Good Museums Copy, Great Museums Steal.

The video essay “Good Museums Copy, Great Museums steal” shows how lies are institutionalized, how they become a myth, and how a myth is disseminated and utilized. The video essay revisits a couple of projects Galit Eilat curated with the Van Abbemuseum between 2010 and 2011.

Much has been written about the project ‘Picasso in Palestine. ‘ Neither the contemporary art scene in Ramallah nor the Van Abbemuseum in the south of the Netherlands have ever received such generous media coverage. Many academic articles, reviews, and thesis were written about the project that involved the latter landing one of its two Picasso’s to exhibit in Palestine.

‘Good Museum Copy, Great Museum steal’

Who benefited from this project? Who ensured the safe journey of the artwork to a region under military occupation? It is clear to everyone that Picasso’s painting was unlikely to enter the West Bank without the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Over the years, however, the heroism of the Dutch museum took center place in this narrative, while Palestine once again pushed to the margins.

Provoking the status-quo around “art and social change” may liberate us from an equation in which art needs to justify its existence based on the transaction of values, virtue into market value. Therefore, to shy away from the glorification of the charismatic genius; the artist, the curator, or the museum director allowed for a new agreement between art and society to be signed based on social imagination.

The video essay ‘Good Museums Copy, Great Museums steal’ made possible by the support of: