Art Museums: Should they be about Art or Weddings?

Today's front page article on the Chicago Tribune about brides and their anger over a new installation at the Art Institute of Chicago has sparked a flurry of discussion both online and offline.

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The Art Institute describes its new installation, "Restless Rainbow" by Pae White, as a "riot of color and play." (José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / May 17, 2011)

At the heart of the matter is one question the Tribune seems to dance around: what is the function of an art museum? Is it to display art? Or to provide a venue for weddings, corporate events, etc.? 

If you have been following the Chicago Art Blog, you'll be able to guess that I'll come down on the side of the artwork.

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  • Silly, provocative head; this OR that? Should you be about having a good time OR working to support yourself?

    Major museums are incredibly costly places to run. The proposition is not that of a choice; it's a mandate. Museums MUST bring in supplemental revenue to cover their costs. That means, yes, renting spaces for private events. In fact, Renzo Piano's Modern Wing design featured just such provisions as part of its program.

    The local new rag inexplicably featuring a bride complaining of the art on the Terrace does not a referendum make. Next subject.

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