Scribbling a moustache on the face of the Mona Lisa earned MARCEL DUCHAMP the title of Dadaist. The work is entitled L.H.O.O.Q. Against a background of
DUCHAMP's L.H.O.O.Q., THIERRYDE DUVE is introduced. THIERRYDEDUVEteaches
history of art at the UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA. He has written extensively on MARCHEL DUCHAMP, and on the ways in which aesthetic judgements have been
institutionalised since the beginning of the 19th century. THIERRYDE DUVEexplains the history of the 19th century painting salons and the birth of the museum of modern art. Why do we have museums of modern art? Why not simply museums of art? Or if we need to divide the history of art into periods, why do we draw the line between modern art and the rest?
THIERRYDE DUVE explains the historical development from 1750 (the formation of
the painting salons) through 1793 (opening of THE LOUVRE), 1851 (COURBET builds his own museum in front of the SALON), 1863 (first SALON DESREFUSES, with paintings rejected by the SALON), 1874 (MALLARME writes in defence of MANET: The jury has only to say this is a painting, or this is not a painting), 1884 (creation of the SALONDES INDEPENDANTS), and 1912 DUCHAMP'S painting Nude descending a Staircase is rejected by the SALONDES INDEPENDANTS.
With these dates, THIERRYDE DUVE argues that the museum of modern art is
born when art can no longer be judged by juries, when art is being rejected and finally,
as the ready-mades of MARCHEL DUCHAMP indicate, when art is no longer possible.
Reproductions are shown of 'realist' paintings by COURBET as well as 'unfinished' paintings by MANET, abstract paintings by KANDINSKY and photographic
documentation of the Armory Show in New York which included works by
THIERRYDEDUVE has installed in a completely new way several ready-mades by
MARCEL DUCHAMP in the NATIONAL GALLERY in Ottawa. He introduces the
installation and explains: //I have deinstitutionalised the works ofMARCHEL
DUCHAMP. In order to give the authority of judging art back to the public, we undid the
work of DUCHAMP on pedestals and in glass cases//.
The sequence continues with a reproduction of La bofte-en-valise, created
by DUCHAMP in 1941. As DUCHAMP said: //There again, a new form of expression was involved. Instead of painting something new, my aim was to reproduce the paintings
and the objects I like and collect them in a space as small as possible. I did not know
how to go about it. I first thought of a book, but I did not like the idea. Then it occured
to me that it could be a box in which all my works would be collected and mounted like a
small museum, a portable museum, so to speak//.
With this example, DEDUVE introduces the idea of the constant reproduction of the
work of art. This idea has been formulated since DUCHAMP by ANDRÈ MALRAUX in his manifesto Museum Without Walls, and MALRAUX's vision contributed to the creation of the CENTREGEORGES POMPIDOU in Paris. The Centre is the first
museum which has acknowledged that everything starts with reproduction, that th e
real work of art is in a sense only an appendix to the reproduction.
Archive: Excerpts from the film The Imaginary Museum (1976) devoted to the
ideas of ANDRE MALRAUX, which are . Included in the ROSSELLINI documentary
about the construction of the CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU.
Photographic documents of the exhibition at the CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU which
reconstructed the MARCEL DUCHAMP room at the Armory Show.
THIERRY DEDUVE: DUCHAMP as you know was the star in the Armory Show with the Nude Descending a Staircase, The organiser of the Paris-New York show at the BEAUBOURG CENTRE in Paris could not secure Nude Descending a Staircase, //for GOD knows what reason. They could not
have it and they wanted to stage a room reconstituting the Armory Show. So you
entered a room saying Armory Show 1913. And in the room there was a painting
which happened to be the Nude Descending a Staircase, but another version, a lifesize photograph, handpainted by DUCHAMP and signed// MARCEL DUCHAMP fils, 1916.
DUCHAMP did this painting to please his friend WALTER ARENSBERG. What is the average viewer at the BEAUBOURG CENTRE supposed to understand when he enters this Armory Show room, which says '1913', and sees a thing which he probably doesn't identify as a photograph, and dated 1916? This is totally crazy. That is what BAUDRILLARD calls the 'implosion of the museum; l'effet Beaubourg has everything to do with that.
