Andare, Partire, Tornare

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Sometimes you just want to scream at people

Oy. Again, I say, oy. It’s a useful word to express eye-rolling, or mild disgust, or irritation, or all of the above, or something else entirely. And all I could think of today while listening to the curators was “Oy. Enough, already.”

What is it about academia that produces such blind elitism? I was treated today to the display of two curators turning up their noses at the idea of making money, as if it was a grubby little pastime that no true academic should be involved with. It wasn’t phrased in those terms, but the frozen smiles and hesitant, polite blockading of every suggestion and every possibility that our gift shop manager was presenting said everything. Maybe they’d be happier if our shop went back to selling teddy bears in t-shirts and other knick-knacks. Then they wouldn’t have to soil themselves by seeing “their” objects on sale in some form. Makes me laugh (bitterly) because I’ve seen the attitude before – in an art history professor who sneered at museums as watered-down scholarship and pandering to the unwashed public. True scholarship could only, in his mind, be carried out in the halls of a university. And it helped if you didn’t have to deal with students.

Take our curators. Please. God forbid we work on a licensing agreement that allows the museum to make any money. And god forbid we allow the art handler to do his job, which is handling the frigging art – we don’t need to hire a paper conservator to unframe objects when the reason we hired him was to…guess what…unframe objects! Shock and horror! But they don’t like him, so of course his professionalism is suspect, unless you want him to carry something for you, or move something! Which means that the only possible way to unframe an object is to pay for a conservator’s time.

Realize I’m venting here, but honestly, I am so frustrated, not necessarily at the situation, but at how they are acting. Kids in the sandbox, going “You can’t touch that, it’s mine! You’re breathing on it! No no no!” You’d think that as a registrar (that is, somebody who actually handles the art), would have more of a fanatical devotion to it, but that’s not the case. It’s the curators. And they don’t want to share.

2:51 p.m. - 2003-05-15

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