During 2013 Petro visited the danish national art museum "Louisiana" and Mumok in Vienna. They are both typical art museums. Some old Warholpieces, and maybe a Rohtko or two. The rest of the museum consists of giftshops and restaurants. The audience is whiter than paper. 100% upper middle class.
There are no disturbing elements. Nothing to provoke the mind. Just educated people admiring each other and the expensive interior decorating. It is probably as far from Art as it is possible to come.
Petro decided to shut the museums down. He put up posters stating that the museums had been shut down. About 5 seconds later he was confronted by guards saying he disturbed the "business" of the museums. Of course, just the thought to lose one minute of selling designed pop-cornmakers or even someone thinking an original though must have been terrifying!
Then the media got hold of it, and there was some sort of debate. Petro hopes people will continue to talk.
The press release sent to media
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
closes ALL exhibitions
Starting today and until further notice, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art closes all its exhibitions to outside visitors. This includes the Sculpture garden as well as the Scherfig Annexes.
The reason for this drastic action is the new Dasco-survey showing a (for a state funded institution) totally unacceptable proportion of visitors from Denmarks wealthiest percentile, as well as vanishing interest for the art itself in favor of the gift shops, restaurants et al. Also, perhaps as an effect of this, during the last twenty years the art itself has gradually become less and less engaging and more and more decorative. The museum extends it's deepest apologies to those affected by this drastic decision, but hope there will be an understanding for our reasoning.
In the late seventies, the Danish Ministry of Culture carried out a survey that showed a staggering homogeneity among the visitors of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. Over 60% came from a small socio-economic group of middle class and upper middle class. There was also an almost total absence of visitors from the working classes as well as people with other ethnicity than Danish and Caucasian. The survey also revealed a decreasing interest for the museum's art in favour of the restaurants and gift shops. The survey caused a scandal at the time, and the museum promised to work hard to change the situation.
It therefore came as a huge shock when another survey, carried out last month, more than three decades later, showed that the number of working class people visiting the Museum had actually decreased even more. In addition to this the museums visitors spend less time visiting the exhibitions and more time eating and shopping. In fact, the average visitor today spends more time in the gift shop and the restaurants than in the actual museum.
As this was not the intent for neither the museum nor the collections, the board has today taken the extraordinary decision to temporarily shut down both the main collection as well as the POP ART DESIGN exhibition and the TARA DONOVAN Sculptural exhibition until further notice.
The museum board realizes the inconvenience this action might cause our visitors and we sincerely apologize for this. However, the decision must be looked upon in the gravity of the situation: the purpose of art is to open people's hearts and minds to new worlds. To show them worlds beyond their own. As the situation is today, the museum does the exact opposite. It has, in the word of one of the analyzers, become "almost a reserve for rich white middle-aged people buying designer spoons".
Instead the Museum has put together a small map over the surrounding areas displaying places where you will find exciting objects and experiences in the real world. The surroundings are not as heterogeneous as the Museum so at least there is a chance that one of the places could do what we should have done long ago: Open new perspectives and shake the foundations of your world-views.
Again, sorry for any inconveniences.
For the Board of the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art,
Poul Erik Tøjner
The closing of the museum also means the POP ART DESIGN exhibition as well the TARA DONOVAN Sculptural exhibition will be closed. Also the annexes, the restaurants, the cafés and, most importantly, the gift shops will be closed.
After the closing of the danish national museum for modern art, Louisiana, Petro Wodkins went to Vienna and closed down the austrian national museum for art, the MUMOK.
The topic was the same, the MUMOK as well as Louisiana got some old Warholpieces, and maybe a Rohtko or two.
The audience is basically only white middle class.
The management of MUMOK argued they had a visitors from all parts of society so Petro went to the imagrant quarters to see for himself and no one he spoke with knew about MUMOK.
If Petro is going to close down more museums we don't know but the problem with a narrow audience, museums focusing on gift shops and restaurants is everywhere.
"Some artists want to be exhibited in Museums. I'm more interested in closing down museums, until further notice, until people go to Muesums not as an expression of their middle class life style and to but souvenirs, buying organic cotton gift bags with MUMOK logos on.
What is that about? Art as something that defines you and not the world"