Finally, DEDUVE explains the work of artists who want to work outside of the museum or who have critised the museum . He interprets The Destroyed Room by JEFF WALL as a work that addresses the imaginary museum, and discusses the works of DANIEL BUREN created inside and outside the CENTRE GEORGES POMPIDOU, and the fictional museum MUSEE D'ART MODERNE, SECTION XIXieme, DEPARTEMENT DES AIGLES, created by MARCEL BROODTHAERS in Brussels in 1968/9.
The first manifestation of the MUSEE D'ART MODERNE, DEPARTMENT DES AIGLES, was in his own house in Brussels. The exhibition comprised the rooms themselves, the walls were lined with packing cases in which works of art had been sent around the world. On the street outside, at the opening and closing, stood a van belonging to a firm of packers and carriers who specialised in works of art. The word Musee was painted on the window, but so as to appear as Musee from the inside. The exhibition comprised, as it were, the shell of an exhibition with normal substance, that is the paintings. These were represented by postcards on the wall of famous 19th century works by DAVID, INGRES, COURBET and others.
The real thing
The GREENFIELD VILLAGE in Dearborn Michigan. This open air museum was
founded by car manufacturer HENRY FORD in 1928,and was originally called the Early
American Village. FORD projected his picture of the American past - hoes, plows,
hammers, oil lamps, tables and chairs and public buildings - to such a distance from its
viewers that they could see it as something virtually foreign. The industrial project has
been, in a sense, exoticised.
Architectural museums like FORD'S began to develop in Europe around 1800 (cf. the SOANE MUSEUM in Sequence 5). During the 19th century museums grew more powerful and prosperous, and one of the reasons is that they succeeded in coopting values associated with travel. The museum became travel's goal, travel became the museum's essential mode of exhibition.
The Paris World Exhibition of 1867 was the first fair to exhibit free-standing
buildings. And the Austrian Village there had an immense beer hall where blue-eyed
girls in costume served national dishes. World Exhibitions simulated the very
experience of travel that museums had rendered unnecessary.
The world's first permanent open-air museum opened in 1891, at Skansen in
Sweden, which presented essentially a fairground village. The techniques of the fairground (CONEY ISLAND was begun around the same time) were further developed so that, in addition to pedagogical concerns and the offerings of substitutions for the experience of travel, the sense of the museum as an amusement park became a
HENRY FORD was quite aware of the potential of mass tourism, and thirty years
after his project, WALT DISNEY'S theme park, DISNEYLAND, was similarly geared
towards mass tourism and a prospectus of expenence or travel, tne sense or tne
museum as an amusement park became a priority.
HENDRY FORD was quit aware of the potential of mass tourism, was thirty years after his project, WALT DISNEY’S theme park, DISNEYLAND, was similarly geared towards mass tourism and prospectus of American culture. Like FORD, DISNEY exoticised the artifacts in the theme park, and added a further dimension of the amusement park culture.
WEST EDMONTON MALL in Alberta, with its waterpark, fantasyland, shopping centre
with a Parisian street, and its perpetual summer despite external conditions, is a
contemporary example of such thinking. The national cultural and shopping festivals organised by WEST EDMONTON MALL directly parallel, in a popular form, the
national blockbuster exhibitions organised by famous museums.
The sequence continues with DISNEY staff members guiding us through different
branches of DISNEY IMAGINEERING GROUP at Burbank, California, a centre of
artists, architects and engineers that was first instituted in 1952 as a resource for the
building of DISNEYLAND.
Market analysts recognise that DISNEY'S golden age is only beginning. In the
summer of 1988 the company broke ground for a $2 billion EURO DISNEYLAND near
Paris, which will open in 1992. DISNEY'S theme parks create the majority of the
company's revenues, but new attractions are constantly needed to lure repeat customers.
Chairman MICHAEL EISNER recently revived the Imagineers with hot talent like
BOB FITZPATRICK, ex-Director of the CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE FOR THE ARTS,
and architects MICHAEL GRAVES and REM KOOLHAAS.
The DISNEY corporation sees endless possibilities for its empire. One planned
theme park, for example, is based on the work place, where visitors will watch ice
cream, baseball bats and computer chips being made. FORD'S GREENFIELD VILLAGE
finds its 21st century equivalent. Moreover, a new museum branch being prepared at
Burbank is intending to present African art, from both major ethnographic collections as
well as collections of modern art masterworks.
