Thursday, February 22, 2007

MoMA and the Importance of Echo Chambers

Less than one week into it, there have already been many words written about the MoMA compensation scandal. I think the weeks to come will see an ever growing and widening scope of discussion and facts from Strom's initial revelations.

Before the next round of spin and fallout related to Glen Lowry's compensation hits the news, I thought this lulled moment might be a good opportunity to present some of the best blogs related to the scandal. In the weeks to come, it will be interesting to see to what extent user-generated sources serve to extend this debate.

In the political world, the resilience and echo chamber of blogs have been able to wreck havoc on otherwise robust political personalities and careers. We saw this throughout the 2006 election cycle between John Kerry's comments, macaca politics and Conrad Burn's perspectives on race. What made those controversies powerful was a combination of factors: the volume of political blog watchers, the media's attention to these grassroots sources and the sheer intensity of the campaign. Does the museum world have that kind of intensity? Do that many people care about the future and integrity of an American institution with enough force to override the wax and wane of the news cycle?

Time will tell. I am sure you will find that the following blogs will have plenty more words to spill before it is all done.

Blogs


  • Modern Art Notes - Tyler Green puts the current compensation issue in the greater context of MoMA's other recent lapses. He also puts forth quite a few suggestions to finding resolution.
  • Artful Manager - In an ironic (purposeful?) twist, the day after the MoMA story broke, Andrew Taylor put forth this great post on IRS guidelines for maintaining tax exemption. I hope that the museum can avoid that ordeal, but once the regulatory and oversight wheels start rolling, it is difficult to say what it will take to stop them.
  • Looking Around - Richard Lacayo writes a follow-up piece in the Time Blog covering much of the same ground as the original article. The notable addition his writing makes is the potential conflict of interest this would create between the director and trustees. Given some of the nasty criticism MoMA has received regarding its exhibition planning, MoMA's institutional government and decision-making seem entirely relevant.
  • CultureGrrl - Lee Rosenbaum authors a revealing post providing additional details going back to 1995 relating to Lowry's pay package. Some of the more revealing details here include NY State auditors' complicity in this affair. She also makes clear that Sen. Charles Grassley might have been the initial impetus for this controversy and is committed to finding the truth in this matter. Given government's power to subpoena, this could be a very bad for the Museum.
  • Bloggy - On a lighter note, there was a great post submitted on the site bloggy. A fine piece of satire, web or otherwise.
  • New York Intelligencer - One final post, this time from New York magazine's blog. Basically just another repetition of previously disclosed facts. One thing it reminded me of though... the $20 admission fee. I have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better, not just for MoMA, but for the entire cultural sector.

11 comments:

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