As an art museum lover, I am always amazed how art museums can choose such unique works of art to exhibit. I realize it is probably not as easy as they make it look.
Art museums choose what they want to exhibit because of costs, budget restraints, and space restraints. They want to show art that the public wants to see and exhibitions the people are willing to pay an entrance fee to attend. A museum also exhibits those works of art that align with its mission and vision.
Curators for an art museum decide what to show in the museum due to cost and budget restraints. Every exhibition will cost some money, even if it is a permanent exhibition.
An art museum must be sure they have the available funds to show the artworks in their museum correctly.
A museum is like any other type of business; they have cash restraints. Even if they receive some public funding and they charge entry fees, there are still cash restraints.
A museum must use its limited cash wisely. We put down money as number one for an art museum to decide what they will exhibit. What currency they have available is a huge determining factor for their overall art exhibition strategy.
The art exhibition must be something that the public would like to see. If the public is not interested in the art or the artist they are exhibiting, the show will fail.
An art museum like the Lourve in Paris is so successful because more than 6 million people a year will make the trip to the Lourve to see Leonardo’s Davinci’s famous Mona Lisa painting. Many people only buy a ticket to the Lourve to see this one single painting.
When viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, you can expect to find people trying to push and shove their way to get closer to the painting. People are lined up at the Lourve doors, ready to run in to see the Mona Lisa painting as soon as the Lourve opens.
When you visit the Louvre in Paris, you can see crowds around the Mona Lisa painting while other exhibits are not as crowded. The Louvre’s Mona Lisa painting is a huge attention getter and money maker for the museum.
The success of an art museum is like many other things in life; the success of the art museum depends on the public interest. Without the public interest in an art exhibit, the museum and the show will not be successful.
Today many museums have brought in a bit of an entertainment quality to the exhibits. They may have specific areas within the museum where they will show digital or other kinds of art because they want to be able to draw people into the museum and keep their attention while at the same time educating the public about the art.
Art museums have space restraints from everything from exhibition space to storage space.
Most museums well look at an exhibition and decide if they have the space for the show. If the temporary exhibition space requirement is too large, they may not want to take space away from the permanent exhibition.
Curators will need to choose carefully on what and where they will exhibit the works of art. Besides the exhibition space, museums need to also look at if they have available storage required for the art pieces they are not showing. All these space restraints must be considered carefully.
Museum’s Mission and Vision
Like many other institutions, an art museum will have a mission and a vision for what they exhibit and why. Some museums may have a particular task and idea from what period of art or even artists’ works they show.
Frida Kahlo has a museum that is dedicated to mainly showing her art and life. Georgie O’Keeffe, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock also have art museums that will show mainly their work. These art museums which are specific to an artist may or may not show works of other artists.
The Tate in London has a mission to “increase the public’s enjoyment and understanding of British art from sixteenth century to the present day and of international modern and contemporary art.” The Tate has a specific type of art to show to the public; the Tate will base their exhibitions upon this mission statement.
A museum like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum has a mission to “collects, preserves, and interprets modern and contemporary art, and explores ideas across cultures through dynamic curatorial and educational initiatives and collaborations.” The Guggenheim has a particular mission that they follow for their exhibitions.
Both the Tate and Guggenheim may have similar art exhibitions, but many are not the same. The Tate in London focuses on s British artists, and the Guggenheim focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art.
Like any other kind of business, an art museum usually focuses on something they will focus their exhibitions on. Even the best museums in the world will have some restraints for cash, space, and what the public wants to see exhibited at their museum.
For an art museum to put on an art exhibition is a costly investment. When an art museum decides to exhibit something permanently or temporarily, many planning, thought, and promotion will go into the exhibit—determining what and how to display art in a museum is usually a team effort.
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