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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Discussion: Have you ever experienced the MoMA Syndrome?

John Perreault’s Artopia Group on Facebook

June 1 - August 12, 2010

Participants (in order of first appearance):

Siri Smedvig
Lori Ellison
Joan Coderre
Carol Setterlund
Charles Vincent
William Warmus
Melissa Stern
Nathan Mason
Manon Cleary
Barbara Grossman
Jill Conner
Richard Minsky
Ken Turner
David Richardson
Saint-Clair Cemin
Ellen Wallenstein
Doctori Sadisco
Antonio Petracca

John Perreault Named after the novelist who first described it, the Stendahl Syndrome is symptomatic of cultural overload: Florence is too much; so some tourists swoon and faint. According to the Wikipedia expert (s) symptoms include “dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art.”

The Paris Syndrome, in a way its opposite, effects tourists to the French capitol who are disappointed with the real City of Light as opposed to the one they know from photos and films: too much garbage and, oh, mon Dieu, McDonald’s on top of everything else; I think I’ll faint – or throw up.

And now we have the MoMA Syndrome, first identified by John Perreault on Artopia. Viewers suddenly feel dizzy and nauseous when the art they have learned to love through reproductions, art history slide shows, PowerPoint presentations, and Google Images turns out, when seen at MoMA or elsewhere –i.e. in real life -- not to live up to the gloss.

Have you ever experienced the MoMA Syndrome? Please describe. Now that we have the theory, we need to collect some facts. But more importantly, is there a preventative or an antidote? Should all images come with warnings labels?

Siri Smedvig My first experience of this was not disappointment but an ah hah--what is seen as mere image does not equate to viewing the real McCoy. The Mona Lisa was my first ah hah (and that was before the more recent layers of protection added!) when I realized (surprised at her scale) that the potency from a painting comes not from its size but its energy & spiritual force & mystery palpable when viewing in person. I have found this to hold true with many many paintings--especially leaping to mind--any Agnes Martin, Bill Jensen, Kurt Schwitters.......I have this same experience hearing live music vs. a recording in fact. The recording may have a perfected polish of sound with complete accuracy of notes/musicality etc. but lacks the visceral impact of a live performance. But I think this is a common sensibility?

Lori Ellison The new Moma is problematic, trying to see around people taking picture on their cellphones or twittering - not to mention the architecture and the devolving bookstore into a garden variety gift shop. but still a lot to love in encounters with artworks in the flesh.

Joan Coderre I need to see the "real" thing. The Tate, The Louvre, MoMA, etc. etc. etc. I need the experience of walking into that space-that particular architectural domain. Each gallery space which all of these pieces "communicate" a particular style, subject matter. I find it quite interesting -how the mind of the curator created particular exhibits.
.....My folks always took me to various museums in Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut ever since I was a small child. With that in mind, looking at the real thing is extremely a powerful experience for me. For me that is the only way the soul of the artist can sing and dance.

Carol Setterlund I've experienced the MoMA syndrome both as disappointment and as an 'ah ha' moment. When I saw Hopper's paintings in the 'real', I was disappointed and wanted them much bigger. And, after years of looking at reproductions of Nevelson's sculpture and wondering what the big deal was, I saw a multi room show at the Phoenix Art Museum of her work. The real thing was a revelation. I have no solutions to the problem beyond perhaps being aware that it exists.

Charles Vincent Reduction (and the less frequent enlargement) although technologically straightforward, is still a strange and magical process. Most art images reproduced in print or electronic media are reduced. If you have seen it reduced first, the actual object must have enough presence of its own to overcome the removal of the reduction magic. Imagine a child entranced by a train set, able shrink and enter the train set, and then being lost in a rather bland and average city, walking along weedy fences and windy trestles longing to feel the return of the magic. Is it still there somewhere?

Siri Smedvig "What is small is not small in itself, just as that which is great is not-great." ~Rilke
I agree that work reads big and clear only if formally working- whatever its scale in actuality. When viewing an image in reproduction one's imagination needs dimensions for guidance or else incorrect leaps may occur. Schwitter's collages, many quite tiny, may be interpreted as large scale works viewed in reproduction (likewise Indian miniatures.) Both will read "big" in any imaged rendition.
I find the magic exists in our ability to enter the "world" of the art. Hopefully one's imagination remains active for this magic forever. The added stimulation of the senses (synesthesia is potent force) when viewing art without intermediary translation (either reduction or enlargement) --directly viewing the surface touched by artist's hand--helps me to feel the energy of the object/painting. So I vote Yes-imagination is a powerful force--still there!