Against the background of the newly built MUSEUM OF CIVILISATION in Ottawa,
BRIAN WALLACE and GEORGE MCDONALD discuss the evolution of art and tourism.
The critic BRIAN WALLIS has written extensively about blockbuster exhibitions, and has analysed and criticised the alliance of the museum with mass spectacle, entertainment, consumerism and tourism.
GEORGE MCDONALD, Director of the MUSEUM OF CIVILISATION, is convinced
that his and other museums will have to face the competition in what he sees as his
market from both DISNEY and the creators of WEST EDMONTON MALL. He has
adopted the multi -experiential approach in order to attract a larger and more differentiated public. MCDONALD stresses the importance of film techniques, and the film mythology, and he expresses his sense of the multi-experiential formula in this way: animation, extraordinary film techniques, international cuisine, environmental and architectural recreation, and theme marketing.
The camera travels across the elements of an imaginary city in a two-dimensional
collage, entitled Exodus, designed in 1972 by architect REM KOOLHAAS. The collage
looks rather like a film storyboard.
Before becoming an architect REM KOOLHAAS was a scriptwriter and journalist.
He went to study architecture in 1968 at the Architectural Association in London. In
Exodus (or to give it its full name, Exodus or the voluntary prisoners of architecture)
he applied the principle of the Berlin Wall division to create a new living zone for the
city of London. In between the two walls forming the living zone, life was as
congested and condensed as life in the metropolis can be. The project also
included several parodies on the archetypal museum, and several buildings were
inspired by KOOLHAAS' fascination for Moscow architecture, including the LENIN
MAUSOLEUM, characterised by endless ranks of people waiting daily in front of the
In 1976 REM KOOLHAAS wrote //Delirious New York: a retro-active manifesto for
Manhattan, and soon to be published in The Contemporary City//. In 1982 he
participated in the competition for the PARC DE LA VILLETTE in paris, and at the
same time worked on the project for a new world exhibition in Paris. Now he has just
finished the construction of the DANCE THEATRE in Den Haag, and he is working
on two museum projects for the city of Rotterdam - the ARCHITECTURAL
MUSEUM and the KUNSTHALLE, an exhibition space for contemporary art.
Recently he has been consulted by the DISNEY IMAGINEERING GROUP for the planning of EURODISNEYLAND.
REM KOOLHAAS: //The impulse to become an architect was because it was a sort of
scriptwriting, but then by other means. The scriptwriter invents things to do for actors. I
don't do it for actors but for people in their daily lives. A building becomes a story when
someone is walking to it and is experiencing something which feels like a parcours or a narrative sequence//. These sentiments characterise well KOOLHAAS' park and
museum projects. The programmatic architecture of KOOLHAAS opens new and
significant horizons for reflection on the relationship between architecture and
museography. In the current debate about museum buildings, the design and research
work of KOOLHAAS occupies a prominen position.
The effect of full daylight
The sequence begins with JEAN LUC GODARD discussing, in his television film
Le scenario de Passion (1983), the scene in his feature film Passion (1982) in which the film director JERZY is confronted with the rebellion of his actors. The cast are about to act out personages in famous paintings by GOYA, INGRES and DELACROIX... as if GODARD is making a film about an imaginary exhibition. And both //Le scenario
de Passion and Passion// are also exhibitions of life. SERGE DANEY is interviewed about the relationship between the effect of exhibitions and film- and television making.
DANEY is a journalist and film and television critic. Until 1982, he worked as a
chief editor at Cahiers du Cinema. Today DANEY writes for Liberation, and is widely considered as one of France's most brilliant cultural commentators.
DANEY compares the effect of television with the effect of exhibitions: everything is
exposed continuously, simultaneously and without ruptures. As on television, the
effect of exhibitions is the effect of exposure under full daylight. The arts left
the alternative badly lighted spaces for the huge glass walls of museums and the sunny
public spaces of the festivals. Culture is programmed to become more and more a homogeneous series of events.
DANEY recalls the beginning of cinema, and especially the history of the film about
art. Following models conceived more than 30 years ago, directors today are interested
in making films about painting and sculpture. And the idea of the exhibition is inherent to development in avant garde cinema, as can be seen for example in the films of HANS JURGEN SYBERBERG.
