Monday, July 11, 2011

Are Museums America’s Last Hope for Civil Discourse?

Any American who has steeled him or herself to watch the fur fly in the latest political fray over the debt ceiling knows that civil discourse is anything but civil. The idea that ideas can be brought out in a open forum for debate without someone getting insulted seems downright colonial (even though, truth be told, the Founding Fathers didn’t pull their punches either on the British or on one another). With so many windows seemingly slamming shut, is it possible that art museums might be the last hope for civil discourse in America? As Robin Cembalest recently wrote in ARTnews, “experts from outside the art world are converging to collaborate on projects that extend far beyond the galleries—and beyond conventional definitions of art.” Call it common sense or outlandish mission creep, museums as “think tanks” is fast becoming a reality, and perhaps a necessity. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Are Museums America’s Last Hope for Civil Discourse?"

[Image: Jeff Grantz’s The Equation of Time lighting up the exterior of the Basilica at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as part of Nuit Blanche New York’s Flash:Light installation during the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New City.]

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