Everyone is talking about Tut @ LACMA and how exciting the whole thing is – well, either that or asking why this show isn’t at The Natural History Museum where it seems like a much better fit than an art museum. Well Tyler Green from Modern Art Notes was in town writing a piece for Bloomberg about it, and sheds a little light on the behind the scenes of the whole thing:
“This version of Tut was not organized by a museum, but by two private, for-profit corporations: Anschutz Entertainment Group (which owns London’s Millennium Dome and produces Celine Dion’s Las Vegas stage show) and Arts and Exhibitions International. National Geographic is the exhibit’s educational partner. The companies will share in the profits with Egypt, which will use its share to preserve historic sites and objects.
“This arrangement, by which a public art museum has allowed its space to be used so that private corporations may profit, is unheard of. And profit they will – tickets cost $25-30 and about 300,000 have been sold in advance. Already the first twelve days of the exhibit are sold out. The show may already be a success for AEG and AEI, but it’s a mark of shame for LACMA. No other major American art museum was willing to allow its galleries to be used in such a manner.
“The way Tut was built has led to the show’s principal fault: It is an amalgamation of objects thrown together by a corporation rather than a coherent exhibit organized by a curator. While it is broken into 11 loosely themed galleries, the show lurches from object to object and it’s never quite clear why the art on view is the art on view.”
Our inside LACMA moles have also told us the organizers brought in their own installers and own private security people, leaving LACMA employees to twiddle their thumbs while wondering what is happening under their own roof – wondering because they can’t go see it themselves without throwing down full price for a ticket.