departed from it: the idea of interest in disinterestedness, of habitus, the economic value of symbolic exchanges, and so forth. The above is just a sampling.
Brecht, Bertolt. "Über die Theatralik des Faschismus." Werke: Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe, ed. Bertolt Brecht and Werner Hecht (Berlin, Frankfurt am Main: Aufbau-Verlag. Suhrkamp, 1988-2000), Bd. 22. t. 1, 559-69.
The quote I use reads in the original: "Denn das Volk muss zum Publikum werden.”
Brooks, David. Bobos in Paradise. The New Upper Class and How They Got There. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
The quote used is on p. 61. Brooks recycles a number of insights from Paul Goodman's 1960 classic, Growing up Absurd and does it poorly.
Buonfino, Giancarlo. La politica culturale operaia: da Marx e Lasalle alla Rivoluzione di Novembre, 1859-1919. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1975.
An original study of Schiller's influence on European worker's politics.
Crow, Thomas E. Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
The primary sources are excellent, but Crow occasionally misreads them. The passage quoted is on p. 5.
Cuno, James B and Neil MacGregor. Whose Muse? Art Museums and the Public Trust. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2004.
I've made abundant use of this one. Readers should consult it to reassure themselves that, yes, this is how museum directors think and no, you can't make this stuff up.
James B. Cuno (Director, Courtauld Institute of Art) .“Introduction, 11-25,” for the quote from Lynne Cheney.
Neil MacGregor (Director, British Museum). “A Pentecost in Trafalgar Square,” 27-48 for the story about Robert Peel and plans to move the National Gallery.
James N. Wood (Director, Art Institute of Chicago). “The Authorities of the American Art Museum,” 103-128; the comment on the American Constitution is on p. 107.
Glenn D. Lowry (Director, MoMA).“A Deontological Approach to Art Museums and the Public Trust,” 129-149, with the reference to Habermas on p. 138 and the quote from the Guggenheim's Director of Communications on p. 137.
Philippe de Montebello (Director, Metropolitan Museum of Art). “Art Museums, Inspiring Public Trust,” 151-68, for various swipes at Krens. The comment about pure reverie is on p. 155.
"Roundtable discussion," 170-201, in which all ideological hell breaks loose.
Debord, Guy. La Société du spectacle. Paris: Éditions Champ Libre, 1983.
The quote used is on p. 10: “et l'unification qu'il accomplit n'est rien d'autre qu'un language officiel de la séparation généralisée.” Danged if I know what he's saying beyond that.
FitzGerald, Michael C. Making Modernism. Picasso and the Creation of the Market for Twentieth-Century Art. 1st ed ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995.
Picasso as a capitalist. The man really was a genius.
Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture a Critical History. 3rd ed., rev. and enl. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992.
Superb introduction to architectural theory.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Seabury Press, 1970.
That's "Paulo," not Paolo." If you don't know this one you don't know teaching.
Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. Hitler's Willing Executioners. Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Vintage Books, 1997.
Interesting insights about the role of Bildung (cultural formation) among the Nazis on pp. 56 sqq.
Gottdiener, Mark. The Social Production of Urban Space. 2nd ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994.
Greed and real estate in America. Ten years ahead of its time.
Gramsci, Antonio. "The Formation of Intellectuals." The Modern Prince and other writings (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1957), 118-125.
"Trust" and "Prestige:" two favorite words among conservative museum directors. Wonder if they've been reading Gramsci?
Gray, Tim. "When Beauty and Value Are in the Beholder's Eyes." New York Times Business Section, 29 August 2004, 8.
An appropriately nuanced evaluation of the work of Michael A. Moses
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. Aesthetics. Lectures on Fine Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975. Original version: Vorlesungen Über Die Ästhetik. Hegel, Werke, 13-15. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1970.
The passage on the godhead appearing in a flash of lightning is in the Introduction: 8 ) Division of the Subject, (iii) The System of the Individual Arts, b) (p. 84 of this edition); In the German version, EINLEITUNG: Einteilung, III, 2 (Vol. 13, p. 118).
Kimmelman, Michael. "Museums in a Quandary: Where Are the Ideals?" New York Times, 26 August 2001, sec 2, p. 1.
“Museums must re-assert their authority...” Yessir, Sir.
Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government an Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent and End of Civil Government, and A Letter Concerning Toleration. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 1966.
That was neo-liberals back in the late seventeenth century, before they threw off the mask.
*Mairesse, François. Le droit d'entrer au musée. Bruxelles: Labor, 2005
Thoughtful overview of the "problem" of free admissions.
