The last year I’ve been working in a museum of mainly Norwegian and Western art, architecture and design –the National Museum of such actually- in Oslo, Norway. Here are no worries about offending the source communities of the works in the collection and like I wrote in the review of one of their exhibitions there seems to be an artistic freedom in art museums that anthropologists can only dream of (if so inclined).
Yet, the National Museum does of course worry about being relevant and one of the goals of the museum is naturally to attract new types of public –in addition to the majority of well-educated, fairly middle-aged, white and female visitors they already have.
And a national museum does have a fairly complex source community to keep in tune with. It is supposed to represent the nation, the people, “us”… Norway, its people and the world have changed a little since the first National Museum of art in Oslo opened in 1837. Or even since the fusion including architecture, design and contemporary art was established in 2003.
Among its official aims are to increase “historical awareness and multi-cultural openness”. This year is the Munch year, 2014 will be the 100 year anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. Therefore I’m pleased to notice that “we”, the National Museum, have invited external curators from TraP to make an exhibition that should question the social role and relevance of the museum today.
Looking forward to “not limited to any particular subjects” and a return to the anthropology of art:)