January is a Little Gallery experience.

We ask what’s a museum or gallery for anyway? 
What happens to a work of art when it gets placed in a gallery setting?

A Little History:

Galleries of art as we know them today, before they became public institutions, where once semi-private spaces in the homes of European collectors. In which art works were hung as maps of family history or intellectual and economic power. They were the formal waiting areas and inner courtyards of palaces and estates where public and private life met. For some they became the destination itself and shops were set up to hire out swords and silver buckles or the ‘appropriate attire’ needed to get through the gates to these sanctums that held precious collections.

With the rise of cultural tourism in the 18th Century the time of – The Grand Tour- countries took Italy’s lead and began to Build National Galleries as public manifestations of cultural achievement.

The architecture of the museum space that we know today owes much to the passions and interests of Sir John Soane’s.  Soane turned his home into a museum of architecture so that he could show examples of architectures guiding principles to his students. His ideas of designing a space around objects and symbolism informed many public instructional designs.

Today most new museums prefer the idea of the ‘white cube’ space a neutral, evenly lit space where any work is left to hang undisturbed by its surroundings. The interpretational materials control any meaning that might be imparted one given work and the ‘curatorial choses’ made by those who are given the task of hanging or placing art works together in a room. How an artwork relates to another is much like the pattern of human contact in that everyone has their own way of communicating to and understanding of the world around them.

It is this very idea of how an art work is affected by this space that in more recent years has been the fuel behind the question of what is art? Can any object that is made or found be placed in a museum as an exhibit and there by become a work of art, or national importance?

Here’s your CultureKit for exploring and sharing this months cultural experience.

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Galleries and museums have been used for various effects and scenes in films. Below are a few excerpts from a fun galley of some of the best museum scenes. You can find the full gallery at the Huffington Post.

Bringing Up Baby - 1938

Vertigo - 1958

Play it Again, Sam - 1972

Watch with the kids: A Night in the Museum.

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