John Perreault So far, so good. Some respondents relate genuine MoMA Syndrome experiences -- that awful, sinking feeling when confronted with the source of a revered image. Others rally with the reverse -- tales of the Ah-Ha Effect when the physical artwork outdistances its reproductions.

I propose now that the physical artwork, if it exists, is more like the manuscript of a play and not the play or like the negative (when there were such) and not the photo. The manuscript can disappear but as long as there is at least one script remaining there can be the play -- if and when it is performed.

Whether or not we like it, the next step will be taken. Art will become images without originals. This is not to say that art museums will cease to exist. The art of the past will still be preserved and in some instances exhibited, most likely in the form of replicas -- since if these are stolen or damaged, there is not much financial loss.

Since my invention of the MoMA Syndrome is Swiftian, the real issue may not be the familiarity that breeds disappointment or false expectations, but something else entirely. If aura is truly the distinguishing characteristic of art, can aura migrate from an original to a replica, from pigment on canvas to an image of same? What do we have the right to expect from art?

The images we see of Anne Truitt's painted columns are better than the actual works. Doesn't it then behoove us to think of the images as the artwork and the actual columns as merely the props for the photo-op?

William Warmus I supervised the unwrapping of Anne Truit's Bonne (1963) when I was the advisor to the Clement Greenberg estate and we were preparing the works in his collection for viewing by the Portland Museum advisors and director. The sculpture had been in storage for many years.

Although many works were in the Central Park West apartment, many were also in the art warehouse. It was a delight to see the perfect state of the Truitt, to examine (and yes touch!) the surfaces. This sense of sheer survival and the fragility of the artwork are difficult to reproduce in an image. This doesn't mean that the so-called aura can not be reproduced. It just means that we can not yet reproduce it.

And by the way, as a scuba diver who writes about the ocean as a work of art, I have yet to see a photo of a shark that is better or more thrilling than an actual underwater encounter with a shark. Sharks are not yet props.

John Perreault I thought I recognized that fingerprint on the Truitt.

Thanks for pointing out the quality of fragility that the work has. You are right about that and that should not be dismissed.

Although I do not scuba dive, I have come across many sharks----in the art world.

But have you ever experienced the MoMA Syndrome, by which I mean (more or less) been really disappointed by an artwork known previously only through images?

P.S. No one has even touched upon craft art -- where, other than in glass perhaps, touch is so important.

Melissa Stern Nope, I have also found the real object to be more meaningful than a reproduction.

William Warmus I find many works at MOMA disappointing compared to the way they looked at the old MOMA: the new building is not very satisfactory for the display of art. In this regard, I follow Victoria Newhouse in her book about Art and the Power of Placement.

For example, I thought that putting the Newman inverted obelisk indoors in the main court was a mistake: it should be anchored to the earth. On the other hand, putting Abramovic into that space was a stroke of genius. That placement worked.

With a photo of an artwork such as the Newman or Abramovic, you never get a powerful sense of the placement in a physical space. That can work for or against the original. Maybe that is some part of your definition of the MOMA syndrome?

To attend to your query about "craft art," I find touch in glass very important. For example I am lecturing about the work of Emile Galle on the west coast this weekend. I argue that you need to handle and touch the major works. Same with many Chihuly objects: I like to take the sea form sets apart, feel the weight and shape of each part, and hold them up to sunlight at different angles.

Melissa Stern If you're talking about the BUILDING- that's another story. The new MOMA is awful, full stop end of discussion. But I interpreted John's question to be about the nature of reproduction-vs- real experience.

John Perreault I am trying to remember if I have ever handled a Chihuly sea form set. Once. After that I always turned that task over to a preparator. Probably my loss. Yes, you are right. Once I read your response, I had sense-memories of handling a Valien, a Shaffer, a William Morris. How could I be oblivious to weight and shape? So do we imagine these qualities when we see this art in museums or when looking at merely pictures of it? In fact, here is a new thought: seeing art in a museum is in itself like looking at a photograph: colors and texture may be better perceived, but you still can't touch. And, also, glass in particular has a sound. Glass, like Truitt (as you described your experience), has vulnerability.

