Prickly Paradigm #21
Museum, Inc.: Inside the Global Art World
Has corporate business overtaken the art world? It's no secret that art and business have always mixed, but their relationship today sparks more questions than ever. Museum, Inc. describes the new art conglomerates from an insider's perspective, probing how their roots run deep into corporate culture. Paul Werner draws on his nine years at the Guggenheim Museum to reveal that contemporary art museums have not broken radically with the past, as often claimed. Rather, Werner observes, they are the logical outcome of the evolution of cultural institutions rooted in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, the colonial expansion of the liberal nation-state, and the rhetoric of democracy.
In a witty and argumentative style, Werner critically analyzes today's art institutions and reframes the public's accepted view of them, exposing how their apparent success belies the troubling forces operating within them. He ultimately argues that the art museum we know and love may have already run its course. An engaging discourse structured as an informal gallery talk, Museum, Inc. is a thought-provoking and passionate polemic that offers ideas for a new, more democratic museum.