Interpreting Cultures Week 3

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For MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies Studies (probably won't make sense to anyone else!)

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Interpreting Cultures Week 3

  1. 1. Interpreting Cultures Visitors, ‘cultivation’ and labels Week 3
  2. 2. Aims: • Identify key argument in Bourdieu and Darbel’s chapter • Ask: ‘what does this mean for interpretation?’ • Discuss Serrell’s approach to interpretative labeling • Apply this to your exhibitions – What is your big idea? How does the ‘big idea’ relate to each label? • Identify together success criteria for your exhibitions. How will you know you’ve been successful?
  3. 3. Pierre Boudieu and Alain Darbel (1991) The Love of Art: European Art Museums and their Publics. If it is indisputable that our society offers to people the pure possibility of taking advantage of the works on display in museums, it remains the case that only some have the real possibility of doing so. (p. 37)
  4. 4. • Museums are for everyone (MA Code of Ethics) • Open, free, for all • For everyone, forever
  5. 5. Visits to museums
  6. 6. Key arguments: • Cultural capital – ‘cultivation’ Knowledge (aesthetic engagement is knowledge p. 40), context, engagement at level of signifier, longer engagement (dwell time, p. 38). • Without cultural capital Overwhelmed, shorter engagement – only way in ‘skill’ and experience, engagement at level of signified (p. 40). • If schools fail to provide this cultivation, then it is left to families and this perpetuates inequality.
  7. 7. When the code of a work exceeds to code of the spectator in it sophistication and complexity, the latter cannot master a message which seems to him devoid of necessity. (p. 43)
  8. 8. Those who did not receive the instruments which imply familiarity with art from their family or from their schooling are condemned to a perception of a work of art which takes its categories from the experience of everyday life and which results in the basic recognition of the object depicted. (p. 44)
  9. 9. ACORN
  10. 10. Office of National Statistics (NS-SEC) Family unit, job, income.
  11. 11. Big data, complex classification, mix income, job, property, shopping habits, cultural habits
  12. 12. http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resources/infographic-income-inequality-uk
  13. 13. What do Bourdieu and Darbel’s arguments mean for ‘interpretation’ in art galleries?
  14. 14. Beverley Serrell • • • • ‘Big Idea’ Fundamentally meaningful – have ‘soul’ All parts (labels) help communicate big idea You know this works because - visitors can say what the exhibition is about
  15. 15. What is your big idea? Soul and fundamental meaningfulness Not trivial Clear not necessarily simple Will visitors be able to say – this is what the exhibition is about?
  16. 16. Interpretative Labels ‘What’s in it for me? Why should I care? How will knowing this improve my life?’ Principles: Start with visual concrete information – what can visitors see. Work from specific to general. Subject sentence – cast of characters Verbs – what they do…
  17. 17. Success criteria • (and how will we know…)

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