John Perreault Melissa, yes. That was my intention. But installations and buildings can change the perception of art also. Perhaps art must stand up to installations, buildings, photography. And of course art critics and curators.

Nathan Mason The Petit Palais gave me Stendhal's syndrome. I had to spend two days lying in the sun looking at nothing before I could get back on the art circuit. The MoMA syndrome, yes, in the form of disappointment and surprise that the original doesn't look like the reproduction. After the initial shock of the unexpected I generally take great delight in learning what the hand of the artist actually produced. I'm still surprised when seeing Albers square studies how simply and lightly painted they are as opposed to the reproductions which make them seem to be solid color blocks.
As to how museums and displays effect the viewing experience that became clear to me on viewing the Vatican exhibit in 1982 or 83. I saw it first at the Met in large lightly colored rooms where the artwork had room to breath and was bathed in light. I saw it again in San Francisco in smaller rooms painted dark colors. The work seemed dead. More recently at the Whitney the delicate wire pieces and subtle canvases of Richard Tuttle benefited from the architectural heaviness of the space. The same pieces when seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago seemed wan and almost invisible in those more pristine galleries (there the architecture really doesn't have much character of its own).
As for craft, one of the great things about the high end art fairs is being able to look and touch. True, I don't think the dealer would have been happy if she had turned around and seen me fondling the selection of Natzler pots - which are light as a feather and have perfectly turned feet.
I think Stendahl is MoMA's great-grand daddy. They are both related to the phenomenon of visual overstimulation. One is the physical exhaustion of travel and consumption. MoMA I think is more indicative of the overall saturation of visual stimulation and infinite reproductions (scaled up, scaled down, morphed...) that we now encounter ceaselessly.

John Perreault Yes, you are absolutely right. Both syndrome's are products of visual overstimulation. I left out the well-known Jerusalem Syndrome wherein visitors to the Holy City become disoriented, hear voices, and claim to have been chosen by God. This is related to the new Christie's Syndrome in which male artists think they have been chosen by God when their early work achieves unbelievable auction prices. Women are exempt because their prices have not yet reached the stratosphere. Seriously though, I do think art history professors really need to show multiple views of art works, and it would be helpful if there would be a PowerPoint program that automatically showed all images in scale with each other. In other words, a big Pollock would be in the right ratio to an Albers in the same sequence or in the adjacent screen. Detailed close-ups should also be required.

Nathan Mason Showing images of the artwork in situ should be required as well. I had a Road to Damascus experience about that when I finally saw the greatest horse butt in art history (Caravaggio's Conversion of St. Paul) on the side wall of the tiny side chapel it was commissioned for. Viewed face on in a slide presentation the prominence of the horse's butt is a puzzler - why so much acreage to that feature? Viewed as it was painted to be seen - from a raking angle where you are gazing up along the same sight lines as St. Paul with the hotspot of light blaring down from above while standing in a very dim nave the experience of the horse butt is properly contextualized within a painting/installation that evokes a fairly visceral response. And think about encountering the drama of that painting before television and the cinema enured us all. Caravaggio was quite a master.

If this link works it a good example of juxtaposing reproductions in situ and face on.


Manon Cleary I have never thought of Truitt as a sculptor, but as a painter that painted three dimensional forms. I have a small work on paper bought on whim in the 70s that appears at a distance and in reproduction as a solid alizarine crimson sheet of paper painted solid and perhaps by any number of means. It is only when one is within a couple of inches of the piece that an irregular vertical slash of cadmium red down the center shows through the upper layers (and there were many upper layers) that the seeming simplicity of the work disappears and the reason for her reputation is made clear.
I think that reproduction has never done justice to art and I remember a graduate school professor when I came east, saying that color field work in the midwest was grayer and not so colorful as in New York and he didn't understand why, until he figured out that the art students away from the coasts were being trained by slides of art and not from art.
My one MOMA syndrome was actually at the Pompidou in the late sixties riding that wonderful escalator and looking down at art that was familiar, but disappointing, as it all looked like row upon row of posters as we rose above the walls where they were mounted. The memory dims as this was at least 40 years ago, ( they might have been on temporary walls), but I seem to remember wall after wall of post impressionist paintings, disappointingly small after seeing wall size projections in an undergraduate art history class of these works.
And finally escorting a group of undergraduate students through the Phillips Collection in DC, I was very surprised when one of my brightest students asked, "are these real paintings?". She thought they were posters. Well John, what are real paintings? I think both your discussions are linked and very interesting.

