…YesterdayFrieze hosted a panel dubbed “Expanding Museums”, which claimed to explore the “current and future roles of contemporary art institutions. Given the role the internet now has in our lives there should be a lot to discuss on that topic — how can museums represent and preserve this emerging culture being just one example — but that, nor any other number of reasonable topics never got discussed. Instead, Glenn Lowry, Director of the MoMA, Adam D. Weinberg, Director of the Whitney, and Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman of the Modern and Contemporary Art Department at the Metropolitan Museum offered a full spectrum of PR for their museums, focusing primarily on the various buildings they’re each renovating.
That’s not a discussion, and if they weren’t prepared to have one, they shouldn’t have been invited. …
Back to photography, though. We all need to be incredibly active in the world of social media, we’re told, because that’s the way to succeed. That’s great news for outgoing types, the kinds of people who at a party will exchange some words with everybody. But it’s terrible news for introverts, who, if they even go to a party, tend to stand in corner, sipping their drink. What is more, the cards are also being stacked against older artists who might be familiar with the web, but who might be puzzled by social media.
Clearly, what gets shown in galleries or museums should be based on merit - and not on the ability to work with Facebook or Twitter. Of course, what gets shown in galleries or museums was never really only based on merit - that’s a discussion for another day. But add the social-media dimension, and merit clearly is having a harder time.
Having said all that, I do think that there possibly are various correctives, one of them being the (dreaded) curator, whether s/he exists in the form of a real museum/gallery curator or as a blogger or online magazine publisher (no, I don’t want to have another discussion about the word “curator”). So I don’t think that social media will necessarily kill socially awkward artists - but it’s something we should be aware of, something we need to work against.