“Go for truth (which, like the telling of history, is always changing), and connect art to life.” *
During my fifteen years as a museum lecturer, I delivered over 2,000 tours. Many of the thousands of questions I answered were common; things like “How long did this take to make?” or “How much is this worth” plus the evergreen, “Where’s the bathroom?”
But things have changed in the past few years…
Two new questions have emerged. The first one: “How did this end up in the museum?” People are increasingly more curious about who owns art and where it belongs. (Is that the sound of bubble wrap I hear?)
The question I’m hearing most frequently is fraught with anxiety. It’s “Where are we?”
People are wondering if our current culture matches that of the end of the Roman Empire, the so-called “Dark Ages” a period of Renaissance or a new Gilded Age. This desire to anchor ourselves in history feels especially urgent as world events unfold at a breakneck pace. I think a museum is the perfect place to contemplate all of it.
Join me once a month at The Met Fifth Avenue where we’ll discuss these ideas using the objects from the original time periods. We’ll talk about everything you’re not supposed to in polite conversation — money, sex and politics — and have a great time doing so.
* This quote comes from a 2017 New York Times piece by Holland Cotter.