John Perreault Because in your great antidote about students at the Louvre it is clear that there is a difference between the paintings and what might be posters, I think what you really are asking is not "what are real paintings?" but "Where is the real art?"

In terms of the proliferation of images of artworks on the internet, I have been trying to avoid that question, because the answer I need to give is scary to me as an artist who finds it difficult to stop making paintings and other objects and because as a critic I am drawn to such. I suspect that there will always be a minority, probably a rich and highly educated minority, producing and appreciating physical paintings and sculptures that you could but you shouldn't touch and that have weight and texture and that take up real space. And are vulnerable.

However, computer files and, therefore, images can migrate from one platform to another, can be stored in the cloud, can be accessed by almost anyone, anywhere, at anytime and at no or very low cost, I suspect that this is the not so distant future of art. This means we must begin to see the image as the art and not some distant source, if there is even such. I myself am incredibly annoyed when an art museum (or even a commercial art gallery) does not have images available of every artwork on view on their premises. Increasingly some do. I am lucky enough to live in New York City so I can see a great deal of art first-hand. Nevertheless, as global becomes normal --- and since I am insatiable -- I become frustrated when there is an exhibition I will not be able to see at the Tate or the Louvre or even at LACMA in Los Angeles that is not totally documented online.

This was why I did a spot survey of some museum websites recently. This is also why I was glad to hear the Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Glenn Lowry, say -- during a web-accessible keynote speech in Melbourne, Australia, just a few days ago, that museums of modern art by their very nature are unstable and that no one yet had adjusted to new forms of attendance (my translation). MoMA last year had 3 million live, walking around visitors; but 18 million visitors to their website. And, I myself will reiterate that this is a confusing, badly designed website at that.

My partner Jeff who used to be in the newspaper racket like myself said: Well, we already knew that more people read about art in newspapers then ever go to museums.

But if, because on the internet, there is a change in degree, there is also a change in kind. I would venture to guess that more people see images of art on the internet than see these images in magazines and newspapers. If in my own case, I multiple the number of hits on Artopia and assume that each of the visitors at least looks at the images, often six or more for each entry, the numbers begin to become astounding. I also think that looking at full-color images that you can zoom in on and copy and move around is very different from reading about an artwork in a newspaper (or even a magazine) and/or see an image of as some cheesy (newspaper) reproduction or deceptively glossy (magazine) reproduction. Plus online we have video and sound too.

This leaves the aura problem, which has become another one of my favorite topics. St. Walter (Walter Benjamin) was himself ambiguous about art's aura, a mysterious quality at best. Photography, his primary example of art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction, seems not to have aura. Cinema also. What does this mean? Is this good or bad? Can photography still be art?

Taking aura to be real --- and not just a simplified way of saying collective reception/class context/historical m├ętier --- I think photography and therefore any "second-hand" image can have an aura. We should test this. But in the meantime..... If tin saints --- even when they are representations of fake saints --- can have auras --- then why not images on the internet?

Barbara Grossman Is it possible that the MoMA syndrome is like that of looking a at a photo of an event we experienced in the past? The photo often supersedes the experience.
The narrative is supported by the information in the photo that one has long forgotten.

I have never had the experience of the reproduction overriding the experience of looking at the 'real' thing, Work may look bigger or smaller or have different attributes but a reproduction in any form can never replace the
physicality ( aura) of being with a work of art. I may be biased as I am an artist so I would be mortified if a reproduction supplanted the actual work.
We can never forget that we are sentient beings.

Jill Conner The Met Museum reported this past week that its annual attendance was 5.24 million, the highest since 2001, and dramatically outpacing MoMA. The Met's admission fee is optional so it is no wonder that fewer people put up $20 to get into MoMA. The higher attendance on their website makes sense: it's free; however the Met reported that 40 million people had visited their website in the past year. Maybe I'm comparing apples and oranges, since it seems like MoMA has always been behind the curve.

Richard Minsky 18 million to 3 million is 6 to one. 40 to 5.24 is 7+ to one. This is exciting, because 6 or 7 times as many people who can't get to the real thing can see it online. If they get interested by the image maybe they'll make a pilgrimage.

