The Musee du Louvre was founded in Paris by the leaders of the new Republic, a year after the fall of the monarchy in the French Revolution.
The museum was a deliberate symbol of a new nation state where ‘enlightenment’ through education was to be available to the public not just the privileged few.
What is a gallery
Case Study 1:
- Inside Out -
Art Outside the Gallery
What is a gallery?
• A cultural institution
• A way of displaying and exhibiting art
• It frames our experience of art – shaped by
the architecture, design of the exhibition,
curators and curatorial text.
• A place of commercial transaction for art
• A place that assigns value to art, either
monetary or cultural value
• there is a strong socio-economic bias that the
visitors to galleries are financially better off
• some are concerned that the marketing
associated with galleries takes the focus away
form the art
• There are ‘superbrand’ museums such as the
Tate and the Guggenheim. The Guggenheim
has a franchise approach to it’s growing global
network of museums.
Galleries have not always
So how, when and why
did they come about?
Art for the Aristocracy
Artistocracy have a
long tradition of
These were not for
public viewing but
may have been
TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)
The Art Collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in
Brussels (c 1651)
Oil on canvas, 123 x 165 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The Enlightenment Museum
• During the Enlightenment (18th century Europe),
the belief in knowledge as a challenge to religious
dogma, led to the idea that artistic, scientific and
natural artefacts and objects could and should be
held in trust as national collections.
• It was considered that these collections would of
interest and value to everyone, not just the elite.
• Museums at this time were thought of as
‘Cabinets of Curiosities’
• The tradition of the
‘cabinets of curiosity’ was
popular at this time, where
collections of artefacts
such as scientific
history specimens as well
as paintings and sculptures
were displayed in special
rooms or cabinets.
• At this time art was not
seen as a separate form of
This 17th-century trompe-l’oeil painting of a cabinet of curiosities
by Domenico Remps further blurs the boundary between nature
and art, between real and fictitious spaces.
• The Musee du Louvre was founded in Paris by the
leaders of the new Republic, a year after the fall of the
monarchy in the French Revolution.
• The museum was a deliberate symbol of a new nation
state where ‘enlightenment’ through education was to
be available to the public not just the privileged few.
The 19th Century
• In the 19th century the museum became a place
to house and view painting and sculpture.
• In England many public museums were
established by philanthropic industrialists from
• At this time the ruling class and intellectuals of
the day thought that there was moral value in the
public encountering art.
• Enjoyment was one aspect of viewing art, but art
as a way of ‘self improving’ or being instructive.
The Great London
Exhibition (1851) in
the Crystal Palace
• These galleries were
classes could mix
• Such exhibitions
were a means of
industrial might of
the British empire,
but were also a
•By the end of the
19th century the
concept of the public
museum was firmly
The 20th century Gallery
• Into the 20th century the
USA led with way with
due to the impact of the
wars in Europe.
• With modern art taking
on importance in the art
world, questions began to
be asked about how to
house and display new
kinds of artwork
The Guggenheim Museum, New York
Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
The Postmodern Gallery
• Architects experimented with new ways to house
artworks by designing museums that increasingly
reflected the innovation of the works they
• At the same time they invited audiences to engage in artworks in different ways.
• Today this innovation in architecture has developed to the extent that criticism has
been directed at the galleries upstaging the artworks.
Frank Gehry – Guggenheim Bilbao
• In the late 1960’s changes such as mass tourism
and challenges to traditional authority such as
student revolutions, resulted in intense scrutiny
of all forms of power, including cultural
institutions such as public art museums.
• Radical changes in some artmaking practice was a
result of this scrutiny of the gallery system.
• From this time on museums have become
increasingly democratic, self aware and open to
Artists started the make
artworks that deliberately
challenged and rejected the
gallery system such as
performance art and earth art.
Bleeding Trees (1979)
Southern Cross –
To Bear and Behold
Other art outside of the Gallery
Art made for the
Captain Cook (1874-9)
By Thomas Woolner (1825-92)
Bronze Height 3m
Hyde Park, Sydney
Commissioned by the
Cook at the moment
When it was unveiled
in Sydney there were
between 90,000 and
Sydney War Memorial
Designed by C. Bruce Dellit (1934) in the
Art Deco style
Sculptures by Raynor Hoff
This was the main commemorative military
monument in Sydney of WWI.
The Archibald Fountain Sculptor – Francois Sicard (French)
Bequethed by Jules Francois Archibald to commemorate Australia’s association with
France during WWI. (Apollo (at the top) is the Greek god of healing and prophecy
Other art outside of the Gallery
Tilted Arc (1981)
by Richard Serra
Commissioned as part of the Art
in-Architecture programme in
Installed in 1981 and removed in
1989 after much public debate.
• Serra said about his intention for the
sculpture, "The viewer becomes aware of
himself and of his movement through the
plaza. As he moves, the sculpture changes.
Contraction and expansion of the sculpture
result from the viewer's movement. Step by
step the perception not only of the sculpture
but of the entire environment changes."
• Many people, prominently Chief Judge Edward D. Re,
opposed the sculpture. Reasons included its cost ($175,000
for a solid block of steel); the fact that many people found
it an eyesore; and the inconvenience to those who had to
walk around the massive sculpture as they crossed the
plaza. It also attracted graffiti and, according to some.
• A public hearing was held on the subject of the sculpture in
March 1985, with 122 people testifying in favor of keeping
the piece, and 58 in favor of removing it. A jury of five
voted 4–1 to remove the sculpture. The decision was
appealed by Serra, leading to several years of litigation in
the courts, but the sculpture was dismantled by federal
workers on March 15, 1989.
Stones in the Sky by Ken Unsworth
An original plan for the sculpture to be sited among straight-trunked trees did
not eventuate. It is still currently installed in Kings Cross.
• Unveiled in 1998 to howls of outrage, ‘Stones Against the
Sky’ quickly earned the alternative title ‘Poo On Sticks’.
• In a 2007 web commentary, a fan wrote:
‘…not too long ago it was clandestinely, and, I believe, with
no consultation with the artist, given a drab coat of slate-
grey paint (admittedly this does have the effect of removing
the resemblance to big lumps of excrement, the boulders
having been originally painted a shade of turd brown, but it
does absolutely nothing to ameliorate the hideousness).
The moral to this story – when creating works for public
display first ask yourself this question: “On a scale of 1 to
10, how close is my work to the physical resemblance of
If you’re pushing 6, start again.’
Vault by Ron Robertson-Swann
aka Yellow Peril
Selected in 1978
Installed in 1980
Removed in July
Reinstalled in 2001
Controversially, Vault was
removed from City Square
and ceremoniously ‘dumped’
in Batman Park which was
not yet complete in 1981.
In 2002 Vault was again
moved, this time to
Southbank on the banks of
‘a great piece of contemporary abstract sculpture’ say
‘But some of our city fathers (councillors) think it looks
more like agricultural machinery. Or a piece of air
conditioning. A children’s playground toy. Even a
broken barbeque’. ‘Can’t we have a nice fountain?’
The architects of Melbourne’s City Square chose the
design from a model.
While Melbourne councillors were shocked the
majority of them were convinced by the architects and
art experts that this sculpture was what the newly
created City Square needed.
Professor of Fine Arts at Monash University said: ‘It’s
something which gives a sense of focus and dramatic
One of the square architects said the public would be
able to walk in and out of the work and shelter inside.
The Lord Mayor said, it would be ‘jolly good’ to have
people talking about what is happening in the City