I stumbled upon Abbi Jacobson’s new museum/art podcast today and it’s great! It’s called A Piece of Work in which she introduces her approach to museums as being “open to not knowing–that’s how I like to go into museums anyway.”
She even sets the stage in her first episode in the best possible way: “together, you, me, them, we’re going to check out some pretty cool shit”.
The idea of accessibility (call it intellectual and physical) has long been a big topic in the museum world. From putting collections online, to creating apps for the hearing and visually impaired, to organizing events that target specific audiences, there’s always something brewing. But where there’s been a huge failing on the part of museums has been in their ability to truly resonate with audiences, to speak to us in simple and accessible terms that stimulates the layman as much as the collector.
Where Abbi kills it is in her ability to talk about museums and art in a substantive yet fun and regular way. She highlights the experience of museums as being “always better with friends” and tackles the deep-seeded pretentiousness that engulfs the art world by telling a MoMA curator that “you gotta blast some tunes in here. You would see things in a different way.”
There’s only been two episodes so far so we’ll see how well she carries this forward, but by starting with Duchamp, Pollock and Twombly she gives us broad context and helps us through works we don’t all get. She explains the transition from art as beautiful, rarified and elite to “the ideas [becoming] more important than the actual realization”.
“In other words, fuck that! Art isn’t what you say it is. It’s what anyone says it is.”
This way of speaking about a world that is complicated but relevant is the missing key to making us regularly seek out what museums have to offer. It’s something we think a lot about at culturaliv.com, so I’ll be tuning in to the next 8 episodes of A Piece of Work!
As Abbi would say, “I hope you hang.”