My mother was a member of MoMA, and as a child in the 1950's I often was taken there. Certain works shimmered--the space around them seemed to vibrate. That’s what drew me to art, and I’ve been thinking about why that happens (and how to make it happen) ever since.

Physical artworks are made of materials, present images, and elicit metaphors. That creates an apparent flicker, aura, or vibration of space with the shift in attention from the external to the internal and back again, many times a second, sometimes creating the illusion of simultaneous perception of several states of being.

A metaphor and image without a relevant material surface is illustration. That image can be delivered in any medium--a slide projector, a magazine page, or a computer screen. It may seem obvious, but when confronted with paint or stone you are not looking at a photo of paint or stone on a screen or in an art book.

Disappointment can come if the work that you saw as an illustration turns out to be an illustration. The AHA! moment comes when the physical presence of the Work has "all that."

Ken Turner I want to reply to a few different aspects of the conversation. I have experienced the MoMA syndrome, like Carol with Hopper, but mostly the ah-ha moment. My first real Modigliani comes right to mind. I had always wondered why anyone cared about his work during my Midwest slide and Jansen education. Once I had experienced the ah-ha a few times I think I learned to compartmentalize and take each as an art experience in it's own right. Both originals and reproductions have their place. When I taught I emphasized that this was an image of something else and that once you get the bug you go out of your way to see the original but if you can't go get what you can from the reproduction.
So my position is that having 18 million folks visiting online is a good thing. Many may not have the wonderful first hand experience but there's something. I trust that powerful work has an effect even in reproduction.
I also trust that you are saying the word photography as a term for reproduction because an original photo can be quite different from a reproduction photo of it. Again, both have value.
I also seem to recall experiencing aura from a book reproduction and then experiencing it again when I was in front of the real thing.

David Richardson I'm with Richard Minsky on this - materiality is intrinsic to the art object, unless it is digital and made on a computer, for a computer. We are indeed sentient beings. I think there is a hierarchy of experience here from the "real experience" to the illustration of that experience. An illustration (a slide, a reproduction, a jpeg file) can be an introduction to an object made in real materials, or it can be an aide memoir to something that you've already experienced. Here's a good quote: (from a new anthology, The Craft Reader, edited by Glenn Adamson, selections from The Art of Encounter, 2003, by sculptor and painter Lee Ufan), originally from 1973, “The hand is a friend of the brain. The hand and brain work together to paint a picture or make a sculpture. The hand is extremely important to the brain, but at times betrays it. That is because the hand is part of the body. Like the eyes, mouth, feet, ears, buttocks, the brain itself, and internal organs, it is an organ of the body. Because the hand is an organ connected to the other parts of the body, it can see and feel and think”. Not every work of art shows the hand, but it seems to me that most, if they are made by hand, by the artist's body, will not be complete until experienced in the same plane of experience - that is in person, in real space.

Saint-Clair Cemin My first reaction to the MoMA was that the space, vast and shogun-palace like were not conducive to the appreciation of art. The Lilli pond of Monet looked like a stamp glued to the wall and among Monet's brush strokes I saw for the first time, in white on blue, the drawing of an Australian aboriginal turtle; an optical illusion. In that space the only paintings that really held were the ones of Dali, since the carry their own space within their limits.
It remains to be said that there is no other way to appreciate art but to be in its presence, the internet has its values and if there is art that is designed specially to be seen in the screen of a computer or iPad, then be it, I do not see a problem. The 18 000 000 people who are "visiting" the museum by the net, are visiting something else, not the museum. I liked very much the old MoMA, I like less the new one, but with or without disappointments, well or badly displayed, nothing can replace the physical presence of the work.

David Richardson Eva Hesse's work is interesting to think about in this context because the silicon work has deteriorated so badly and some of the pieces were re-made by the original assistant/fabricator. It's a case where we have to assemble the experience of her work from multiple sources - images, what's left of the originals, the repros, our own memories if we saw the work.

Ellen Wallenstein Regarding auras, (this is in response to Richard Minsky) a few years ago I was in Madrid at the Thyssen-Bornemisza where I had the opportunity to stand in front of/look at/experience a Rembrandt self-portrait and I swear the air was charged in the space where I stood. Maybe something about the amount of others over the hundreds of years who got to be in that same space where Rembrandt stood to paint it? (obviously not the museum space.) I've looked at other sps but never felt that same mystery. It was the opposite of the MoMA syndrome (also I was alone in the room, which hardly ever happens @ MoMA!)
When I saw a Picasso show at MoMA (maybe 2 years ago?) the only images I was interested in standing before (more than a second or 2) were the ones without glass...