Archive: Fragments of the opera film Parsifal by SYBERBERG.
SERGE DANEY further explains why avant garde films now exist only for film festivals.
The idea of exploitation and programmation has become a force in itself. Furthermore the cultural industry programmes only in terms of a calendar year. Today the arts create their own rendez-vous.
Images of the THEATRE FESTIVAL in Avignon, which in its programming
structures is precisely modelled on the ways in which television is scheduled.
DANEY makes another comparison between television and the effect of the
exhibition, both in the fields of cinema and the visual arts. In film festivals and
blockbuster exhibitions the reaction of the spectators is often that of television viewers:
it was difficult to see all the works being presented. At the same time the public
becomes part of the phenomenon of assembling and dividing. A typical example
of this is the now common act of zapping in front of the television screen. Moreover, the public is represented in endless rows, waiting to attend sports events, festivals,
rock concerts and blockbuster exhibitions, and is being constantly seduced by the
media to shift its interests. The public is represented in such terms not only by the
cultural industry, but also in the spheres of politics, economics and social relationships.
Television shows recorded before a live audience are a typical example of this. The
comedian GARY SHANDLING in his popular series forces the public to be part of his
parodies of television culture by addressing the audience in the context of the drama.
WIM T. SCHIPPERS, the provocative Dutch artist and television -maker, directed his
television cameras continuously at a live audience while dogs were acting out a mute
drama on stage. These images were not only meant as reaction shots, they were also
important so as to energise the comic but totally dull dog acts on stage. At the same
time, the trained dogs had nothing else to do than stare at the public.
SERGE DANEY ends the sequence by talking about television as one of the main
factors synchronising different cultures, and contributing to the homogenisation of
Europe and the world.
Archive: Excerpts of the television broadcast LA CHASSE AU TRESOR, a
televised treasure hunt through historical and natural communication and
transportation technology. A time limit reinforces the rapid pace of the images in
the programme. As a result, the topographical mentality of the spectator is
Stay tuned, our next programme will be much better
The sequence begins with a subjective camera following the directions of a voice
in the acoustiguide production Animals at the Met, narrated by STEVE MARTIN: //Hello and thank you for inviting me into your ears. In mass media, we have come to know a lot of them by name - TOTO, BABAR, LASSIE, WINNIE, MICKEY, MISS PIGGY - but animals both real and imaginary have had a long, long history in the visual arts, going back at least to the first recorded cave paintings. The collections of the MET are
filled with their depictions - chiselled in stone, woven into tapestries, painted on
canvas, hammered in silver. We are going to take a stroll through the MET today,
looking at just a few of the animals on display, from those of ancient Greece right
up to the present, and from all corners of the globe... This practical hippo is the
mascot, of sorts, of the MET - it's WILLIAM//.
In the gift shop of the METROPOLITAN MUSEUM, New York, REESA GREENBERG
explains the acoustic eyes offered graciously by famous museums to their public.
REESA GREENBERG teaches history of art at the CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY in
Montreal. She is interested in the museum and ideas of spectacle. She has written
extensively about the framing of art works, as well as about the use of popular devices
such as audio tours, and the use by museums of circulation and animation
In 1958 the ACOUSTIGUIDE CORPORATION of New York invented the
portable recorded tour. Since 1976, offices have been opened in Canada, Great Britain,
France, Germany, Italy and Australia, and the company has produced over a thousand
tours. The success of the acoustiguides is accounted for by several factors, not the
least of which is the phenomenal growth in museum attendance.
REESA GREENBERG: //The oral 'threatens to become aura and orgy. Cassette tours
'control the body and the mind of the viewer to greater extent. They construct a more
passive viewer, and the more passive the viewer the more easily seduced. The
acoustiguide is female, even lj its voice is male. The cassette tour restores the viewer's
body, however sanitised, as sexual site//.
In the giftshop, REESA GREENBERG comments further on the display of objects
for sale and their specific characteristics. Just like the exhibition, giftshops are
something akin to the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art.
Further images of the subjective camera following the instructions of STEVE
MARTIN: //Before you go through that doorway, I'd like you to stop and Meet me
just inside the first gallery//.
