In January 2016, I attended a seminar at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Annie Fletcher, a colleague who previously worked with me at the Van Abbemuseum, was one of the speakers at the seminar. Fletcher’s lecture revolves around several projects that I had curated in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum.
The video essay, ‘Good Museums Copy, Great Museums Steal,’ focuses on the projects mentioned by Fletcher in the same lecture from January 2016 and allows a glimpse into practices of discrimination and bullying by the Van Abbemuseum.
For the first thirty minutes, the video essay is devoted to the rhetoric that accompanied the project ‘Picasso in Palestine’ for a decade. The repetition of a single narrative reveals distorted facts and how the utilization of international art platforms disseminates misleading facts.
Over the years, however, the heroism of the Dutch museum took center stage in this narrative, while Palestine once again was pushed to the margins.
The second part of the video essay is focused on the ‘Museum Index,’ a project I established as part of Play Van Abbe 3. The Museum Index exposed gender inequality and the lack of demographic diversity in the museum’s collection.
‘Good Museums Copy, Great Museums Steal’ reveals how misleading myths are perpetuated in institutional narratives and used by cultural leaders for personal glorification.
The abuse of power and moral harassment rely on cultural and social legitimacy, and cannot be eliminated as long as they are not defined as offenses in the written law.
The video essay ‘Good Museums Copy, Great Museums steal’ made possible by the support of: