MoMA R&D

Salon 7 Museums as Citizens

Museums as Citizens was devoted to museums’ and cultural institutions’ complex and sometimes contested role as catalysts for innovation and progress. Such innovation is multifaceted. Where do museums fit in as cultural and economic engines at the local and global scale? We know that museums and other cultural institutions attract and generate constructive ideas—ideas that often bubble up from reality either through the work of artists or through issues germane to and experienced by wider audiences; or ideas that are distilled via the instigation of curators, directors, and educators. Some institutions have a history of critical engagement and support for social and political progress; the ideas they help form percolate and benefit the world at large. Others find motivation in the urgency of issues related to environmental responsibility, privacy, parity, and justice, among others.

Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: In which areas of the world is the museum a benevolent institution? Benign citizen? Parasitical, money-guzzling entity to be tolerated? Unknown alien and unwelcome foreign body? Can museums ignite a productive dynamic in economy, science, and technology? How can museums foster highly attuned future-thinking initiatives? Through laboratory-like departments, R&D, satellites, or other models? What technologies or processes could help cultural institutions address the most urgent contemporary issues, from concept to action?

Tom Finkelpearl agreed to participate off the record, so we are not sharing his presentation and the Q&A session.

The salon took place on 24 February 2014

Speakers

Reading Resources