Das Museum als Identitätsstifter

http://www.belarus.by/en/press-center/press-release/ten-centuries-of-art-in-belarus-expo-opens-in-minsk_i_0000010516.html

http://www.belarus.by/en/press-center/press-release/ten-centuries-of-art-in-belarus-expo-opens-in-minsk_i_0000010516.html

Das Nationale Kunstmuseum in Minsk zeigt derzeit eine Sonderausstellung, die einige Fragen zu „Museum und Politik“ in Belarus aufwirft. Zum einen geht es um die Deutungshoheit nationaler Kunstgeschichte, zum anderen um die Verquickung musealer, wirtschaftlicher und politischer Interessen. Worum geht es?

Gezeigt wird die Ausstellung „10 Jahrhunderte Kunst in Belarus“  (27.3. bis 10.7.2014), das „Projekt des Jahres“ aus Anlass des 75.Jahrestages des Museums. Was auf den ersten Blick selbstverständlich erscheint, ist indes hoch politisch. Der Titel „Kunst in Belarus“ markiert eine Position in der Debatte über die nationale Identität: Was macht Belarus aus? Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: April 28, 2014

slave_houseHistory has to be a plural construction.”  Listen to the audio of Senegal’s Doudou Diène of the UNESCO Secretariat keynote address to the American Association for State and Local History.

Are our museums broken?  Will nap rooms, photo policies and cafes change that?

In the State Memorial Museum of Defense and Blockade of Leningrad on April 28-29 will take place the international conference “Connection of times: war and its reflection at the contemporary Museum.” This humanitarian disaster is one of the most tragic pages of history, which, however, is still not fully and very one-sided presented in museums. As a result, in the public eye the blockade is often presented as a set of myths.

Museum, innovation and commerce: Samsung will open its own museum in South Korea. Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: April 21, 2014

t03_05040120Working conditions in museums have changed  substantially during the last years. More and more freelancers are included in the often daily work.  Now the service staff in the Jewish museum has complained.   And for additional thoughtful perspectives,  check out this this issue of Art Practical on valuing labor in the arts.

One lone (and brave)  Chinese archivist documents protests through social media. 

Tiananmen Square memorial museum to open in Hong Kong.  Goal is remembrance as the 25th anniversary approaches.

Politics are not just external but also internal.  12 museum staffers respond to the prompt,  “sketch what you think represents coordination.”

Continue reading

What Language are Your Labels?

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In my travels, I’ve noticed distinct differences in how museums approach multilingual labels, and of course, the ability to understand and share in a museum’s message is, in itself, a message about politics and power.    In Europe, labels seem to appear primarily in the native language, plus English, the language that most tourists seem to speak to some degree.   There, it seems to be an issue about access for relatively well-heeled travelers (which is also, I assume, why I see labels now in Russian, Japanese and Chinese).

In the United States, there is some effort made for tourists, primarily at larger museums, but increasingly new efforts are made to provide multilingual labels for our community members, not just tourists.  Thanks to Nina Simon of Museum 2.0 and a guest post there by Steve Yalowitz,  I’ve learned about a new study that looked at bilingual labels (Spanish) from a visitor perspective.   As Steve writes,

access to content—the most obvious benefit of bilingual labels—is just the tip of the iceberg. Bilingual interpretation expands the way visitors experience and perceive museums, shifting their emotional connection to the institutions. Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: April 14, 2014

“Can museums respond quickly to tragedy and help heal a community?  Blogger Gretchen Jennings takes a look at the work of #BostonBetter, a project that developed as a result of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.

Kiss or Cat Stevens?  Linda Ronstadt or Nirvana?  Inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (and its museum) raise the question of a rock and roll canon and who should be included.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, new exhibit  Permission to Be Global/Prácticas Globales  features avant-garde artists from the Caribbean and Central and South America who’ve been excluded for from institutions at home and abroad.

Should cultural monuments become an active issue of the human rights agenda? Continue reading

Registrars*, Politics and Power

„How much politics is there in the work of a registrar?“ asked Katrin Hieke from this very blog via twitter.

