Today, after many years, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam reopens. It’s the end of an era in which the museum was everything but a ‘museum’: pop-up exhibitions, lectures, AR apps, parties. At the same time the all new Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam is reviewed by a national newspaper to be an art fair with a museological appearance. A shop designed to be a museum, or maybe a museum designed to be a shop.
Last week at the Incubate DIY conference I talked about the museum of the future to a small group of people actually interested in this topic. Afterwards I spoke with some people working in libraries. They recognised the picture I painted of an outgoing institution, focused on experience and stories and not afraid to reinvent itself. To them, this was the library of the future.
Boundaries are blurring. I guess they have been blurring for a long time. The label becomes less important. Art fair, museum, library, shop, restaurant, gallery, to most people it’s just a place to go for a good story, entertainment and time to be with friends.
While we worked on the Van Gogh exhibition that opened last week, we repeatedly rediscovered we weren’t a museum and didn’t have to do as museums do. Part of its success and its biggest challenges is that we managed to forget about the boundaries, occasionally. I’m pretty sure it’s why Unseen is such a success, and hopefully why the Stedelijk will continue to be so.
This is not about the museum of the future. This is about the future. Forget about the label, cross all blurring boundaries. I wish I had registered another domain name…
Photo by Udo Geisler on Flickr.
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