Now that it’s been announced that the British Museum has surpassed the Tate Modern as being the UK’s “most popular cultural attraction,” Jonathan Jones is telling the massive institution to watch its back and not fall into the troubles shared by the Louvre and the Tate, namely doing too much to stay popular and forgetting what made it a location of memorable experiences in the first place. Jones top suggestion is to keep things smart and not assume you have to dumb everything down, just to please anyone and everyone. It’s sound advice, but only time will tell if it winds up being taken. Here’s a bit about what went wrong with that other museum in town:
By pandering to its crowds instead of trying to interest them in serious art, Tate Modern has sometimes seemed to be on a slippery slide of mass cultural folly. It has been too easy to go there and come away again without learning anything — to see it as a bit of a laugh. It is nothing if not serious this year, with exhibitions of Cy Twombly and Mark Rothko. But why does it have to have its current display of street art painted all over it, like something that might decorate a Nike store? Museums don’t need to pursue fashion that desperately.