My first, light-hearted thought was „not much“. We are not curators, so it’s not up to us to create exhibitions that raise questions or put a spotlight on important social or political issues. We are not directors, so it’s not our responsibility to decide how to deal with politicians and the current public opinion. We are not administrative officers so we don’t have to worry about how to stay in accordance with governmental guidelines. We are not marketing people, so it’s not up to us to sell what our museum does in all aspects mentioned above. We are there just for the well-being of our collections, to let logistics flow smoothly, to keep the paperwork together. What an easy, non-political job. Continue reading

Museum & Politik: Blitzlicht Nationales Kunstmuseum Lettland

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Andris Breže: Dove of Peace, 2014

Die hier schon mal erwähnte Ausstellung zum Ersten Weltkrieg in Riga ist in der Zwischenzeit eröffnet worden. Kürzlich hatte ich Rahmen einer Konferenz zum Thema „Der Krieg 1914 und der Modernismus“ Gelegenheit, sie zu sehen. Hatte mich schon zuvor das Konzept fasziniert, hat mich nun auch die räumliche Umsetzung überzeugt: Die Verbindung von Geschichte und Kunst aus der Kriegs- und Nachkriegszeit sowie individueller Kriegserfahrung und zeitgenössischer Kunst. Nach wie vor sehe ich darin einen eigenen und sehr spezifischen Beitrag zum Jahrestag, der zum Nachdenken über den Weltkrieg anregt, aber auch eine wohl einmalige Chance bietet, Kunst aus Ländern zu sehen, die wir hierzulande oft nicht ausreichend wahrnehmen: Serbien, Kroatien, Tschechien, Slowakei, Finnland, Estland, Lettland, Litauen, Polen, Slowenien und Ungarn. Continue reading

Die Krim, Russland und die Museen – Крым, Россия и музеи – The Crimea, Russia and the museums

Ich sollte das nicht tun, ich weiß es selber am besten: Mich zu dem aktuellen Konflikt zwischen Russland und der Ukraine äußern. Viel zu wenig verstehe ich von Politik, kann trotz oder gerade wegen der vielen Berichte in den letzten Tagen und Wochen zu keiner eindeutigen Haltung kommen. Wie ist das möglich? Ist es doch scheinbar offensichtlich: Die Ukraine ist im Recht, Russland im Unrecht. Und je länger die Krise anhält, umso mehr scheint sich das zu bestätigen. Und doch: Ich empfinde keine Wut, nur Enttäuschung und vor allem Ratlosigkeit. Seit vielen, vielen Jahren arbeite ich mit russischen Kollegen zusammen, habe Freunde und verbringe viel Zeit in der Region und liebe die russische Sprache so sehr wie meine eigene. Ich kann nicht anders, als russophil zu sein. Darf ich das? Continue reading

Weekly News Roundup: March 10, 2014

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Should Rio have a Museum of Tomorrow or is a focus on the future neglecting its history, including a complex story of the slave trade? Archaeological discoveries of global importance are happening as construction quickens for the World Cup.

Was Christoph Schlingensief a political artist? A branch of the Museum of Modern Art in New York presents an exhibition of his works.

Archaeologists from around the world report wide-spread destruction of dozens of ancient sites in Syria. Continue reading

From ICOM Russia’s President

272394_10150693086905580_1226772_oThe letter below was sent this week to Dr. Hans-Martin Hinz, President of ICOM and addressed to him and all ICOM members and museum workers from all over the world.

Dear Colleagues:

The Russian Committee of the International Council of Museums is a non-governmental organization that works according to the National and International law, ICOM Statutes and ICOM code of ethics for museums.

As well as our colleagues from ICOM Ukraine, ICOM and ICBS we would like to express our concern regarding protection of the cultural and natural heritage in Ukraine. We would also like to point out that cultural heritage should not be used to escalate tension. We would like to underline that in our point of view all controversies should be resolved only by negotiations and according to International law. Continue reading

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