Mediating, interface and the art world


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At first, I don’t really understand what does the mediating function of the museum really means. Then after read the assigned reading, I think museum serves as mediating function in the art world, connecting the art itself with the given environment of display which is the art museum, and deliver the desired information and understanding of the artwork to the wider audience.

Daniel Buren mentioned three role that museum has, the museum preserve the artwork and frame it to be display in the museum. When the author mentioned there is two different ways that the museum operate the artwork, divided by group or individual (Buren 191). By which the group work display considered the given context, and the framing of the concept, and reflected by the choose of collection. This remind me the Vermeer’s exhibition that we saw in the National Gallery of Art, in which the exhibition included Vermeer and the other painters’ artworks at the same place, there are certain connection between different painters’ works, and they are interconnected with each other.

Buren phrase the museum as refuge, that shelter the art works and preserve them, “select, collects and protects” (Buren, 191). I think the museum as a mediating function here has connecting meaning between the place of displaying the art and the art itself. Here I am wondering if the artist themselves has the same understanding and meaning about the artwork as compared with the intended framing and selection by the museum. Museum in this sense not only serve as the mediating function of bring the artwork to the front, but give the new meaning to the art.

In professor Irvine’s article, I gained more understanding about the artworld term and the relation with the institutions of museums. “The artworld is a social system or network, whether the network system involves human roles and actors, capital, media, information or network technologies” (Irvine, 1). I agree that the artworld create an authority and level of highness that heighten themselves from the normal audience, while on the other side, it created the impression of art as pure and meaningful, and such respectful attitude from the audience that give the superior meaning to the art.
I also like the idea that artworld does not only provide the physical and tangible format of art, but it provided “conceptual and symbolic context or framework” (Irvine, 2).

Artworld distributed through the institutions including museums, and created a global interactive system of networks for art, I think this is the trend that is on going now in today’s world. In which the art itself could break the boundaries, and create interfaces with the other form or styles of art.

Daniel Buren, “Function of the Museum.” In Theories of Contemporary Art, edited by Richard Hertz, 2nd ed., 189–92. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985.

Martin Irvine, The Insitutional Theory of Art and the Artworld, Georgetown University CCT.