Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mob Rule: Curating via Crowdsourcing

The aftershocks of the controversy surrounding the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery’s decision to drop David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from their exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture continue to be felt. I first wrote about this kerfuffle back in December, when it seemed like part of the “War on Christmas” conservatives claim is declared annually in America. The left fired back by putting Wojnarowicz’s video into museums and exhibitions across the country as a sign of solidarity against censorship. Now, the culture war continues, with the Smithsonian opening the door to a new kind of censorship—“crowdsourcing” as a means of curating. Instead of risking offending groups with exhibitions, the Smithsonian allows groups to “preview” the show and “suggest” changes. But can such social media mob rule be good for the arts? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Mob Rule."

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