The Museum Comes to Us: Art in 2050 by Charlie Finch
Over the Christmas holidays, it was our pleasure to visit the sexy penthouse of collector Andrew Klink, overlooking the United Nations. Amidst senor Klink's collection, featuring a Warhol Electric Chair, an actual Frank Gehry chair and photographs from the Cecil Beaton esthetic, what attracted us most was the plasma television screen dangling above Andrew's bed.
Playing thereon was a Timothy Hutchings DVD of two rustic sorts in snowsuits buggering each other on a glacier, amusingly referencing Charlie Chaplin's The Gold Rush. Guests lounged bedward, soaking in high tech art and low tech yucks.
This made us think that the Museum of Modern Art with its expansion, the Whitney Museum with its urban renewal plans, the New Museum building on Rivington Street, and so many other edifice complexers are, pace Edward Bellamy, looking backwards.
What, indeed, will be the museum in year 2050? The Klink set-up gives us a clue: the museum, and the art of its future contemporaries, will come to you.
The combination of cheapening mass technology, the demystification of fine art commodification and its wealthjy patrons, individuation of post-capitalist taste and the launching of artists into new and newer media will fundamentally change what art is and how and where we view it.
Foremost in this change is the most significant act of the Clinton administration, the legal mandating of broadband and the accompanying development of high-def and other virtual reality technology.
The Cory Arcangels dithering with videogames are one small window into the potentialities of the next art wave. Artist collectives will be able to stream their creations to potential collectors in the tens of thousands under a myriad of fee structures, inviting critical response and interactive participation in real time. Gone will be collector's waiting lists, the fetishism of individual objects, auctions at Sotheby's and, with luck, the Museum of Modern Art and its grotesque roster of trustees.
Art fans will experience the art of the present on demand and in dozens of different forms and styles per hour, at home. No longer will it be necessary for frauds like Christo and Jeanne-Claude to despoil public space with their grandiose narcissism. Those who wish to waft through saffron will be able to multiply their bedroom curtains at the touch of a button.
Those who mourn the gallery experience of sipping bad wine with motley friends, or abutting the suburban masses at the MoMA mall, or rushing to Gavin Brown to beg for a very bad painting by Laura Owens. . . . Well, this new art museum, so pristine, so personal, so much cheaper, so much more convenient and relaxing, will make you forget all that.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).