Museums have long-lived a conundrum. They were built to allow the public to view art, but the bulk of the population does not come. They stand on the philosophy that art should not be in private collections, viewed by few, but rather available to all in a public setting. While that theory has been noble over the centuries, in the digital age, museum have a hard time competing for attention. In fact, two-thirds of museums have reported financial stress. What, then, can be done to attract attention -- and dollars -- in this day and age? More than you'd think.
One of the most popular museum exhibits of modern times was the 1995 exhibit, "Claude Monet: 1840-1926", at the Chicago Institute of Arts. It drew over 700,000 people during its run and earned the museum over four million dollars. In fact, a Washington Post article on the exhibit was tongue-in-cheek titled "Easy Monet", a play on the word money and the unexpectedly large profit that the exhibit would bring in. People, the same people that museums strive to reach, stood in lined for hours for the chance to see the exhibit, even with timed entry tickets. Museums have learned that Monet and all the Impressionists sell tickets and, while no exhibit has matched the frenzy of the 1995 exhibit, many have come close. In fact, the Denver Art Museum will be premiering "Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature" in fall 2019 before the exhibit embarks on a world tour.
While Gustav Klimt is a perennial favorite of the masses, in part because of the ubiquitous imagery of his famous "The Kiss", a new installation in Paris takes it to a new level while getting digital. The Atélier des Lumières uses 140 light projectors to beam Klimt's paintings onto the floors, walls, and ceiling of the gallery space, effectively letting you 'walk into' his art. Suddenly, iPads and cell phones have less appeal when you are walking with a 30 foot tall Adele, Klimt's favorite muse. Over 600,000 people have visited the semi-permanent installation and talk has begun on which artist they could feature next.
Instagram has over one billion active, monthly users and growing. Part of the draw is seeing IGers in beautiful photos taken around the world as well as posting some of your own. Many museums have cashed in on this trend by creating pop up exhibits that are designed strictly to be used as an incredible backdrop for Instagram photos. Everything from ball pits and overflowing flower displays to rain and mirrors are being curated to design the picture shot.
While patrons will always come to see the over one billion paintings, statues and objets d'art that museums around the world hold, exhibits are designed to draw in the average Joe. Check out an exhibit today, like US Art Map, to enjoy more art in your life.
When I started working on becoming more culturally aware, I realized that understanding art might be a great first step. I began learning about various artists throughout the world across the entire spectrum of time, and it was neat to me to see how many different art pieces I hadn't realized existed. I knew that I wanted to recognize art, but I wasn't sure where to start. This website is here to help other people to know how to find great art they will love, because I know how much better your life can be when you practice and enjoy art.