The current touring exhibit of Tutankhamun archæological materials is noteworthy because it is being run as a for-profit enterprise by a sports and entertainment conglomerate --- with major museums as ticket-collectors and money-launderers. A slice of the profits, purportedly, will go toward restoration and preservation of antiquities. But overall the production smells like the fund-raising cancer that has infiltrated many footraces and other formerly-amateur endeavors --- fund-raising that somehow always sends a big slice of the cash flow into the pockets of the organizers.

Whatever happened to the fundamental concept of doing something valuable for its own sake? On 7 Dec 2004 the New York Times editorialized about the damage that this does to the soul of the museum. It concluded:

... This exhibition essentially outsources the museum's real job --- curating content --- to a commercial company. ... [T]he sorry irony of this exhibition is that the manner of its packaging and presentation threatens to undermine the mission of cultural monuments in this country: the museums.

The Met has decided not to show Tut, Part 2, because it refuses to charge extra for special exhibitions. That honors a commitment and a cultural function that are vital to protect.

(see also OurOneRing (18 Dec 2001), SomethingToSell (14 Apr 2002), For Themselves (8 Jun 2003), CircusSponsorus (10 Oct 2003), ... )

TopicSociety - TopicOrganizations - TopicArt - Datetag20050204

(correlates: MoneyOlympics, AmigaCheck, IllusionOfControl, ...)