The Art Museum As Ritual By Carol Duncan Essay

1804 Words Nov 2nd, 2016 8 Pages
Traditionally, museums are considered secular sites in which curators display art objectively; however, in her work, “The art museum as ritual,” Carol Duncan examines how museums act as powerful entities which influence the visitors’ perception through the display, organization, and architecture of the space. She elaborates that the museum’s authority actually enables them to represent and define entire communities, which consequently shapes the visitors’ perceptions of said communities. Perhaps Duncan’s claim is best summarized as:
“To control a museum means precisely to control the representations of a community and its highest values and truths… What we see and do not see in … museums and on what terms and by whose authority we do or do not see it is closely linked to larger questions about who constitutes the community and who defines its identity” (474-475).
The Museum of London, particularly the World City Gallery, exemplify Duncan’s concept of how museums impose authority through structure, representation, and stagecraft. Although the World City Gallery suggests inclusiveness, which in turn is used as justification for the Museum’s authority to represent the community of London at large, the gallery revolves around the culture of British white elites and subsequently, fails to represent the diversity of modern London culture. At first glance, the name of the Museum of London alone suggests an inclusive element— a museum that represents all of London. As a…

Related Documents