Friday, August 29, 2008

"Italian Museum Defies Pope"

Never thought you see that as a title, did you? However, today's NY Times has a brief story about a museum in northern Italy who has refused the request of the Vatican to remove a sculpture of a crucified frog. An earlier article (published yesterday) provides a bit more background. While I was raised a Christian and still very much believe in God, I completely support that museum's decision here. The issue really lies in the underlying pressure put on the museum by the provincial government. If a museum is privately funded, I firmly believe that there should no limits imposed on its vision by the government.

I'm sure the nuances of the argument are missing, but quotes from both the president of the provincial government and the museum's president seem to encapsulate the debate. Franz Pahl, the president of the provincial government, said “This decision to keep the statue there is totally unacceptable. It is a grave offense to our Catholic population.” Alois Lageder, the museum’s president, said the decision to continue to display the statue was made to “safeguard the autonomy of art institutions.” You can substitute "cultural institutions" there and Mr. Lageder's statement is a powerful expression of the continued need for museums to maintain objectivity and independence.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I've recently joined the AAM's email list for Emerging Museum Professionals (EMPs). I get a daily email with the new messages from the board and thus far, most of them have proven very interesting and informative. You can sign up yourself at the AAM's EMP site.