Earlier this week I decided to take a break from the museum world (gasp!) and catch a movie at a local cinema. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this movie poster for EXHIBITION: Great Art on Screen. I have to admit that my first thought was, “museums are following me!” Then, I took a close look.
What is EXHIBITION: Great Art on Screen? Documentary film maker Phil Grabsky has launched the project to connect the public with artworks from across the world. Three films are planned for the 2013 year including a documentary about Manet that was released in April, a piece on Munch to be shown starting in July, and a film on Vermeer due out in October. Each individual film brings audience members up close to art and introduces them to museums, curators, and a behind the scenes look into the works of a particular artist. According to the project’s website, the events are being screened at over 1,000 movie cinemas in over 30 countries worldwide. Multiple “exhibitions” have already been planned for 2014 and 2015 as the project continues to expand.
I’ve got mixed feelings about this endeavor. On one hand, these movies have the ability to showcase art from around the world to audiences that might never have been able to see these exhibitions in person. They may have the ability to bridge popular culture (an experience at the movies) with museums (and access to art) in a way that some museums have not been able to succeed at. On the other hand, movie theaters are profiting from this endeavor instead of our institutions, and I doubt that many partnerships are being made between theaters and local museums to channel these movie-goers into museum-goers. I’m not advocated a boycott over here; I’m just wondering what partnership possibilities could stem from the project and others like it.
Is there a way to bridge these experiences and create an increased audiences base? What’s your opinion? Do you vote yea or nay to museums at the movies?