is offering contemporary works of art in classical institution a good idea

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is offering contemporary works of art in classical institution a good idea
  1 O FFERING C ONTEMPORARY A RT IN A C LASSICAL A RT I NSTITUTION :   H OW D O V ISITORS R EACT ?   A   L OUVRE M USEUM C ASE S TUDY   Fabrice Larceneux* Researcher at CNRS DRM, Université Paris Dauphine Place du Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny. 75016 Paris. France. Mail : Florence Caro Former Deputy Chief of Studies and Research Department. Musée du Louvre. France. Anne Krebs Head of Studies and Research Department Musée du Louvre. France.  2 O FFERING C ONTEMPORARY A RT IN A C LASSICAL A RT I NSTITUTION :   H OW D O V ISITORS R EACT ?   A   L OUVRE M USEUM C ASE S TUDY   Résumé Une vaste enquête qualitative conduite auprès des visiteurs d'un musée d'art classique, le Louvre en France, permet de comprendre comment une programmation d ’ art contemporain renouvelle le public et son expérience du musée, revivifie la lecture des collections permanentes et le rôle attendu du musée. La réception de l ’ art contemporain dans un grand musée d ’ art ancien varie selon la familiarité avec le musée et le degré d ’ expertise du visiteur en art. L ’ analyse des entretiens permet de mettre au jour trois grands segments de publics aux représentations, aux  pratiques et à la réception différenciés, et dessine de nouvelles voies en matière de communication et de management. Mots clés : musées, art contemporain, art classique, visiteurs, management  Abstract A large qualitative study on Louvre museum ’  visitors in France offers an understanding of how a contemporary art program renews the audience and its cultural experience, refreshes the way they view the permanent collections, as well as the museum's role. Reception of contemporary artworks turns out to be different according to familiarity with the museum and the visitors' expertise in art. Interviews ’  analysis reveals three broad segments of visitors with different  practices, positions and reactions, and draws new routes in terms of communication and management. Key Words: museums, contemporary art, classical art, visitors, management    3 Introduction In today's eclectic and competitive cultural environment, classical art institutions are considering taking new risks, as any innovative firm would do in the same situation (Kotler and Kotler, 1998). For these institutions, which find themselves suddenly facing globalized comparisons, one of the key challenges resides in not being perceived as "mausoleums", but rather as organizations in tune with their times and open to their audiences. One of the strategies that has been recently and increasingly explored consists in inviting contemporary artists and artworks into the sacred halls of institutions mainly dedicated to preserving traditional heritage. In France, for example, the Opéra National de Paris  and Comédie Française  have both staged displays of contemporary works. These are not isolated cases and the current movement illustrates the broader responsibilities of these institutions and their new missions. They need to conquer new audiences, renew their pool of usual visitors and develop a policy based on interesting events in order to exist in an environment characterized by a multitude of genres and venues for the creation and dissemination of culture. Instead of relying exclusively on the conservation of objects and study of their collections, classical art museums are stakeholders in a world increasingly focused on contemporary creations (Cour des comptes, 2011). However, this evolution has raised different problems and challenges. The introduction of contemporary art in museums dedicated to classic artworks gets important media attention and is perceived as provocative. It represents a major stake for the museum's identity and raises a number of issues about the best way to offer a fresh view of artistic works and the appropriate type of dialogue and staging for permanent collections. Indeed, contemporary art as a genre tends to challenge existing codes and sparks debate when associated with classical works. These sometimes vehement debates have been echoed in the French press, for example when the works of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami were displayed in the Château de Versailles  or when Jan Fabre's creation was presented in the Louvre museum. The importance of the trend, throughout  4 the world, of introducing contemporary artworks in museums dedicated to classical art incites us to analyze not only the motivations of cultural institutions, but also the effects of these policies on museum audiences. This issue leads us to investigate new research questions, i.e. first, exploring whether audiences ’  responses are homogeneous, or inviting us to consider different segments according to specific characteristics of visitors, and second, the ways contemporary art in a context of a classical institution is received, accepted or reinterpreted by visitors. In this area, the Louvre Museum offers an emblematic case study by organizing a contemporary art program within its walls called Contrepoint LArt contemporain au Louvre . Visitor interviews offer an understanding of how such artistic policies renew the audience's experience, refresh the way it views the permanent collections, as well as the museum's role, and contribute to change its image. This paper is organized as follow: first, the issue of presenting today's artworks in a classical museum is explored in terms of advantages and risks; Second, the case study methodology is  presented and in third section, results show different possible interpretations from visitors, depending on the level of art expertise and familiarity with the museum. Implications for the management of museums and new research directions conclude the article. Refreshing the vision of a classical museum A museum is inherently a place of permanence, conserving perennial works of art decade in and decade out, which leads visitors - and above all non-visitors - to consider these works as voiceless and static (Musée du Louvre, 2008, 2010). But the principal of a museum gives rise to a paradox (Kotler and Kotler, 2004; Zolberg, 1991) because it is both a place where artworks are conserved and new ones are welcomed, which supposes there are specific norms for sustaining the collection and "codifying" visits (by prohibiting visitors from touching works, eating, running, talking loudly...). This world of permanence is the theatre of a veritable ritual for the visitor (Duncan, 2005). This is a personal ritual, on the one hand, expected from the encounter with the  5 selected works, the "best" of classical art, and a social one, on the other hand, via  the real and symbolic membership in a group whose cultural capital offers, a priori , an understanding of museum codes (Bourdieu, 1979). These codes and rituals form the very bases of an implicit contract between the museum and the visitor regarding the experience derived from the visit and the type of works expected. This contract is sometimes highlighted by museums themselves when they decide to renew the cultural offering to their visitors (Le Marec, 2007). Today, in a context of multiple and distracting cultural offers, the final selection comes down to the visitor (Krebs and Maresca, 2007). This new external pressure, based in part on the capacity to attract visitors, complicates and diversifies the missions of art museums (Bayart and Benghozi, 1993): the latter are fully engaged in the field of management (Benghozi, 1996) and the new event-oriented strategies they are rolling out aim to differentiate cultural institutions from each other and boost the number of visits, either by attracting new audiences or renewing more occasional or loyal ones (Kotler and Kotler, 2004). Thus an increasing number of cultural offerings   is upsetting traditional displays: temporary exhibitions, educational activities or cultural events (live performances, conferences), introduction of "live" art, etc. In other words, "events" that break with the core principal of timelessness (Cole, 2008). The rare empirical research on such new experiences either underscored the complexity of reintroducing a social history context to attract wider visitors base (Clark, 2010) or stress the need to new paradigms to present cultural heritage in museum (Cho, 2013). Indeed, the very notion of "permanent" collections tends to disappear in some new museums in favor of collections visible for a limited time (e.g. the Galerie du Temps in  Louvre-Lens Museum ) or permanent collections that are regularly "revived" by hanging up new artworks (e.g.  Musée  National dArt Moderne, housed in the  Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris). The presentation of artworks by living artists is part of this movement and concerns a wide variety of cultural
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