Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Art Appreciation 101: many of Philadelphia's treasures don't reside in museums

You’ve heard by now that Philadelphia stepped up and saved The Gross Clinic. (And how.) Well, the most poignant commentary we’ve seen about the whole ordeal comes from the Inquirer’s Art Critic, Edward Solanski, who reminds us that there’s a lot more art around than simply what you’ll find in a museum.
Museums are refuges of last resort. Art isn't made for museums, it's made to live in the world - in schools like Jefferson, churches, private homes, public buildings, even in corporate boardrooms.

Museums are like zoos that collect rare and valuable specimens that have been dislodged from the quotidian world. Works of art in museums have lost their context, an intrinsic part of their meaning and their appeal.

This is one reason why the Gross Clinic sale was so disturbing. The painting is perhaps the most illustrious exhibit in Philadelphia's museum-at-large - a collection of art, some private but much of it public, scattered about the city indoors and out. Philadelphia isn't a premier art destination simply because of its world-class museums and the nearby Barnes Foundation, but because to a remarkable degree art has become insinuated into its urban fabric.
Well played, Ed.

Make no mistake — we’re glad that The Gross Clinic will now have a much higher profile, being on view at the PMA and PAFA.

It’s just nice to be reminded that there is art all around us, everyday, that deserves appreciation as well.

Related:
The city's museum-at-large — is anyone taking notice [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Saving the Gross Clinic — a winning effort [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Fairmount Park Art Association [Official Site]

[ Photo via Flickr user Hunter Boyle ]

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