Museums of the. Mind ; Has the Relationship between Art and the Buildings in Which It Is Shown Broken Down? A New Book Argues the Case, and Says a Radical Reimagining of Galleries Is the Only Solution. by Jay Merrick
Merrick, Jay, The Independent (London, England)
The new Saatchi Gallery opens later this year at the Duke of York's HQ building in Chelsea. And the gallery, as much as the art, will be under close scrutiny. Turbine halls, billowing folds of titanium, vast spaces that make Monet's 42ft-long Water Lilies triptych look like a skinny greetings card... The way art is presented in London, Bilbao or New York is increasingly debatable: is it being overwhelmed or trivialised by architecture, or can it survive anything that dares to contain it?
Calum Storrie's new book on the subject, The Delirious Museum, argues that the curatorial interpretations that present art to the masses via architecture are failing to match the urban zeitgeist. He cites The Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin's legendary montage of recollections about the 19th-century arcades of Paris, as a key moment in identifying the mutation of fashion, advertising, progress, and boredom, into a modernist age in which the relationship between architecture and art has become complex.
To Storrie, an architect and exhibition designer, the white-cube gallery is essentially bereft. "The delirious museum sits firmly within the city, that most complex of social spaces, and the language used here derives from certain urban theories and stratagems relating particularly to walking," he says. "Movement through the delirious museum is characterised by wandering, or drifting and getting lost. The associations generated by the objects in my imagined museum are open-ended' meanings are unfixed and transient. The city in flux is the model."
Architects such as Sir John Soane in the early 19th century, and Carlo Scarpa and Daniel Libeskind in the 20th and 21st, have attempted to capture art's volatility in museum design. But "the idea escapes, makes its own way, and scuttles into the New World of the late 20th century - the rampant capitalism of Las Vegas via the global art brands of Guggenheim and Getty. The delirious museum can lodge itself and grow in its various mutations - image, idea, architectural form, historical fragment, cemetery, department store, fiction, motel, museum, film or artwork. It makes its way into the crevices of many aspects of commodity culture' there it lodges and grows in all its forms".
David Rosen, a partner at the gallery consultants Pilcher Hersh- man, has delivered architects and art spaces - including Saatchi's impending Chelsea repository - for more than two decades. "There's definitely a shift away from the previous white cubes," he says. "The new Max Wigram Gallery in New Bond Street is a great example of this. He had the vision to take a space that's vertical rather than horizontal. Here's a guy in his early forties who's caught up in the Brit Art period, and he's bucked the tradition of going for the white cube of space."
But Rosen, whose early commissions involved architects such as John Pawson, and artists including Donald Judd, concedes that "gallerists and artists think that if the …
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Publication information: Article title: Museums of the. Mind ; Has the Relationship between Art and the Buildings in Which It Is Shown Broken Down? A New Book Argues the Case, and Says a Radical Reimagining of Galleries Is the Only Solution. by Jay Merrick. Contributors: Merrick, Jay - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: January 18, 2006. Page number: 43. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.