Doctori Sadisco Perhaps the internet is saving us from experiencing the price of over-population directly. So we can be on-line and experience the price of over-population indirectly.

Whether visiting a museum, rock concert, parade, state fair, or any entertainment, I get the immediate impression that there are too many of us humans crowding in on all the attractions to be able to have a quality experience of those attractions. On-line I have the experience that the only quality attraction is trying to get one's meaning across without "stepping on someone's foot."

Antonio Petracca William Warmus mentioned very early in this discussion that "Sharks are not yet props".It's surprising that mention of Damien Hirst and his Shark piece has not surfaced yet. I would call it a prop, and a work of art and a shark. Any image of his Shark and tank could never capture the essence of this work. Is it because of his genius or because its a shark?
Is it possible that the MoMA syndrome can be explained easily. The cognicenti have come to realize that much of the art collected by the MoMa, and displayed, is not that great. Time and space has revealed this. The shark, one of the most ancient and successful creatures on earth has proven its worth.

David Richardson Hirst's shark is a former shark, a product of taxidermy and not very compelling unless you are moved by large fleshy objects in formaldehyde. Could that also describe MOMA ? I don't know. Where else are you going to go to see the Vollard Suite, or Gorky's portrait of the artist and his mother? I still love MOMA because it's the closest I can get to de Kooning and Matisse, Scott Burton's granite chairs, Martin Puryear and Twombly's 4 seasons.

Doctori Sadisco. Whoa! I vehemently disagree. Not that great? The Museum of Modern Art's collection is not that great? Where else do you find Brancusi, Pavel Tchelitchew. Hide-and-Seek, Franz Kline, Pollock, Monet, Cezanne, countless surrealists, Dadaists, David Smith, Kandinsky, Calder, the original "Lumiere," (sp?) So how does that rate from who-ever are these cognoscenti as "not that great?" Here you are critics, here is Doctori Sadisco's Rule of critique:

1. It is all (and only) a matter of taste.
2. There is no accounting for that taste.

Of the thousand and one reasons to hate a work of art, someone else will come up with a thousand and one reasons to love that same piece. Art which was hated
at the turn of the last century was so because it was in your face different. Today art which is mediocre should be criticized. Then again, one man's mediocrity is either death or excitation.

Doctori Sadisco Sorry to not be on point about Stendhal's Syndrome, but I would love to see reactions that powerful as to precipitate a swoon, a riot, a fainting spell for some work of art.

Now when I have only seen pictures of people suspended by their pierced backs on giant meat hooks, I resolved to stay away forever from such masochistic demonstrations. Not attempting to understand it as a statement about culture, personal pain, desire, stupidity, or whatever it is supposed to represent other than
a painful, unspiritual act, is quite enough. I would not go to a gallery or museum to see this demonstrated, because I might demonstrate how well I can projectile vomit.
However disgusting I find it, I am not shocked or surprised by it as the world is rife with S & M. Maybe it is just a nice way for some artists to have fun. I would go, and feel honored to attend an actual Sun Dance. Why? It is all (and only) a matter of taste. And, there is no accounting for that taste. :)

Antonio Petracca Precisely! You have Hit it! There is no accounting for taste. That is why a Pollock now is now wallpaper. It is a matter of perspective. The critics in his time praised Pollock as the ultimate. But now he is reduced to wallpaper. The cognoscenti giveth and the cognoscenti taketh away. But a shark is still a shark. The stuff of legend. It instills power, legend, fear instability, rage. Warhol hat it right. He understood the power of the icon. Marilyn, Mao, Campbell's Soup, the electric chair. Life, the real, the dangerous, will always have an audience. We artists, critics and intellectuals have lost the battle. The people are coming to the Met, MoMA ,Louvre, Prado in great numbers. We can debate this syndrome and that syndrome, but they will come. Be it posters or appropriation or original art. These places have become icons. They are immune to our musings.

