By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Brett Koshkin
By RFT Staff
By Lindsay Toler
By Riverfront Times
By Danny Wicentowski
By Pete Kotz
For now, Benjamin's vision is directed ahead rather than behind. SLAM is involved in the byzantine planning stages for a new facility in Forest Park. The future of museums as a whole, with the stunning new structures in Bilbao, Spain (Frank Gehry's Guggenheim), and Los Angeles (Richard Meier's Getty), has generated fresh discussion about what museums can be and what they might be for.
The questions Benjamin felt unprepared to discuss are some of the most important issues museums are grappling with as they move beyond their colonial legacies. Yet when Benjamin was provided with an opportunity to return to these ideas, by way of e-mail, he was far from forthcoming. For example, Benjamin was again asked, "Don't art museums have the unique opportunity to tell a complex story of clashing cultures, to examine questions of value, of class and status and power? And isn't acquisition -- both legitimate and illegitimate -- part of the story of art, and of human history? How important are these issues to you in the evolution of SLAM as an institution? Is the museum involved in examining these topics, and what are your thoughts regarding how these can be part of the museum experience?"
His response was no more illuminating than before: "These are all significant, and number among the range of topics that can be and are included in the Museum's interpretation of the works of art in its collection. They are fascinating issues in and of themselves, and make up an important component of the broader context in which the meaning and magic of the works of art in the Museums' collection can be understood."
He concluded: "Hope this is helpful."
Benjamin is as cautious about communicating the art museum's future as he is in revealing its past.
For more information, see"Turtle" Diary.
Art Institute of Chicago: www.artic.edu
Metropolitan Museum: www.metmuseum.org
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: www.mfa.org
A good art-news resource: www.artsjournal.com
International directory for Nazi plunder: www.LostArt.de