Marincola, Paula and Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Curating Now. Imaginative Practice, Public Responsibility. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, 2001.
What happens when curators let down their guard. The insight about performance art as real estate speculation is on p. 147.
Marx, Karl and others. Marx & Engels on Literature and Art. A Selection of Writings, eds. Lee Baxandall and Stefan Morawski. St. Louis: Telos Press, 1973.
Contains a translation of the “Sickingen Debate” between Marx and Ferdinand Lassalle concerning Schiller.
Muschamp, Herbert. "Gehry's Vision of Renovating Democracy." New York Times, 18 May 2001: E25.
*Plaza, Beatriz. "The Return on Investment of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research vol. 30, no. 2 (June 2006): 452-67. http://www.scholars-on-bilbao.info/fichas/BPlaza_ROI_Guggenheim_IJURR_2006.pdf. Confirms my own assessment and warning, a year later. But with charts.
Pogrebin, Robin. "Loyalty Prevails Over Money in Guggenheim Showdown." New York Times, 21 January 2005, Section B: 3.
The New York Times above mere filthy lucre.
Prud'homme, Alex. "The CEO of Culture, Inc.." Time Magazine, 20 January 1992, Business Section.
Catchy title, eh?
Quatremère de Quincy, Antoine-Chrysostôme. Lettres à Miranda sur le déplacement des monuments de l'art de l'Italie , ed. Edouard Pommier. Librairie du bicentenaire de La Révolution Française. Paris: Macula, 1989.
An early protest and analysis of the logic of art looting.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Oeuvres Complètes, vol. III, ed. Bernard Gagnebin and Marcel Raymond. Bibliothèque De La Pléiade. Paris: Gallimard, 1964.
Crucial texts concerning the problem of culture and social construction, notably, “Discours qui a remporté le prix à l' Académie de Dijon en l'année 1750. Sur cette Question proposée par la même Académie: Si le rétablissement des Sciences et des Arts a contribué à épurer les moeurs” ["Discours sur les Sciences et les Arts"], 1-30; “Sur la Réponse qui a été faite à son Discours” [Lettre à Stanislas], 35-57; “Dernière Réponse,” 71-96.
Rose, Margaret A. Marx's lost aesthetic. Karl Marx and the visual arts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. A breif, but intense, overview of possible Marxist responses to the "Schilleric" theory of art.
Ruppelt, Georg. Schiller im Nationalsozialistischen Deutschland. Der Versuch einer Gleichschaltung. Metzler Studienausgabe. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1979.
A brief overview of the fascination with Schiller in Nazi-time. Incidentally, Schiller was one of Ayn Rand's favorites – as well as Hitler's.
Schiller, Friedrich. "Was kann eine gute stehende Schaubühne eigentlich Wirken?" ["Die Schaubühne als moralische Anstalt betrachtet."  In Schillers Werke. Nationalausgabe. Bd. 20. Philosophische Schriften (Weimar: H. Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1962), 87-100.
“Der gemeinschaftliche Kanal, in welchen von dem denkenden bessern Theile des Volks das Licht der Weißheit herunterströmt, und von da aus in milderen Strahlen durch den ganzen Staat sich verbreitet”, p. 97.
________. Über die Ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen (On the Aesthetic Education of Man). Leipzig, 1795.
A hugely influential work, widely translated and reprinted. Schiller "invents" the concept of the redemptive value of culture .
Schuman, William. “The New Establishment.” Schuman, then President of Juilliard, argues: “Basic to our problem is not that our deficits are too large, but that they are too small.”
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
Book II, Chapter III, Of the Accumulation of Capital, or of Productive and Unproductive Labour refers to cultural and artistic production as "special" cases.
Thomson, Virgil. "The Intellectual Audience." Herald Tribune, January 1950. Reprinted in A Virgil Thomson Reader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981.
The kind of sensitive, aware criticism of audience that got Thomson on the Index at the NY Times.
Twombly, Robert C. Power and Style: a Critique of Twentieth-Century Architecture in the United States. New York: Hill and Wang, 1996.
One of the very few books to take on the problem of corporate support of architecture.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism . Introduction by Anthony Giddens. New York: Scribner, 1976.
A classic of self-deception, with a classic of an introduction.
Winckelmann, Johann Joachim. Gedanken uber die Nachahmung der Grieschischen Werke in der Malerey und Bildhauerkunst. (Reflections on the painting and sculpture of the Greeks). Dresden: 1755. English translation by Henry Fuseli, 1765.
Winckelmann's influence on theories of culture and society was enormous.