Antonio Petracca To Richard, Doctori
On a personal level, i agree . Where else can you see this and that. And be moved by , Pollock, Miro, Calder, Kandinsky, Ashley Bickerton?, Donald Sultan? Kara Walker? David Salle? Karen Kaliminick?(I'm not sure how to spell her name) I will still go to the MoMA, you will go to the MoMA, Joe Schmo will go to the MoMA. Does the MoMA have the best Walkers or the best Sultans or the best Calders? I don't Know....But they will still Come. MoMa is the Name BRAND. Motorcycles, Supermodels, Empty Spaces are presented in great museums. They still come. Jonathans MoMa Syndrome addresses powerful issues. To me, these issues contemplate a possible future. Be it conceptual, philosophical, real. But a shark is still a shark and most likely will always be a shark.

Doctori Sadisco. HI Antonio! I live in a medium sized mid-western city. Many of these cities have museums. They do not get the very best of current art, nor are they positioned monetarily to obtain the absolute classics. So they have fair representation, and average representation, peppered with a few classic pieces obtained and donated by the elite rich. Two such collections exist here in our "MAM," Milwaukee Art Museum, which probably would not be called Mam if not for Moma. The collections are one in American and European Folk Art, "self taught, outsider art," and the other is an impressive collection of art from Haiti, the Richard and Erna Flagg collection. The Flaggs live in Milwaukee and hunt for valuable pieces which they can privately lick their chops over, or hang on a wall near the bathroom and forget about. (JOKING.)

At least here you can walk through the galleries and view paintings and photos and sculptures without a million people filing through single file. That is true until some great marvel of the antiquities comes through and then watch the community pour into the museum.

Art on the internet is for me (matter of taste) boring. I like the fact that I can go find Banksy, and look at the brave silliness of his magnificent oeuvre.

I have to agree with his sensibility about making art public and not just for the rich elite. Although if it could ever happen, and it wont, since it is rooted to our history, that art became available that way, it would deny the wondrous world of magazine art critics and their ilk, the right to guide us to and away from certain works of art.

Please share with me, you dear art pundits, some art on line which is killing the museums and dulling my sensitivity with crappy digital facsimiles, so I can gloat.
Art made for the computer? - Erp. Art made for computer games? Eesh. Interactive art on the computer? Retch. I like the way I can get glimpses and hints on line of what is out there, but it will never take the place of the real deal. If I can't luxuriate in the use of a paint brush, see the buffed surface of a sculpture glinting sunlight (Smith), feel the surface of a van Gogh, before being led away in handcuffs, I will never be satisfied by anything deeper than mere on-line pornography.

Like digital music what is lost is the personal warmth of the full spectrum available to the senses.

Antonio Petracca Doctori, My wife is from Chicago. I've been to the "MAM" on more than one occasion. I liked it very much and its fun. I've seen some great temporary shows there. A gift from the "Gods" and the "Flaggs"! Like me, you seem to be a romantic at heart when it comes to art.(EEK...did i say that)


Doctori Sadisco In the words of someone of dubious political affiliation and also detestable, "You betcha!" I can't believe you've been to MAM. You know of the Flaggs! When is Chitown let me know. I may be able to come say hello.

Since all of my references are about the original MoMa and not the new one I can't talk about my disappointment. But in general I am at times disappointed with the architecture housing museums. Can such spaces be considered as works of art?

I never really liked the Guggenheim. I found all the climbing and the downward pull of gravity cumbersome on my 350 pound body. Okay I am not 350 lbs. But having to start at the top and work my way down to view art is not my style. I like being able to go back and forth to paintings. Look at one for awhile, then something else then back again. Etc. I like spaces which invite comfortable movement and which offer surprises around corners or up ahead. I like being astonished by a piece, and feel that placement is important, also lighting. If a work of art is poorly lit it goes
against reason as to why and as to its impossibility. But I have had that experience in the original Knoedler Gallery when it was on E 57th Street. Someone had lit three Dali paintings so badly they had a dark bar of shadow across the top third of each.
Pointing it out was met with skepticism until the artist himself thanked me for pointing this outrage out to him.

Spaces for art ought to be as well thought out as classic Japanese Architecture.
Whether the space invites one's meditation, viewing pleasure, ability to walk up to and for sculpture - around a work of art is integral to my experience. If the artist envisioned his or her work outdoors, it is advisable to place it outdoors. If it is delicate then close scrutiny should be envisioned for its location. Viewing art should be as natural as breathing.

Antonio Petracca Yea! Most of these New additions to old museums don't work...I agree that the elite architects don't seem to have the art in might when they design them. i might be in Chitown some time in August.

Discussion closed.....