The camera concentrates on viewers following cassette tours. Their torsos are
crossed, almost corseted, by the wide strap which holds the black box. The visitors
often take notes.
Superimposed on these images of viewers, next to the top of their head
crowned by the earphones appear thought balloons like those in comic strips, with 19th and 20th century cartoon-like caricatures with scenes in and comments about museums.
Archive: Excerpt from //Don't Eat the Pictures. Sesame Street at the MET, produced by the CHILDREN'S TELEVISION
WORKSHOP in 1983.
Archive: Excerpt from the French television programme //Les plus grands
museesdu monde// (TFl, 1988) hosted by film stars like DIRKBOGARDE, CHARLOTTE
RAMPLING and JEANNE MOREAU and introducing the collections of museums like
And is it not only the heroes of Sesame Street and Hollywood who have their own
television programmes about the arts. The new stars of the New York art world,
yuppie-ish independent curators COLLINS and MILAZZO host a weekly television
programme on New York's CHANNEL4 in the form of a cultural menu. They also
produce video presentations of popular exhibitions.
Today's museum seems to be not very far from ANDY WARHOL'S dictum, in a
documentary by LANA JOEKEL: The best museum is a department store!
REESA GREENBERG continues to sort through the gifts in the MET'S shop, and
comments on the number of reproductions on sale.
Archive: Excerpts from films like Marvellous! Magnificentl The Metropolitan! (1970), hosted by then Mayor JOHN LINDSAY,and 'Director's Choices: Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries with THOMAS HOVING(1971). Both films were produced with the MET by NBC. Today, audio-visual production is at the core of every important museum in North America and Europe, including the MET, the MUSEUM OF MODERNART, the LOUVRE and the MUSEED'ORSAY.
Archive: Excerpts from the audio visual productions by the MUSEED'ORSAYin
Paris, including the hommage to DEGAS by HENRI ALEKAN. The sequence ends with an archive excerpt from JEAN-LUCGODARD'S film Bande-apart
(1964), in which the three heroes run through the Grande Galleries of the
LOUVRE in 25 seconds, to try to break a record formally established by an American.
Pursuing a dream in North Adams
Images of the landscape of North Adams in Massachusetts and the abandoned factory buildings that will be the site of the MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART(MASS MOCA), to be completed by October 1991. A meeting showing the MASS MOCA planners and backers discussing the feasibility study of the future museum project.
THOMAS KRENS guides the camera through the abandoned factory complex and explains the project, as well as his methods to achieve this dream.
KRENS is Director of the GUGENHEIM MUSEUM in New York and the GUGENHEIM FOUNDATION in Venice.He is also the originator and manager of the MASS MOCA project. Known as an art entrepreneur with command of finance he is an aggresive administrator who wants to realise enourmous projects. One nickname for him is the CLINT EASTWOOD of the art world. His appointment to the GUGENHEIM is only a prelude for his ambitions with the 28 abandoned factory buildings in North Adams, amidst a site for which natural and recreation possibilities already attract many visitors and tourists.
By 1991 the former factory complex and its surroundings will be the site of a $75
million museum and recreation project. MASS MOCA will be the largest museum of
its kind in the world, and will focus on some 30 contemparary artists, exhibiting 20 to 30
works by each.
The proposal would have died, had it not been for presidential nominee MICHAEL
DUKAKIS, who decided to make MASS MOCA another chapter in the economic
revitalisation of this part of Massachusetts. DUKAKIS took several breaks from his
presidential campaign to promote the project, which includes not only the museum but also hotels, restaurants and condominiums and which promises work
for around 1000 local people.
KRENS has already managed to secure the works of art in the form of major loans from
three of the world's most important art collections - the SAATCHI collection, London, the SONNABEND collection, New York and COUNT PANZA'S collection in Italy.
KRENS is interested in the economic future and purpose of the art museum. He
has been doing systematic economic analyses of art museums in general, accumulating a data base of financial information and documenting resources, support and funding strategies. The next feasibility study for MASS MOCA will be finished in the spring of 1989.
KRENS is a technocrat with equal passions for management and for art. He thinks of
exhibitions in the form of blockbusters that require a high budget and significant returns, just like making a movie. For him, high technology is essential in the making of such exhibitions. He works among others with experts at polytechnic institutes to develop state of the art systems for exhibition design and didactic programmes. He envisions a computer that can access 10 million laser disc images, so that television screens will bring an oral and visual version of catalogue information.
