National Galleries of Scotland: What Makes Art Iconic

A few weeks ago, I read the headline that the UN agency warned the pandemic could force closure of 1 in 8 museums worldwide. The article went on to say that studies conducted by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) indicate that 85,000 museums (which include art galleries) around the world had to temporarily shut their doors. More alarming, nearly 13% of museums across may never reopen.

Museums are the holders of our stories, our cultures, our efforts and dreams. On May 17, 1999, in a public lecture at the National Museum, Georgetown, Guyana, Emmanuel N. Arinze, then President, Commonwealth Association of Museums spoke on the Role of the Museum in Society:

Today, museums must become agents of change and development: they must mirror events in society and become instruments of progress by calling attention to actions and events that will encourage development in the society. They must become institutions that can foster peace, they must be seen as promoting the ideals of democracy and transparency in governance in their communities, and they must become part of the bigger communities that they serve and reach out to every group in the society.” Emmanuel N. Arinze

During this period of solitude, museums, art galleries and libraries have worked tirelessly to remain connected and vibrant. Their creative use of technology to bring messages via e-mail and all social media venues has been heartening and life-affirming.

Going forward, ChasingART will be giving a shoutout to Museums. First stop, National Galleries Scotland, and their video: What makes an artwork iconic?

You asked and we answered. We looked through feedback we received from visitors and have made a series of films answering some of the most frequently asked questions. The first, using Roy Lichtenstein’s In the Car as an example, tries to answer the really quite complicated question: ‘What makes a painting iconic?’ Look out for more short films to follow in the coming weeks.”
National Galleries of Scotland

12 Comments »

  1. I’m having comment problems, working with WP to resolve the issue. It’s only a problem on some blogs.
    Working with WP at the moment. Just checking some of my faves!

  2. Thank you for this look into Art that, until now, I had not appreciated. It goes to show that our ideas are often in error because we do not know the facts. I have to admit this type of Art is not my favorite, however, now I know more about it and can appreciate it in a different way,because of this valuable essay. I await for your next look into Art. How sad that we may lose some the museums of the world. The are such an important part of our knowledge and look into the world

    • How very well said, Frances especially “now I know more about it and can appreciate it in a different way.” I often wonder if I had lived in the time of Monet and Van Gogh whether I would have recognized and valued their artistic ideas. This thought allows me to be more open to emerging art forms and, as you say so eloquently, be a “part of our knowledge and look into the world.”

  3. Rebecca, what a great idea for a series.
    I watched the video, and enjoyed it, thoroughly!
    I can hardly wait to see what gallery gets the nod next.
    Let me just say about the AGO:
    “The Art Gallery of Ontario is known internationally for its extraordinary and extensive collection of Henry Moore works. The Henry Moore Sculpture Centre at the AGO originally opened in 1974, to house Moore’s original gift to the AGO, now totalling more than 900 sculptures and works on paper.”

    • I’m so glad that you are joining me. I have been following our amazing museums, libraries, art galleries – they have been a source of comfort, support, optimism in these difficult and uncertain days. Thank you for being a light for our community, Dave – you have added joy to my journey.

  4. What a marvellous initiative, and how wonderful to start with the NGS. As you know, they have a vast range of brilliant short videos – I love the one you have picked. Here is another example, which focuses on artist Bridget Riley and gives some fascinating insights to her approach, and to the making of art in general. https://youtu.be/Af3RgRRAGa4

You're welcome to join the dialogue!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.