Tuesday, March 16, 2010

When You Point One Finger at MoMA, Three Point Back at You.

While reading this week's big article about performance art in the New York Times, I came across THIS:

"But often, performance at MoMA itself has consisted of unsanctioned protest actions against the museum. In 1969, for instance, the Guerilla Art Action Group removed Malevich’s “White on White” (1918) from the wall and replaced it with a manifesto. Also that year four members of that group stormed the lobby, held a wrestling match and fled, leaving behind a pool of animal blood and handbills demanding the resignation of all the Rockefellers from the museum board."

The next sentence from the article appears in parentheses, though it seems terribly important to me: "(Documentation from these events is now owned by MoMA and can be seen in the show “1969” at P.S.1 through April 5.)"

It's in those parentheses where we learn that MoMA acquired documentation of protests against the institution itself and now displays them. I'm not really sure what to make of this, and I wonder what the Guerilla Art Action Group thinks about it (especially since there are still several Rockefellers on the board). In addition, P.S.1 charges admission, so these protest documents have actually begun making the institution money.

I'm sure the Guerilla Art Action Group is pleased that their role in art history is being recognized by a major museum, but the idea still seems a little contradictory. Are MoMA's intentions simply to show art history as it happened or are there other forces at work? Maybe MoMA wants street cred for celebrating those who take aim at it, a la Sarah Palin and Saturday Night Live?

2 comments:

  1. sounds more like, when you point one finger at moma, it breaks it off and keeps it.

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