KRENS' presentation of the site and the project are illustrated with architectural plans, engineering analyses, economic statistics and projected attendance figures. Juxtaposed with these images is archive television news footage from local stations, with KRENS, MICHAEL DUKAKIS and COUNT PANZA.
The sequence ends with an installation performance by artists LYNN LAPOINTE and MARTHA FLEMING. These Montreal artists have chosen to make art in collaboration with other cultural workers. First, they locate interesting, unused public buildings. Then they persuade the officials to lend them the place for a period of time.
Finally, they subject the structure to artistic interventions that form the collective's
response to the host structure's social and political meanings and history. Many of the
alterations are site specific, and they often use the metaphor of the museum to
juxtapose objects and imagery to the building's original use and history.
In demystifying cultural entrepreneurship, and in proving that art is work, LYNN LAPOINTE and MARTHA FLEMING interweave a kind of visual polemic on sexual politics and the organisation of the art enterprise. They therefore stay deliberately out of the institutionalised museum.
For this sequence they create an alternative to the displays of KRENS and other museum directors, which are still invariably characterised by the low percentage of women artists represented.
Parodies of auto-destruction
Images of a car driving along the endless highways connecting the densely populated
cities of the Ruhr region in Germany, to arrive finally at one of the gigantic factories
characterising the landscape of this region. Images of computer displays showing a factory's production processes. Images of workers leaving the factories.
Images of a factory deserted for many years. What is left are distorted brick-walls,
broken windows taken over by formless greenery . In the far distance, wreaths of smoke fill the background. HENRI-PIERRE JEUDY explains that the idea of the museification of the world indicates not so much of today's museum hysteria, but instead is an expression of a constant framing of local and global culture in general.
HENRI-PIERRE JEUDY is a sociologist, Docteur d'Etat en Sciences Sociales at the
CNRS in Paris. In his latest books, such as Parodies de l'auto-destruction and
Memoires du social, he has written extensively on the museum and exhibition effect.
JEUDY explains that the very notion of museification has to be considered as an
aggression against memory, in that the very fact of museification furthers a prospective
memory, which tends to transform the idea of the present into an effect of the past. He explains to what extent the effect of museums and exhibitions is an expression
of the synchretic idea of the television image as well. JEUDY further demonstrates how the museum becomes an expression of premature
Images of extensive city and landscape planning.
Images of industrial sites transformed into ecological museums or recreation sites.
HENRI-PIERRE JEUDY, in his article //La Memoire Petrifiante: A prospective,
projective memory tends to give us the present, the 'now' as an 'effect of the past'.
The museum becomes the ultimate end of a premature conservation, it imposes itself as
a mode of thought, of apprehension about the world, or as a fundamental organising
principle of knowledge. This spirit of museification'Ls itself anticipatory. The
last workers in endangered factories are called upon to be the 'future living
treasures', the hallowed guardians of knowhow. Work and daily hie are transformed
into spectacle in numerous museums where tourists are invited to stare at the
traditional gestures of production and ways of hie//.
Images of security rooms and surveillance systems of factories, including black and white video shots.
These sequences are juxtaposed with the photographs of BERNHARD and HILLA BECHER showing endless series of almost identical black and white images of industrial architecture. Together these images constitute an imaginary museum.
Archive: Excerpt from Der Riese (The Giant), a videotape by MICHAEL KRIER.
Against a soundtrack of intense 19th century German symphonic music, airplanes coming in to land are captured by surveillance cameras on the roofs of a German town.
HENRI-PIERRE JEUDY: Millions of television screens have allowed the world to become a gigantic diorama. And this media-like and diorama-like intervention is reinforced by the current policies of museums and exhibitions. They transmit this intervention into public life.
In all of this there is a certain 'jeu du monde', //because over and beyond the act of
conservation, there is this faculty of presenting reality in images. Images alone
can undergo the effects of simultaneity, of syncretism and condensation.
//The imaging power of the media, of museums and exhibitions works to engender
this fundamental illusion that the real disappropriates itself, and that reality itself
is a fiction, hence this interest in the state of the ruins//.